Whenua history inspires design

You might have noticed that our new building for ACC will feature a stunning graphic illustration on its exterior glass panels.

It’s the work of Renata Te Wiata which draws on the way the whenua was used in pre-colonial times, and on the nearby Waikato awa.

Like most of Waikato, Kirikiriroa is known for its highly fertile soils and was an area of vast cultivations pre-colonisation. The ACC building sits on former maara kai (vegetable gardens) which fed and provided sustenance for mana whenua and, later, newly arrived settlers.

Renata’s designs draw on this history with his illustrations featuring uwhi (Maaori yams), hue (the vegetable used to make gourds), and kumara vines. These vegetables grew prolifically in these maara.

Also featuring in the design is the niho taniwha (tooth of the taniwha) which is a representation of the life-sustaining Waikato awa.

“Water is an important aspect of healing for our people and this design plays on the concept of reflection and flow of water. The positioning of the design is of particular importance, offering those who pass under its shadows a sense of healing and cleansing,” says Renata. 

It’s also not lost on us how closely aligned the history and role of this whenua is with the purpose of ACC in taking care of people.

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