It is striking by night. Spotlights are set into the ground to send light up the stainless steel columns and illuminate the large vessel that docks atop the four central columns. Lights are also set inside the six laser cut stainless steel freestanding columns that surround the central form, animating the structures that are plain grey in the daylight.
Wakatipu Vessel is in Omer Park, Queenstown, along the Lake Esplanade on the Glenorchy side of the Steamer Wharf complex. The form's peaceful, statuesque disposition suits it's position in the park just outside the busy part of town.
The Waka (Maori canoe) structure on top is cleverly designed so that viewing from each end makes the other look curved upwards, whereas it's actually symmetrical. The Maori used to travel by waka up and back along Lake Wakatipu to get Inanga Pounamu from the Dart and Routeburn Valleys. Inanga Pounamu is a whitish nephrite jade (greenstone) especially valued by Kai Tahu, the Southern Maori. The Waka in this sculpture is parallel with this section of the lake, pointing the way those journeys would have taken not that long ago. The waka hoe (Maori canoe paddles) and European style oars outlined in the peripheral columns reflect the historical importance of Lake Wakatipu as a passage for both Maori and European travellers.
The up most structure appears just as much leaf as it is waka. Negative shapes have been laser cut to leave a leaf-vein pattern in the steel sheet.
Dimensions: Vessel; Length 9000mm x Width 2000mm x Depth 1200mm. Stand; 4 Square Columns 200mm x Height 3000mm. Lighting Columns; 6x Square Columns 300mm x Height 2000mm.
Materials: Vessel; 5mm Marine Grade 316 Stainless Steel. Stand and Light Columns 3mm Marine Grade 316 Stainless Steel.
Text and Images Courtesy of Anna Claire Thompson