Otago Polytechnic

A sculpture by celebrated New Zealand artist Michel Tuffery MNZM will be installed at the entrance to Otago Polytechnic on 15 October, 2018.

The 2.5m-high, sandcast bronze sculpture – titled Nga Kete – will be located in front of the courtyard outside the Mason Centre on Forth St, Dunedin.

Nga Kete was selected by a panel of art professionals earlier this year after an extensive process involving several short-listed artists’ proposals.

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

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

Nga Kete is laden with narrative and Tuffery hopes the sculpture will serve as a reminder to those who enter Otago Polytechnic that the institution will feed the “mind and spirit of each, ensuring all shall leave having filled their kete with the knowledge required to carry oneself forward”.

During late 2017, Tuffery undertook site visits to Otago Polytechnic, widening his research by meeting with respective Kai Tahu leaders and Rūnanga at Ōtākou Marae along with local historians.

He also welcomed the opportunity to work with Dunedin based firm Farra Engineering Ltd, and its industry network. Farra is managing the onsite installation of Nga Kete.

Design elements will see Nga Kete function as a sundial at the entrance to the Otago Polytechnic’s Hub. At night, ambient up-lighting will enhance the sculpture’s woven textures, based on the historical buried cable used to pull the 1886 Armstrong Disappearing Gun at Taiaroa Head, and Pātiki (flounder) and Tukutuku patterns directly linked to Ōtākou Marae.

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.”

Otago Polytechnic is a member of the Tertiary Precinct Planning Group along with the Dunedin City Council, University of Otago, Otago Regional Council and Otago Museum.  It is also a member of the Leith Amenity Project Working Group, which has discussed ways to enhance the Tertiary Precinct with a sculpture walkway from the Dunedin School of Art, through the Tertiary Precinct, to the Octagon.


Published on 01 October 2018

Orderdate: 01 Oct 2018
Expiry: 09 Oct 2018