Mana Motuhake unveiled in Victoria Square

November 2019

A new artwork – Mana Motuhake – has today been unveiled in Victoria Square.

“At almost five metres tall, the two waka stand shoulder to shoulder with Queen Victoria as Christchurch’s way of acknowledging the significance of its shared cultural history,” says Ōtākaro Limited Chief Executive, John Bridgman.

The waka forms are a direct reference to Victoria Square once being a canoe landing site for the purpose of trading food, gathered at mahinga kai sites significant to Ngāi Tahu.

Mana Motuhake has been designed and produced by Ngāi Tahu master carver Fayne Robinson in conjunction with Matapopore and took around 2500 hours to create, using a blend of modern and traditional techniques.

Matapopore Chairperson, Aroha Reriti-Crofts, says the six figures inside the waka pay tribute to Te Tiriti o Waitangi (The Treaty of Waitangi) signatories for Ngāi Tahu.

“The carved forms reflect the moko worn by signatories of the Treaty. This artwork portrays the mana of the signatories and supports the Treaty relationship between Ngāi Tūāhuriri/ Ngāi Tahu and the Crown.

“A lot of effort has gone into restoring Victoria Square, so we’ve done all we can to ensure Mana Motuhake respects and enhances this much-loved space.”

The lighting around Victoria Square has also been enhanced to make the area enjoyable and interesting at night.

Seven light pole wraps feature silhouettes of the Puanga and Matariki constellations, and mahinga kai designs honouring the varieties of foods historically traded in the Market Square.

Mr Bridgman says Mana Motuhake is one of the final elements of Te Papa Ōtākaro/Avon River Precinct to be completed.

“Ōtākaro now has work underway on the Avon Loop, and the North Frame pedestrian bridge will be built next year, which will complete this Anchor Project.

“The Avon River Precinct creates an entirely new riverside walkway from the Hospital to Fitzgerald Avenue, and Mana Motuhake is one of many features the people of Christchurch and visitors to our city can enjoy along the way.”