In form it is reminiscent of a ship's mast and rigging, minus
the sail. The vertical central pole bears its name, carved
into the wood.
The horizontal beams that project outwards in various
directions feature long strings of shells and other beach
symbols, further highlighting the specificity of place.
The reference to the vessels that brought us here and that
remain central to the life of Port Chalmers is melded with an
This piece, too, responds to an important local ecological
fight with which both Booth and Hotere were involved.
The plan to build an aluminium smelter at Aramoana so
appalled many citizens of the area that they declared their
independence and created passports, stamps and other symbols
of their dispute with the State.
Shona Rapira Davies, who is of Ngati Wai descent, often
references Maori mythology in her work and this piece (left)
is no exception.
In They do cut down the poles that hold up the sky
(1989), she depicts a male figure standing on his head, with
his legs pushed up into the sky, evoking the Maori creation
myth in which Ranginui and Papatuanuku are pushed apart by
their son Tane, god of the forest.
The title, with its use of the pronoun "they", makes comment
on the ecological crimes of Pakeha settlers, who decimated
forests in their seemingly endless quest for arable land.
Brick column (1991), by Port Chalmers artist Russell
Moses, is a round tower-like work constructed from recycled
bricks and a long rusty rod, which balances precariously
across the top.
The initial sense of uniformity one gets from the tower is
quickly displaced as the viewer notices the individual
features of the bricks.
Bricks are symbolic of the land from which they are made but
also of human attempts to shape and control that land.
The tower evokes a sense of balance and harmony but also
Moses seems to embrace this transience, so at odds with the
history of human endeavours.
You are sure to leave Hotere Garden Oputae feeling
exceedingly lucky that Ralph Hotere has chosen to share his
remarkable collection with the community.