Public art

Auckland Domain sculptures

Artworks by eight of New Zealand's leading contemporary artists were installed in Auckland Domain throughout 2004, 2005 and early 2006.

The artists; Chiara Corbelletto, John Edgar, Charlotte Fisher, Fred Graham, Christine Hellyar, Neil Miller, Louise Purvis and Greer Twiss were commissioned to create site specific works for these locations.

The project was initiated by Sculpture 2001 and supported by Auckland City Council, the PA Edmiston Trust and the Lottery Grants Board.

The numbers on the map below correspond to the information about the sculptures which form the walk.

You can also visit the Auckland Museum website and download a site map in PDF format.

1 - Greer Twiss - Graftings2 - Louise Purvis - Promise Boat3 - Neil Miller - Regeneration4 - John Edgar - Transformer5 - Fred Graham - Kaitiaki6 - Christine Hellyar - Spring7 - Charlotte Fisher - Arc8 - Chiara Corbelletto - Numbers are the Language of NatureAuckland Domain sculpture trail map.


1 Graftings

Greer Twiss - Graftings. Artist: Greer Twiss, 2004
Materials: Bronze; 10 pieces

Ten small bronzes make up Greer Twiss's work for the Domain. Nestled amidst the plants of the fernery, they represent nine indigenous birds and one introduced pear tree, perhaps the festive tree occupied by a partridge in the Christmas carol. They stand tall as though grafted onto metal supports like those that hold up young trees. The birds are readily recognisable by their characteristic silhouettes. They are also labelled with witty simulated tags, inscribed with the common, Latin and Maori name of each, as though they were specimens in a botanic garden or museum

2 Promise Boat

Louise Purvis - Promise Boat. Artist: Louise Purvis, 2005
Materials: Bardiglio marble and basalt

Louise Purvis has carved her sculpture in pale grey Bardiglio marble from Italy, fine grained and long lasting. Promise Boat is an archetypal vessel, tipped on its side to creates visual interest, perhaps also implying the beached craft of immigrants who arrived on the shores of Aotearoa New Zealand. The form is intriguingly bound in a continuous organic ribbon. This wrapping makes the image mysterious, suggesting that it is a fragile form that has to be protected and bandaged, or that something is being hidden - perhaps evoking the personal stories of voyagers. 

3 Regeneration

Neil Miller - Regeneration. Artist: Neil Miller, 2005
Materials: Steel and plants

Neil Miller's sculpture celebrates contemporary industrial materials in its soaring open tripod built of steel extrusions, welded and bolted together. But it will also celebrate indigenous plant life in unexpected combination with the manufactured character of the structure. The sculpture is intended to form a support for vines, which will be planted in its concrete base and grow over the frame to form a lush arbour.  Flowering in the different seasons of spring, summer and autumn, they will suggest the constant renewal of life, reflected in the title Regeneration.

4 Transformer

John Edgar - Transformer. Artist: John Edgar, 2004
Materials: Granite - Coromandel/India

John Edgar's upright stele of grey granite is like an ancient stone memorial marking a sacred site. Does the work's title Transformer refer to the role of the sculptor, carving form out of raw stone, or to the hand of time? The ovoid shape that lies near the vertical form suggests that a second monument has been toppled and worn away by the weather. This implied history through time is made more enigmatic by the narrow slices of red stone that have been laminated into the forms: looking like digital bar codes, they evoke cryptic messages in a secret language. 

Special thanks to Trethewey Granite and Marble Ltd and Maunsell Limited for their support of this sculpture.

5 Kaitiaki

Fred Graham - Kaitiaki. Artist: Fred Graham, 2004
Materials: Steel plate

This sculpture belongs to the tradition of abstract Modernist constructions which invite spectators to engage with the aesthetics of sculpture in its own right - its form, material, weight and scale. But of course it also represents a hawk. Fred Graham observes that birds were the original Tangata Whenua of Aotearoa, and the hawk has figured prominently in the oral traditions of Ngati Whatua and Tainui. The enormous swooping steel bird, dark against the sky, may seem threatening, but conveys the strength that makes the hawk a powerful guardian of the land. Special thanks to Rex Erikson.

6 Spring

Christine Hellyar - Spring. Artist: Christine Hellyar, 2004
Materials: Bronze and basalt

Made of basalt which recalls the volcanic origins of the Domain, Christine Hellyar's work is a stepped form of three flat-topped rocks. Although water is not a permanent part of the sculpture, the rocks' surfaces are marked by grooves and a shallow pool which catch rain and suggest a directional flow of water. At both ends are two bronze fern fronds, small at the top, tall at the end of the flow path, reminding us of the key role of water in the growth of living forms. The work follows the line of Auckland's first public water supply of 1866, which it commemorates.

7 Arc

Charlotte Fisher - Arc. Artist: Charlotte Fisher, 2004
Materials: Granite and bronze

Balanced on a high columnar base of stone is a wide bronze arc, an organic shape supporting seven vertical forms. Charlotte Fisher recounts how the image for her sculpture was drawn from an ancient European petroglyph which has long intrigued her. It probably depicted upright figures in a boat, and it seems an appropriate symbol for the many voyages of discovery and settlement that led to the founding and growth of Aotearoa New Zealand. The work's elevated, somewhat precarious composition invokes the heroism yet vulnerability of those historic travellers.

8 Numbers are the Language of Nature

Chiara Corbelletto - Numbers are the Language of Nature. Artist: Chiara Corbelletto, 2005
Materials: Bronze

 Fluid, windswept triangles of cast bronze are fitted together in sexpartite groupings to create the complex planar surface of Chiara Corbelletto's sculpture. The repeated modular elements remind us that all organisms have an underlying geometry that is part of the universal laws of nature. And the curvilinear contours and surfaces of the shapes suggest the vibrancy of living forms. The work seems to share in the growing, changing character of nature and the rhythms of life, a quality enhanced by the flowing metal surface.

Your feedback helps us to improve our website. If you have feedback about our services (not the website), please contact us.