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'Te Tiaho O Matariki' is a sculptural manifestation of the Pleiades in the form of a growing vine. The strong, winding tendril is also a visual reminder of the importance of the nearby Waikato River. The stars of the Matariki appear as the fruit on this extraordinary plant. The sculpture is a sign of growth, unity and continuity.
Garden Place was first used by Maori as a garden and an observatory. In particular it was a lookout for the rising of the constellation known variously as Pleiades, to Europeans, Matariki, to Maori, and Subaru, to the Japanese. A wide range of cultures observe and acknowledge this cluster of stars in their culture and art. The oldest datable record of the star system is on a bronze disk found in Germany dating back 3,600 years.
The motivations for observing Matariki are both spiritual and practical. Its arrival announces the New Year and marks the Winter Solstice, and it indicates when to plant kumara. It is this practical aspect that gives Garden Place its current name.
Sculptor: Neil Miller