Artwork Name: Tui Nui
Artist Name: Trevor Nathan
Location: Corner of Eruera and Tūtānekai Streets
Unique to New Zealand, the Tui is a recognisable part of the New Zealand’s landscape. This one-tonne sculpture by local carver, Trevor Nathan stands at 3.2 metres high.
The tui has been painted predominantly in a bright blue paint to mimic the iridescent nature of the bird’s feathers and it has its distinctive white throat tufts. At the top of the wings Nathan added two large green circles featuring a koru pattern, reminiscent of New Zealand’s famous ferns.
This was Paul Walsh’s entry in the 2017 Rotorua Mural Symposium, reminisce of the popular lithographic prints of the 1850s-1950s, using a limited palette of colours.
The Tui is a recognisable part of New Zealand’s fauna to both locals and tourists alike, which is why it was chosen by artist Trevor Nathan for this eye-catching sculpture.
The original tall carving formed part of the 2014 Inner City Revitalisation Plan and was selected by Rotorua Lakes Council on loan from the artist. Tui Nui today, is Nathan’s second version of the tui. The first, carved from a poplar his neighbour felled, rotted and became unsafe.
Credit: Trevor Nathan, Tui Nui, 2014. On loan from the artist.
About the artist: Trevor Nathan started his career as a brush-trained sign-writer. He followed this career for over 20 years, then at 35, decided to go back to art school. He graduated with an art and design diploma from Waiariki Institute of Technology. It was there he discovered his love of carving.
Nathan has been sculpting full time since 2003, working primarily with a variety of stone and wood. He now lives and works in Tikitere, Rotorua, on a large property, the grounds of which have evolved into a gallery and sculpture garden.