Wynyard Edge Alliance 2 LandLAB 12 Te Nukuao

Toitanga 2021 Credits
  • Creative Director
    Will Ingle
  • Design Director
    Joanna Wong
  • Team Members
    Tessa Harris, Ethan Reid, Bela Grimsdale, George Woolford, Manoochehr Ardalany, Will Chen, Kurt Grant, Bridget Law
  • Contributors
    Auckland Council, Panuku Development Auckland, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Beca, Downer, McConnell Dowell, Tonkin + Taylor, Dave Gidden Sailmakers
  • Client
    Panuku Development Auckland

Located in Silo Park Extension, Te Nukuao establishes a cultural marker that recognises and represents the mana that tangata whenua hold over the whenua and moana of Tāmaki Makaurau. In addition to the structure’s unique form and associated symbolism, Te Nukuao seeks to draw people through the highly recognisable silos to the east, to provide a place of respite and to encourage people into the new urban space that has been created as part of the 36th America’s Cup waterfront development. Te Nukuao is a place of both passage and pause.
This project was born out of cultural sustainability, to maintain cultural stories, heritage, crafts and values of Maori culture for future generations. The America’s Cup Kaitiaki Engagement Plan was formed to assist tangata whenua to express their tikanga, fulfil their role as kaitiaki, and establish the engagement process with nineteen mana whenua iwi. In fulfilling its commitment to recognising the mana of tangata whenua, it was agreed that a cultural marker would provide a permanent physical acknowledgement of their foundational role and their connection to this important maritime space.
Designed in collaboration with a mana whenua artist, Tessa Harris, this manifested as Te Nukuao, meaning shelter, and recognises the underwater caverns that existed prior to historical reclamation taking place. As a marker on this precious site, Te Nukuao embraces people and encourages visitors to engage with it at varying scales.
Referencing the journeys and waka from the past and present, Te Nukuao explores the narrative, form and symbolic presence of three waka hourua sails folded into a complex 3D structure to provide shelter and activation to the plaza of Silo Park Extension. The lattice members give the impression of a billowing, windblown movement across the surface of the structure, also echoed in the sail pattern.
The structure itself was considered a 'framework' to explore and celebrate the traditional craft of raranga (weaving). Te Nukuao takes inspiration from the weaving patterns found on the sole remaining Maori sail in existence – Te Rā. The aramoana (zig-zag pathway of the Moana) stitches are reflected in the printed pattern across the sail. A celebration of tradition weaving culminates in the large-scale woven panel that exposes the back and front of a traditional tukutuku panel with tumatakahuki (binding stitch) and purapurawhetū talk about people past and present who have connections to this area.
A true trans-disciplinary approach was required between the artist, architect, structural engineers, and steel fabricator to craft every detail: structure, connections, pattern, and lashings.
Early involvement with experienced sail makers allowed for the suitable selection of materials and incorporation of traditional lashing patterns to fix the sail onto the structure. This project gave a meaningful opportunity for local weavers to assist the artist with the tukutuku panel.
The kōhatu stone furniture, placed around and under the shelter encourage habitation and rest, was locally sourced from Tāmaki Makaurau. These were shaped and carved by artist Tessa Harris to call to mind the worn and weathered forms of rocks against the ocean.