Otago Polytechnic

Award-winning New Zealand artist Michel Tuffery has been commissioned to create a sculpture at the entrance to Otago Polytechnic.


To be located in the courtyard outside the Mason Centre on Forth St, Dunedin, the 2.5m-high, sandcast bronze sculpture – titled Nga Kete – has been selected after an extensive process involving more than eight proposals.


Tuffery’s sculpture is tentatively scheduled to be installed in early summer, with an official opening ceremony to follow.


Tuffery likens Nga Kete to a midden, “a natural layering of metaphors weaving the kaupapa of the traditional, environmental and cultural with community and history”.


Named a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2008, the Wellington-based artist has fond memories of his time at Otago Polytechnic’s School of Art in the late 1980s and is delighted to be able to contribute to the institution and the community.


“There is a saying in Māori, ‘aroha mo te aroha’. It is about reciprocation.


“It was an honour to submit my proposal and it is humbling that Nga Kete will be created for Otago Polytech Te Kura Matatini ki Otago and the wider Dunedin community.”


Tuffery hopes Nga Kete will serve as a reminder to those who enter Otago Polytechnic that the institution will feed the “mind and spirit of each ākonga (student), as is the role of the tuākana (mentor), ensuring all that come leave have filled their ketewith the knowledge required to carry oneself forward”.


Tuffery’s artistic process included site visits to Otago Polytechnic, research, engaging with Kai Tahu leaders and rūnaka, as well as technical development with a range of industry experts, including Dunedin-based Farra Engineering Ltd, which is managing the project.


“Through several conversations and meetings held with respective community and cultural leaders at Ōtākou Marae in November 2017, I was drawn to the striking heritage stained glass windows at Ōtākou. They are based on the pātiki (flounder) and tukutuku patterns and feature a diamond design.”


Tuffery has also designed the sculpture to function as a sundial within the courtyard near the entrance to the Otago Polytechnic’s Hub. At night, up-lighting will enhance Nga Kete’s woven textures.


Rebecca Hamid, conveyor for the Otago Polytechnic Art on Campus Steering Group, says Nga Kete will be the first in a range of art works destined to create dialogue, intrigue and learning, pushing expectations at the Dunedin campus.


“Otago Polytechnic’s Art on Campus plan aims to enhance our cultural presence in Dunedin and continue to build the strong reputation of the Dunedin School of Art,” Rebecca explains.


“Furthermore, we aim to provide students, staff, members of the public and national and international visitors with opportunities to experience art works of high aesthetic and/or critical values on our campus and further afield in our city.


“Four plinths have recently been constructed in the courtyard on Forth St, and we plan to have revolving exhibits of student sculpture projects on these.


“We have also had a promise of a major donation towards a sculpture at Te Pā Tauira – Otago Polytechnic Student Village. This will be our next major sculpture on campus.”


Published on 01 March 2018

Orderdate: 01 Mar 2018
Expiry: 31 May 2018