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Preserving cultural heritage at second Sculpture Symposium

Dedication to preserve cultural heritage at their second Sculpture Symposium earns two a well-earned rest

In the ten days of their involvement with Whangarei’s second Sculpture Symposium, Korotangi Kapa-Kingi, and Amorangi Hikuroa estimate they only managed to get a few hours sleep per night - Not that that fazed them at all.

Korotangi, the Whangarei-based Whakairo tutor for the Maori Arts programme at NorthTec, and Amorangi, a graduate of NorthTec’s Certificate in Whakairo (Visual Arts), who has gone onto to become a resident artist, for ten days painstakingly chiselled away at 750kg blocks of Oamaru limestone bringing to life forms that pay homage to the landscape surrounding the Hatea River in Whangarei and its cultural heritage.

What they meticulously moulded required intensive labour at the beginning, but eventually what they were able to achieve was exactly what they had had set out to. However, their dedication to the task but meant that Amorangi and Korotangi only slept a few hours a night on average to finish their pieces on time.

Korotangi explained this was because from the outset, they decided to use hand tools only – which had been a personal choice by them in an effort to pay close attention to the important detailing.

Held at Reyburn Reserve Sculpture Park bi-annually, the Whangarei Sculpture Symposium is a ten day event that incorporates live sculpture where the public are able to watch and interact with 20 working artists as the sculpt their individual pieces. The Symposium organiser’s, CHART, believes that the event enables all to share in the art-making experience and process. “The Symposium is a collaboration of ideas and a sharing of skills between the artists that enable them to further develop their artistic practice,” said Trish Clarke of CHART North.

The form Korotangi created, Te Heru, which pays homage to the heritage along the Hatea River, and to Pa sites around Whangarei, was a traditional Māori war canoe bailer. Amorangi’s piece was a metaphorical statement about the plight of Pohe Island which he shaped to represent it as submerged in rubbish.

Both were thrilled to be invited back to take part in the Symposium again this year after being a part of the inaugural event in 2010.

Korotangi said they learnt so much last time and were happy to be in the company yet again of what they described as “Jedis” of the sculpture world so that they were able to learn even more.

On Saturday, following all twenty artists' efforts, around 40 works was auctioned off to the highest bidders. One of the forms created by Anna Korver was purchased for $5000 by the Whangarei District Council which is to be strategically placed in Whangarei city for people to enjoy.

Will Ngakuru, a tutor at NorthTec’s campus in Rawene, and NorthTec graduates Sandra Meyst and Aaron Hoskins, were also part of this year’s Symposium.


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