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Big birthday present for Onehunga community centre

Big birthday present for Onehunga community centre and library

Onehunga’s Library and Community Centre is about to boast its biggest first birthday present in February with the unveiling of its new Pacific Island themed sculpture, Hautaha.

The sculpture unveiling will be combined with the first birthday celebrations for the new community centre and library on 21 February 2004 and everyone is welcome to come along.

Hautaha, meaning “coming together”, is the result of a successful collaboration between the council, the local community and a professional artist.

Before building began on the new Onehunga community centre and library, a group from the community and Auckland City explored ways in which artworks could enhance the new building, and a reference group was then set up to progress the idea.

Expressions of interest were received from professional artists in March 2003, and public voting decided the successful artwork. Tongan artist, Filipe Tohi, a well-known sculptor of wood, stone and steel from New Plymouth (with family in Onehunga) had the winning design.

The original design brief asked that the artwork reflects local themes like historical portage routes, the Manukau harbour and industrial developments. The three-metre tall structure features a lalava (lashing) pattern on a 3D steel sculpture. The lalava is a metaphor for the DNA threads of the local people - “it’s the piece of string that connects everything and everyone together,” says artist Filipe Tohi. The $70,000 artwork will be erected outside the new Onehunga Library and Community Centre, on the corner of Church and Upper Municipal Streets in Onehunga.

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