Art Seen: Sculpture garden

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 environmental message.

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 impermanence.

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.

-Jo Campbell