Toro Whakaara: He urupare ki tō tātau taiao hanga

Poipoi Whakaaro, 2021
Custom floor vinyl graphic
Custom powder-coated steel hoop
Natural cotton hand-dyed woven net

Kaikohe Intermediate School, ĀKAU, Catherine Griffiths & Ruth Woodbury
For Toro Whakaara, a basketball court design was installed on the floor of Ō Raki Mair Gallery, accompanied by an oversized kōwhai hoop. The court references a project completed in 2019 in Kaikohe by ĀKAU with Catherine Griffiths. The design is inspired by the mahi of a rōpū of kōtiri from Kaikohe Intermediate and reflects a shared desire for the court to be a dynamic and whānau friendly space that is unique to its local culture and community.

The Niho Taniwha (sawtooth) pattern references moving forward together in formation with the leader being flanked by their peers – emphasising mahi tahi and leadership. The colours accentuate these ideas – kikorangi (blue) represents wai as in waiora and life; and karaka (orange) ahi kā, fire and energy. The oversized hoop, conceived by Catherine Griffiths with handwoven net by Ruth Woodbury, has been designed especially for CoCA, it’s scale within the gallery illustrates ĀKAU’s playful approach to transforming everyday objects drawn from urban spaces.

Named Poipoi Whakaaro, which means the ‘nurturing of ideas’ it also references poitūkohu, basketball. Through the simple reframing of the well-known basketball court form, ĀKAU foregrounds the visibility of Te Ao Māori within the built environment. In doing so a signal is sent to its users and the wider community. This space is cared for and has been designed for their use – participation is welcome.
Photography: John Collie