National | Hamilton

Native orchids feature of new street art mural inspired by ancient waka Te Winika

Native Winikā orchards (Dendrobium cunninghamii).  Photo / Kotare (Wikimedia Commons)

Painting of a new street art mural inspired by the ancient waka Te Winika will start on Monday in Hamilton. Local iwi selected the design by Waikato-based street artist Gemma Yiannoutsos (aka Gembol) for the new public artwork.

The mural will feature fragments of orchid blooms floating along the Waikato River.  The design is named Tēnā Kōrua after the small native orchids that grow among the branches of the tōtara tree.

Photo / Supplied

"The concept explores the connections with tātou tūpuna (our ancestors) and the knowledge passed down through the generations. It shows fragments of orchid blooms floating along the river as the past connects with the future and is inspired by the story of Te Winika, an ancient waka with a long and fraught history," Hamilton District Council said in a statement.

"Once dismantled, partially buried and left to deteriorate, Te Winika has now been restored and laid to rest at Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato, overlooking the Waikato River on which it once travelled."

The mural will be painted on a 90-metre-long retaining wall on Grantham Street, just south of Victoria Bridge in Hamilton.

Waikato-based artist Gemma Yiannoutsos.  Source:  Gembol / Facebook

Yiannoutsos, who Te Ao has approached for comment about the new artwork, has painted a number of street art murals throughout the country, including artworks in Palmerston North and Taupō.