Pohutukawa Still Not Shining


No, it still doesn’t work.
In fact, shinier than ever, the Pohutukawa sculpture marking the southern entrance to the CBD looks even more dated as if it should be sitting in a second-hand 70s kitsch shop amid the lava lamps.

The sculpture, at Spaghetti Junction, was surprisingly not a child of some bad 70s LSD fantasy but was constructed in 2006.
Exposure to a combination of sun, wind and traffic pollution faded the sculpture’s 105 stamens from red to pink over the past five years.
As reported here in March, the NZTA thought it was a kind gift to Auckland to use some of its money to restore it and they have with the work taking a fortnight. Nice thought, but maybe the work was fundamentally flawed at the start.
Architect Rod Slater of engineering consultants Beca Carter Hollings and Ferner was the chief designer, and the installation work was directed by sculptor Quintin Strachan.
I am sure they meant well just like the people rushing about at the moment in organising a giant statue of Michael Jones crossing the try line. That will be on display at an entrance to Eden Park in time for the RWC 2011.
Again well intentioned but rushed as always instead of taking a deep breath and deciding is this the best we can come up in a city becoming known for its tackiness including a plastic waka. Look how long the Pohutukawa has been with us and we still can’t get rid of it when we had a rare chance (mind you the problem is we the public were not asked).
We have some amazing artists, sculptors and creative brains in Auckland.
The more I see of the brightened Pohutukawa, the more I wonder why there was no thought to do something that suits the area today if there really has to be something alongside the ugly motorway connections.
A giant face mask to portray the noticeable pollution there might have been more appropriate.




  1. Patrick R says:

    A close look at the plan for two lane-ing Hobson and Nelson and: Bang! bye-bye ghastly eyesore. I say let’s move it to NZTA’s reception….. OR perhaps better, Omaha.

  2. Tim Harman says:

    Am I the only one that likes the Pohutukawa? I was sad to see it all covered up - I haven’t see it since it’s back.

    But I liked it. I guess I’m in the minority?


  3. Lti says:

    Dont worry, Tim. I like it too. Unfortunately there are certain cleverer-than-thous on this forum who think they are the arbiters of good taste.

  4. Patrick R says:

    Lti- of course taste is personal and no one can be wrong about what they like or don’t like, if you like it all good. But, there are real issues here around process with this thing. I would really hope that planning or engineering professionals on this site would agree that their years of training and experience should not be rode rough shod over and someone like me say can just wander in and do your job without any at least going through the existing structures and processors along the way. There are systems for sourcing and funding and placing public artworks that should lead to higher quality work.

    This is there through a Mickey Mouse process, whatever you think of it, happily perhaps in your case. Still that is insufficient cause to insult the whole creative industries sector.

    And no I am not a sculptor, so this not about me wanting a gig but simply wanting Auckland to lift its game to higher international standards across all areas.

  5. Lti says:

    Fair enough. Some good points.
    Thanks for the input.

  6. Chris says:

    No Tim - I think its nice too. Thats what art is, something that looks nothing like what its meant to be and with a little bit of crazy.


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