Above: Porirua Arts Council Chair Judy McKoy (left), sculptor and Arts Council member Michael Bennington and Mayor Mike Tana check out the view from the newly installed sculpture celebrating Michael King.
A sculpture celebrating historian, author and biographer Michael King, OBE, was unveiled on Wineera Drive on the Porirua waterfront on 1 July 2017.
Ngāti Toa Rangatira and Council Kaumātua Taku Parai opened the unveiling ceremony with a karakia, which was followed by short speeches from Mayor Mike Tana and the Arts Council.
The sculpture, designed by Arts Council member Michael Bennington, takes the form of a large window facing out into the harbour and looking across to Paremata and the hills beyond.
A quote featured on the sculpture from King’s Being Pakeha Now firmly places the new commemoration in its local environment – King went to primary school in Plimmerton, lived and worked in Paremata for a number of years and sailed and fished around the Pāuatahanui Inlet.
“The Writers’ Walk is a joint Porirua Community Arts Council and Porirua City Council initiative, which aims to install at least one Writers’ Walk commemoration each year over five years,” says Porirua Arts Council Chair Judy McKoy.
“After much consultation, the Arts Council selected the writer and liaised with the family over the text used and guided the design of the sculpture. Porirua City has provided the important back-end engineering and manufacturing support, along with funding as part of the city’s Annual Plan,” says Ms McKoy.
“Michael King was a phenomenal story teller who gave us a window to other worlds. Representing his work in an innovative way like this reminds us all of the contribution he and other Porirua writers have made to our country’s nation building. I can’t wait to see the Writers’ Walk develop further,” Mayor Mike Tana says.
It forms another step in the Porirua City’s Writers’ Walk, a project that reflects the rich legacy of writers and poets who have lived and worked in the city. Already installed is a Pou commemorating the wordsmith Te Rangihaeata at the corner of Wineera Drive and Titahi Bay Road. The Pou is a Ngāti Toa/ City Council project launched in 2015 and marks the start of the walk.
Local writer Patricia Grace, DCNZM, was honoured in 2016 with a three metre high sculpture inscribed with a quote from her 1986 novel Potiki. An artistic installation honouring Alistair Te Ariki Campbell is the next planned stage of the Writers’ Walk, which is already attracting interest from school groups and visitors to the city.
Writers currently being considered for future installations include Briar Grace Smith, Sam Hunt, Adrienne Jansen, Alison Wong, Louis Johnson, Elizabeth Knox, Gary McCormack, and children’s authors Juliette MacIver and Jack Lasenby.
For those keen for more background about the author and his work, a QR code on the information bollard nearby links to the Writers’ Walk page on the Arts Council website.
1 Jul 2017