Community invited to contribute to artwork for Naenae Pool

A picture of woven stars made at the Ngā Whetū Hei Whai workshop banner image

Published: 11 July 2023

The lead artist for Te Awa Kairangi ki Tai Lower Hutt’s Naenae Pool and Fitness Centre has been announced as Kairāranga - weaver Matthew McIntyre Wilson, Taranaki iwi, who will co-create a large-scale artwork with the community which will be woven into the fabric of the new building.

Waka Maumahara

McIntyre Wilson and designer Len Hetet have come together to help realise Mana Whenua aspirations in four artworks that reflect the cultural narrative of Te Ngaengae for the new facility which will be completed mid-2024.

The cultural narrative, gifted to the project by Te Rūnanganui o Te Āti Awa Chair, Kura Moeahu, takes inspiration from the story of the two tupua that resided in the freshwater lake within Naenae and whose actions created two rivers, Waiwhetū and Te Awamutu.

Matthew McIntyre Wilson has been guided by the stories of the whenua, ngahere and awa as he has gone through the process of developing a Waka Maumahara for the entrance to welcome visitors to the building.

"I am privileged to be able to create this work for the Naenae community, the Waka Maumahara will pay tribute to the tupua, Te Awamutu and Waiwhetū while also acknowledging the people of today who reside in Naenae," says Matthew McIntyre Wilson.

McIntyre Wilson is leading a series of wānanga (Kaupapa Māori workshops) with the community from this month until the end of the year. Ngā Whetū Hei Whai - To Pursue the Light is a chance for people to weave stars, connect to the Million Stars to End Violence project and learn about the story of Te Ngaengae.

The resulting stars will be photographed and incorporated into a vinyl film which will be applied to the windows of the new swimming pool. Participants will have their stars returned to them as a solid memento of their contribution to the project.

Te Kaunihera o Te Awa Kairangi Hutt City Council’s Director of Neighbourhoods and Communities Andrea Blackshaw says it was important for the people of Naenae to be able to contribute to the artworks and have their stories represented in the design.

"We’ve collaborated with the community closely on this project right from the start, with their feedback influencing the design of the building, so we’re thrilled they will be able to contribute to a key artwork."

Both Hetet and McIntyre Wilson are working on several projects across the Wellington region ensuring Te Āti Awa Taranaki Whānui stories and histories are reflected across the Te Whanganui-a-Tara landscape. They have been collaborating with Council and Architecture HDT to design aspects of the new building.

People will be able take part in the Ngā Whetū Hei Whai wānanga at Coco Pop Up on Friday 21 and Saturday 22 July, as well as at schools and marae until the end of the year.

Matthew McIntyre

Event details:

Name: Ngā Whetū Hei Whai Wānanga - To Pursue the Light

Location: Coco Pop Up, Naenae

Day/time: Friday 21 and Saturday 22 July, 11am - 3pm.