A new artwork by Dr Maureen Lander (Ngāpuhi, Te Hikutu, Pākehā) has been commissioned by Wellington City Council for the Waitohi Community Hub in Johnsonville.
Whetūrangi is a site-specific installation comprised of 48 woven harakeke kitset forms stretching across a nine metre high internal wall at the entrance to Waitohi. The title refers to the starry sky, where the kitset forms become whetu (stars) against the “sky” backdrop of the wall.
Maureen says her practice combines both Māori and European approaches to art-making and reflects alternative ways of thinking, usually in the form of large ephemeral works such as installations that engage with their physical and conceptual contexts. Whetūrangi has been created in collaboration with Te Roopu Raranga O Manaia, a Wellington weaving group based at Hikoikoi, Petone. “Lately I’ve been aligning my bigger projects more closely with the kind of collective approach familiar to Maori weavers for achieving larger community outcomes, similar to the weaving of tukutuku panels to decorate a new meeting house. Wheturangi at Waitohi Library and Community Hub is the most recent example of this collaborative community approach.”
Maureen is a leading exponent of raranga (weaving) and installation art. She has exhibited, photographed, written about and taught Māori art since 1986. She was awarded a New Zealand Order of Merit in 2020 for her services to Māori art.
Wheturangi will be installed and have an official blessing ceremony on Saturday 12 September, followed by an artists’ talk at Waitohi.