Waitemata 'Obsidian Waters' Public Project 2013
Waitemata ‘Obsidian Waters’ is a photographic project interested in how we experience this stretch of water and the nature of our relationship to this water that surrounds Auckland City. The project aims to bring a contemplative awareness to this body of water that stretches from Riverhead in the north-west, to Tāmaki River in the east. Members of the public participating in this project will have an opportunity to reflect upon their relationship with this water during the time spent in planning and photographing and thinking about our proximity to, and associations with, this water.
In keeping with the intentions of The Lab, the photographs will be printed inside The Lab and installed within this context of other works in progress. The final install will offer an immersive experience of this elemental space through the scale and repetition of this representation of site.
History of the naming of the Waitemata:
Wai-te-matā means ‘obsidian waters’ – the glassy surface resembled volcanic obsidian rock. In Te Arawa tradition, the harbour was named by the ancestor Tamatekapua, when he placed a volcanic stone as a mauri (talisman) in its waters near Birkenhead. The Ngāpuhi people called it Te Wai-o-te-mate (the waters of death) – a reference to battles to control the Tāmaki isthmus. (Margaret McClure. 'Auckland places - Waitematā Harbour', Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, 2012, p. 9).