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Five don’t-miss artworks to visit in Taupō

Let's take a wander through Taupō's art scene with local artist Jeffrey Addison leading the way! Jeffrey's picked out five unmissable pieces of artwork, blending ancient tales and modern flair. From sacred sites to playful murals, join us on this personal tour to see Taupō through the eyes of someone who truly loves and knows its artistic heartbeat.


1. Te Ātea

I have the privilege of being a storyteller for Te Ātea, on the Tapuaeharuru reserve. It is packed with Māori cultural knowledge and, as a new artwork, is already a significant community treasure.

Te Ātea Tapuaeharuru
Te Ātea - Tapuaeharuru

It has a sanctity to it, featuring volcanic deities, birds, fish and fifteen river pou (posts) that collectively help orientate and connect people with our local waterways, flora, fauna and whenua.


2. Okuta Bay (a.ka. Mine Bay) Rock carvings

As well as being visually impressive, they are a memorial to Tūwharetoa tipuna (ancestors). Ngātoroirangi is 14m tall and there are over 30 smaller carvings next to him, with little bits of moss and ferns growing amidst them.

Ngātoroirangi Mine Bay Māori Rock Carvings

The carvings are in a beautiful interactive dance with the elements over time, where they’re slowly being worn by the wind, waves and rain.


3. Warrior Mountains’ Playground 

This playful work of art at the Tongariro Domain is designed to be climbed on and swung from.

Warrior Mountains at the Tongariro Domain

 

Te Papa Tākaro o Ngā Maunga Toa weaves together a beloved Ngāti Tūwharetoa story, with specific playground features representing the different mountains, including a big climbing frame up to the ‘peak’ of Tongariro. It’s a fun interactive activity that enhances cultural understanding and connectivity with this rohe (region.)


4. Mural magic

There are now 85 magnificent murals in the back alleys and side streets of Taupō.

 

My favourite mural is on Tūwharetoa street – with huge green & blue hued faces of rangatahi māori, either side of a whale. The artistic prowess used to create it is astonishing.


5. The Blind Woman of Taupō

Visit Taupō Museum to get close to a mysterious painting by famous New Zealand artist Charles Frederick Goldie. The subject of the painting has not been identified, though we know it was painted in 1935. She sits inside our wharenui (meeting house), alongside portraits of two notable chiefs, painted by local artist Thomas ‘Darby’ Ryan.

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