Controversial $1.5m Auckland artwork illuminated for first time

From Morning Report, 8:40 am on 10 February 2017

Auckland's controversial one point five million dollar waterfront artwork has been illuminated for the first time.

Michael Parekowhai - The Lighthouse

Michael Parekowhai - The Lighthouse Photo: Auckland Council

Michael Parekowhai's Lighthouse sits on the end of Queens Wharf and is modelled on a traditional state house, which some have criticised due to its cost in the middle of a housing crisis.

The work was funded by real estate firm Barfoot and Thompson, along with other benefactors.

The mayor Phil Goff was unable to join a large council contingent at the benefactors' function last night, and while coy on the artwork's merits, says he's happy about the gift.

"Art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. I'm not going to knock those people who've made that private contribution in good faith and with the best of intentions - it's an interesting building. I think I'll leave my comments at that," he told RNZ.

Mr Goff said one role it might have was to mark the beginning of the State House era.

"In one sense it's symbolic of a generation of housing that brought for the first time to New Zealanders on low incomes, decent affordable housing."

"In the sense that it's a memorial to that era, and how it changed the lives of New Zealanders - that's a positive."

The work features interior lighting which illuminates in the evening.

Construction fencing around the work will be dismantled tomorrow before public viewing begins in the evening.