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Seaweek - Wai-rua, Wairua

Seaweek - Wai-rua, Wairua

Sorry this event has been and gone


  • Sat 25 Feb ’17, 6:00pm – 9:00pm
  • Sun 26 Feb ’17, 11:00am – 2:00pm
  • Sat 4 Mar ’17, 11:00am – 2:00pm


Waiwhetu Marae, Cnr Guthrie St & Riverside Drive Waiwhetu, Lower Hutt


All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Free Admission



"Waterways precede and sustain our existence in the present."

Johanna Mechen, Angela Kilford and Aliyah Winter.

Join us for walks and screenings around Waiwhetu to explore how water can be valued in different ways. Connecting 
two different bodies of water (the stream and aquifer), water ageing and whakapapa, the project involves Te Atiawa o Waiwhetu, local community and GNS Science.

Directions: By train: Woburn Station, 12min walk via Grenville and Guthrie Streets.

More information:
The suburb of Waiwhetu holds a special place in the Hutt Valley. One of the largest urban marae in the country, alongside a meeting house (Arohanui ki te Tangata) there is the Te Maori cultural centre and wharewaka, a gym, radio station, and health and childcare centres. Arohanui ki te Tangata means “good will to all men”, a name chosen to symbolise relations between Maori and European since the area’s settlement in the 1800s.

Local Pakeha and iwi Te Atiawa alike cherish their relationship with Waiwhetu Stream: not so long ago known as the most polluted stream in New Zealand and now the subject of much community restoration. Waiwhetu means ‘star reflecting water’ named after the original pa site. Te Atiawa have a private bore to the aquifer here which promises to provide clean water for the health of the local community for the future. This is due to open shortly, with a pipeline to providing full access to the wider public.

Wai-rua, wairua explores through dialogue how we can combine different approaches to water - connecting two different bodies of water and connecting the communities in and around Waiwhetu.

The Waiwhetu stream (and its now culverted tributaries) and the aquifer bore at Te Maori Wharewaka are this project’s focal point for a conversation between local Iwi, the environment and the greater community. The concepts of scientifically dating water and the exploration of water through whakapapa involve multiple knowledge systems. The project will include exploratory walks with locals and visitors mapping the waterways (seen and hidden), community photographic workshops (working with water from the aquifer), and the development and projection of a filmwork.

“Wairua is a Maori concept of spirit, or the spiritual element pertaining to all things living and non-living” write the artists. “Wairua can be taken to mean either ‘two waters”, or “that which is contained within”.

“Waterways can be cited in pepeha (the way in which you introduce yourself), as part of the whakapapa of a particular iwi, hapu or individual. This puts us in dialogue with our environment. Waterways precede and sustain our existence in the present”’

The artists are working with Te Atiawa members to voice Iwi views and histories of water, and GNS Science to visualise the issues of water ageing in the aquifer. A visual whakapapa of the waterways in the 100-acre area - once set aside for Iwi living near the Waiwhetu Stream – will be created. There is also research with scientists at the GNS Science Groundwater ageing lab in Lower Hutt. The ageing of aquifer water determines the health of our drinking water. Several decades of recent agricultural and industrial history have left pollution of this water source, which is still untapped.

“It is our intention to produce a project which explores and highlights these varying dynamics and understandings of the importance of water, and offer this back to the greater community. Different components of our project will intertwine or echo each other as we share research and continue conversations about the concerns over the quality of the water that lies beneath and the politics of bringing it to the surface.”

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