In order to capture the magic and gravitas of Matariki this year, Viaduct Harbour called on a team of creative collaborators to reinterpret the iconic star cluster via an immersive, on-water experience of light and sound. The result is IWA, a contemplative work conceived by Creative Director Tuhirangi Blair (Ngāti Whātua, Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Awa) with Pōneke-based Music Producer Riki Pirihi (Ngāti Wai, Patuharakeke, Ngāti Māhanga Hourua) with installation by Artist Angus Muir.
Able to be viewed by the public from Viaduct Harbour’s Te Mata Topaki (the waterfront pier structure at 117 Customs Street West), IWA comprises nine illuminated buoys that float on the water in the formation of the Matariki stars and comes to life in a captivating audio-visual performance at 6pm and 8pm every evening until Sunday the 23rd of July. Here, Pirihi has used synths, glockenspiel and feedback loops to cultivate a unique soundtrack that will play through the Te Mata Topaki speakers in time with a colourful light show across the bobbing buoys.
“Thinking about the kaupapa of Matariki, with it being a time of reflecting forwards and backwards, our connection to the taiao (environment), and honouring our loved ones who have passed,” Pirihi explains, “my thoughts have been towards making music that feels like it has come from beneath the water and is sitting above it gently, as to not disturb the environment too much.” As such, IWA offers a visually impactful but sonically gentle experience that feels deeply aligned with the inherent meaning of Matariki — a time to stop, reflect and reconnect with friends and family.
This idea is echoed by Blair, who underlines that the purpose of IWA was not only to offer a moment of stillness in the chaos of the city but also, to provide “a moment to reflect, remember, and prepare for the upcoming year.” He continues, “Whether you’re looking for a peaceful moment to yourself or a chance to connect with others, this installation is an excellent opportunity to do so.”
On now until Sunday the 23rd of July, IWA is offering an unmissable chance to actually stop and consider the importance of Matariki this year and what it means to you. (Not to mention the chance to experience an exceptional creative concept in action.)