Community steels itself for Hamilton’s waka sculpture

Wintec's Joe Citizen and Luke McConnell discuss the waka sculpture.

A highly interactive waka sculpture planned for Hamilton’s Ferrybank Reserve on the Waikato River needs donors to come on board and fund the steel to make this six metre sculpture a reality in 2018.

The Matariki Interactive Waka Project this week launched a crowd funding campaign on the arts funding platform, Boosted to raise $7500.

The community project is led by artist, Wintec tutor and PHD student Joe Citizen in partnership with Wintec’s Māori Achievement team, Wintec students, staff and industry partners.

“We have a design, we have prototypes, we have an industry partner to mentor the students and we have a massive team of people involved. We also recently obtained Hamilton City Council approval for the site by unanimous decision, which is huge!” says Citizen.

“What we need now is the steel to start creating the final sculpture, which we will unveil during next year's Matariki celebrations.”

A range of collaborators from local industry and within Wintec are working to create the sculpture that will reflect kaupapa Māori concepts of interconnectedness and tell the Matariki story on Hamilton’s riverbank.

The design will be informed by the work of Wintec early childhood educators, who are producing storyboards for this year’s Matariki celebrations. The digital and interactive design is being done by Citizen as part of his PhD studies, with Wintec researcher Andy Fendall developing the visual display features.

Engineering for the sculpture’s prototyping, civil engineering, power supply and generation, and environmental sensor network, is being carried out by Wintec engineering students. The construction will be carried out by students from Wintec’s Māori and Pasifika Trades Training initiative, under the mentorship of the engineering firm Longveld.

The sculpture will have motion sensors, LED strip lighting and surround sound to encourage visitors to interact with the steel structure.

“The Matariki Interactive Waka Project is by us, for us. This is a community project where every little bit helps,” says Citizen.

Find out more about making a donation to the Matariki Waka Project here.

Watch the video here.

Image: Wintec's Joe Citizen and Luke McConnell working on the waka project.