Madi Wright

A Lighthouse Towards Reparations

Bachelor of Design Exhibition Design Collaboration Community Diversity Education Indigenous Methodologies Place Public Te Ao Maori
AD21 Award
Toi Māia Award
For cultural contribution to mātauranga Māori and indigenous knowledge

A Beacon of Warning

A lighthouse located in Fort Lane and Quay Street that reflects the original shoreline of Tamaki Makaurau. Two public sculptural interventions that can be seen from a pedestrian level. Lighthouse of warning to pākehā, light is projected from the ground to create the beacon. Slipping, reaching, grasping towards reparations. Pedestrians become bathed in white light and fog.

Auckland is founded on colonial crimes that have had very minimal reparations and that continue to cause harm. When Te Rerenga ora iti (meaning the leaping place of few survivors) a pa site, was destroyed to create commercial reclaimed land, significant damage was done to Tangata Whenua. Pākehā placed their values over Māori and oppressed their culture.

I find myself captured by the stories buried in the site of Fort Lane and Quay Street. Te Rerenga ora iti meaning ‘leaping place of few survivors’ was a Māori pa site, something which is culturally significant to Māori as it represents the mana (power) of a tribe and its Rangatira (chief). How can a space benefit a community? Art nouveau and critical regionalism play interesting roles in creating Indigenous friendly spaces that create community. In my studio project, I am trying to connect Pākehā with our ancestors and with Māori. Previously, Te Rerenga ora iti was excavated to make the reclaimed land of Auckland City; it was significantly detrimental to Tangata Whenua. This damage has long been understated and ignored, I intend to create a lighthouse, a beacon of warning to Pākehā to not repeat these mistakes and to learn from the crimes we have committed. This lighthouse will reach, grasp and slip towards where the point once resided tall and proud; at the edge of the point, there will be a second lighthouse, reflecting the structure that was once there. Kaitiakitanga is a Māori value for stewardship and guardianship, especially with the connection to the land.