Artwork Name: Te Amo Whakaruruhau
Artist Name: Lyonel Grant
Location: Rotorua Police Station, Fenton Street
Medium: Laser-cut aluminium
The Rotorua Police Station building references traditional Māori architecture. The main façade is cloaked in a perforated metal sheet screen to represent a korowai (cloak).
Te Arawa artist, Lyonel Grant, was commissioned to create the design of the 84 metre-long metal screen using elements and narratives from Te Arawa’s history and mythology.
Just as a korowai drapes and protects its wearer, so does the screen, symbolising the role of the police to protect and defend the community.
The Rotorua Police Station was designed specifically to represent Rotorua, its people, and its history in a contemporary way. It is the first Police Station in New Zealand to be gifted a Māori name. Local iwi, Te Arawa gifted the name, Te Amo Whakaruruhau.
By treating the building as a living being, the design references traditional Māori architecture. The vertical pre-cast elements along the street frontage open or close the building to public view and evoke the protective wooden palisades of a Māori pā.
Credit: Lyonel Grant, Te Amo Whakaruruhau – Rotorua Police Station facade, 2014. Commissioned by New Zealand Police.
About the artist: A master carver and sculptor working in wood, stone, bronze, glass, ceramics and paint, Lyonel Grant (Ngati Pikiao and Te Arawa), reinterprets traditional Māori carving forms and motifs using Western sculptural materials and techniques.
Grant trained under the master carver Hōne Taiapa at the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute in Rotorua during the 1970s. He forged an independent practice in the 1980s, completing several whare whakairo (carved meeting houses)