Ground-breaking sculpture set in place at southern gateway to Rotorua

By Te Ao - Māori News
Photo/Stephen Parker

The world's largest 3D printed sculpture, Te Ahi Tupua, concept designed by Te Puia New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute has been helicoptered into place at the southern gateway to Rotorua today.

The installation process for the sculpture, whose original design concept was developed by artist Stacy Gordine at Te Puia, began at dawn with a karakia to grant safe passage to Te Ahi Tupua as it was transported by Black Hawk helicopter to Hemo Gorge roundabout where it was lowered into place by crane, a statement from Rotorua Lakes Council says.

Photo/Stephen Parker

Eraia Kiel, general manager at the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute, says the sculpture is inspired by a Te Arawa tohunga.

“It’s important we continue to tell Te Arawa stories in new and innovative ways. While Te Ahi Tupua describes the origins of geothermal activity in Rotorua through the story of Te Arawa tohunga Ngātoro-i-rangi, it also tells other stories of our community – referencing concepts such as the interconnectedness of people, the pursuit of knowledge and the importance of looking after our natural environment.”

Photo/Stephen Parker

Now that the sculpture is in place, the final work to complete the installation will take place over the next two weeks.

The original artist, Stacy Gordine from the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute, will install the final figurative elements to the sculpture during this period.

“Te Ahi Tupua is a truly ground-breaking piece of work, involving huge degrees of creativity from the outset - and an extremely technical process in the following stages in order to bring it to life. It challenged the boundaries of what could be done, which is what makes it particularly special," says Kiel.

Once the remaining construction work is complete and final design pieces are in place, a ceremony will be held to officially mark the installation of Te Ahi Tupua.