Te Herenga Tangata Sculpture at Urlich Reserve

After two years of dedicated work by the Ranui-Massey community, the Project Twin Streams’ Te Herenga Tangata sculpture was unveiled in June 2009.

The imposing 4.75 metre sculpture stands in Urlich Reserve in Ranui and incorporates and celebrates the traditional designs and motifs of the local Maori, Croatian and Pacific Island communities. Te Herenga Tangata fittingly means ‘Unity of Nations’.

The identity marker is a lasting tribute to the many different cultures and groups that make up the Ranui-Massey Community. The Project Twin Streams team brought community groups and six practicing artists together, including representatives from:

  • The Agape Trust, an intellectual disability care provider.
  • Te Piataata Trust, an alternative education/intervention programme for youth at risk.
  • Engineering Industry Training Ltd, an organisation offering alternative education and a general introduction to engineering.
  • Birdwood Primary School
  • Liston College
  • The Croatian Society

Te Herenga Tangata consists of three components, each with its own significance and meaning. The first is a concrete base with a band of mosaic tiles referencing traditional Maori designs, created by students from Te Pi- ataata Trust and Birdwood Primary School. The second section is decorated with mosaics made by the Croatian community, Liston College and The Agape Trust. These panels represent the growth of plant life in the area, with alternate segments representing Maori eel traps. The top section features a kereru made out of concrete and mosaic tiles, surrounded by stainless steel leaf designs that can be interpreted in a variety of ways: as a Pacific flower, a waka paddle or planting spade. This section plays homage to the local Pacific culture and was designed and constructed by Engineering Industry Training students.

At the unveiling, groups praised the project and explained how they benefited from being involved. “It was so beautiful being part of this project. The students of Agape Trust are so proud of their work and their involvement with Project Twin Streams. They can feel very isolated from the community, so it was really exciting for them to contribute,” says Adrianna Coron from the Agape Trust.

The identity marker stands proud as a signifier of the strength of the Ranui-Massey community and the strong bonds formed through involvement on Project Twin Streams.