Nelson's gateway sculptures
The Novella Sculpture
“Nau mai ki tōku Āhuru Mōwai” – Welcome to my safe home, to my sheltered haven. He wāhi e tau ana te wairua pai, e marino ana, e kore e taea e te kino.
This sculpture, created and erected in 2012, is sited on Miyazu Park, near the corner of Atawhai Drive and Queen Elizabeth II Drive, adjacent to the Trafalgar Cycleway.
The artist, Juan Jose Novella is an internationally recognised Spanish artist and sculptor. He says that the idea of shelter is very present in the work and alludes to Nelson's relationship with the sea. Novella has a great interest in light and shadow which he has explored in earlier works. The intricate cut out design creates a delicate looking shell, even though the carbon steel is 25mm thick and offers and alternate view of the world beyond, through its network.
The curved shape draws inspiration from marine plant formations and reflects the shape of the Haven and Boulder Bank - welcoming people to Nelson. It is orientated east/west and as the sun moves overhead, fascinating shadows are cast, every moving like the tide that ebbs and flows and fish that dance in the shallows.
Te Tahuna a Tama (The Boulder Bank)
The sculpture also has a relationship with the Boulder Bank, which sits directly opposite the sculpture. The significance of Te Tahuna a Tama to tangata whenua is the subject of many purakau (stories). For generations Te Tahuna a Tama was central to the area, which was a rich source of food. Manaka Motu (Haulashore Island), part of Tahuna a Tama at the time, provided a strategic place for tangata whenua to camp.
Legends tell of Rakaihautu arriving at Nelson Haven (probably around 800 AD) and Kupe legends also describe dramatic events in the waters of eastern Tasman Bay.
Archaeological evidence indicates that the Nelson Boulder Bank was visited by Māori the early archaic (or"moa hunter") era and inhabited from the early 1200's. Boulders from the Boulder Bank have since been used as hammer stones in many of the pakohe quarries scattered across the Nelson mineral Belt and on D'Urville Island. Both the Glen and Cable Bay/Delaware Inlet area have long been permanent or seasonal habitations and there are important pa sites, wahi tapu (sacred places) and burial grounds along that section of the Nelson coast.
Manawhenua iwi include Ngāti Kuia, Ngāti Apa, Rangitane, Ngāti Tumatakokiri, Ngāti Koata, Ngāti Rarua, Ngāti Tama and Te Ātiawa.
Dance to the Music of Time
Kanikani i nga kaupeka huriana - People and their lives are what make up our memories of time and history.
This sculpture, installed November 2012, is located at Kinzett Terrace, near to the roundabout on Queen Elizabeth II Drive. The sculpture is a three faceted bronze which stands 5.5 metres tall. It represents the four seasons and references the bounty of the sea, the land and the people. It sits atop a plinth which reflects the shape and form of the Cathedral and Trafalgar Bridge which acts as landmarks linking sea to city
The artist, Terry Stringer, is a key figure in the history of art in New Zealand, and was awarded the national honour, Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, in 2003 in recognition of his services to the arts. After training at Elam Art School he won many scholarships and awards including the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council Scholarship three times. His distinctive works grace many high profile sites in both New Zealand and overseas. This large bronze that marks Nelson’s gateway to the city centre gives a sense of the past and present people living in the Nelson landscape, referencing key industries for our region of horticulture, viticulture and aquaculture.
The profile of a child is created in outline and faces in from the North looking at future opportunities. There is a suggestion of a giant sea bird facing Nelson in the overall shape of the sculpture, a watchful guardian over our city.
Edited March 2021
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