Monday, January 27, 2014

Crowded house

Len Lye's Water whirler is working again but it seems to be struggling. The shaft seems to be out of alignment and the water patterns it forms now would have Len Lye shaking his head in sorrow.  Still, this is only one of the Wellington's public art works that could do with some love and attention. Two others are housed in Te Raukura, the wharewaka function centre on the Wellington waterfront between Te Papa and the City to Sea bridge. The waka Te Rerenga Kotare and Te Hononga.

Originally the two craft were to have their own house by the bridge but after a scrap with the boat club the whare was combined with a function centre and cafe. Although the space to display the waka was kind of cramped (it was too small to fit Te Aniwaniwa one of the original waka intended for it) and hard up against a wet bar, it was at least a discrete area. No longer.

Since the facility was opened in 2011, the cafe has developed an outside area complete with chairs, banners, signs and brewery branded beanbags. It makes a pleasant venue by the water but inevitably the next step has been to store all this paraphernalia right in there with the waka whenever the café is closed.

Amidst controversy the people of Waiwhetu refused to allow the waka Te Raukura (for which the building is named) to be housed in the wharewaka. Looking at how the waka display area has turned into a general storeroom, they were probably right.

Images: Te Raukura’s waka display now and then