Te Wai U O Te Atakura – The Milk From the Breast of Te Atakura, 2017-2018

Te Wai U O Te Atakura –  The Milk From the Breast of Te Atakura, 2017-2018
37A Russell Road, Kensington, Whangārei 0112, New Zealand, New Zealand

Whangarei Quarry Gardens, Whangarei, New Zealand

In 2017 I won a competition to create a sculpture for the fabulous Whangarei Quarry Gardens. My objective was to celebrate the vital importance of fungi. Te Wai U O te Atakura was the result.

The sculpture was named by Te Parawhau hapu kaumatua, Pari Walker, Fred Tito and Johnny Nathan. They blessed the sculpture with a dawn karakia and formally named the sculpture “Te Wai U O Te Atakura – The Milk from the Breast of Te Atakura”. Atakura being the goddess/spiritual entity that is seen just upon the rise of the sun, from the world of the dark and the ancient to the world of the light and the living. Like the birth of a child.

Te Wai U O Te Atakura is the 5th living sculpture in my world-wide “ Vader" series that began in Denmark 20 years ago.


Fungi, the greatest recycler on the planet, is a vital organism for the health of the majority of plants and animals. Fungi consumes organic material, reconstituting it into life-giving humus. With Te Wai U O te Atakura, fungi consumes the pile of wood, causing the boulder to ever so slowly descend to the ground. Depending on the wood, it could take 70 years or more. 

During the summer of 2017-2018, together with my assistant Rata Kapa, we built Te Wai U O te Atakura, in-between talking to hundreds of intrigued visitors, including school children, during their exploration of the gardens.

Ever since then visitors come every day to share time with her in the Dell Garden.


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