Major public artwork now in production for Rolleston

SCAPE Public Art is delighted to announce that fundraising is complete for the planned public sculpture in Rolleston Town Centre.

Toro Atua, by Ngāi Tahu artist and Arts Foundation Te Tumu Toi Laureate Dr Areta Wilkinson, is now being fabricated.

It will be the largest public artwork in Rolleston.

Toro Atua will be installed in Rolleston Town Centre’s newly developed reserve, surrounded by Te Ara Ātea, the sensory garden, and youth recreation space.

Toro Atua will be officially opened at a public celebration on 6 July.

SCAPE Public Art project consultant Deborah McCormick thanked all the local businesses and individuals who have contributed to the project, which has a design life of at least 50 years, saying “you are creating a legacy of ambition, inspiration and beauty for future generations.”

Toro Atua is set to become a taonga for the community and an iconic landmark for Rolleston’s rapidly-growing centre. It was commissioned through a competitive selection process by a panel comprising the Rolleston Residents’ Association, Selwyn District Council, SCAPE Public Art, and Ngāi Te Ruahikihiki ki Taumutu. The Rolleston Residents’ Association committed $220,000 towards the total project budget of $450,000. The residents’ association contribution came from historic council funds associated with the Rolleston area. The council delegated the authority to the Rolleston Residents’ Association for decision-making for a public art project for the new Rolleston Town Centre.

It was then up to SCAPE Public Art to secure the remaining funds. Contributions to the total value of $230,000 have now been received from: Creative New Zealand & Tawera Studios, CORDE, ENI Engineering, the Rolleston family, Rātā Foundation, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, Ngāi Te Ruahikihiki ki Taumutu, Cooper Developments, Hughes Construction, Isaac Group, IPort Business Park, and TM Consultants. “Everyone involved in the project is excited to see the finished work live in the landscape for decades to come,” says Ms McCormick.

Selwyn District Mayor, Sam Broughton thanked all those involved in the project. He says this public art complements the other work in the town centre and the vision to create a welcoming place for families of all ages to enjoy. “Toro Atua will not only enhance our public spaces but also celebrates the unique stories and heritage of Waikirikiri Selwyn.”

Dr Wilkinson’s distinctive and meaningful new artwork, Toro Atua, takes inspiration from ancestral rock art of Te Waipounamu. The work comprises 20 light-reflecting stainless-steel figures, mounted on tall, slender poles to vibrate with life, shimmering slightly in the air far above our heads. The tallest of these poles will be 4 metres high. The 20 figures will be arranged in groups throughout the reserve, leading people through the landscape and indicating areas of importance.

Fabrication is being done by Christchurch firm, ENI Engineering.

Image: Areta Wilkinson, Toro Atua, 2023, new public artwork for Rolleston Town Centre, artist impression (render detail day). Image by Georgina Stokes.

Jon Jeet’s He Toki Maitai gets permanent home

A monumental-size steel toki has a new home in New Brighton, Christchurch.

SCAPE Public Art commissioned artist Jon Jeet to create the piece in 2022. It was on temporary display at Te Matatiki Toi Ora The Arts Centre.

The artwork, He Toki Maitai 2022, now has a permanent home next to the Roy Stokes Community Hall, Seaview Road. Jeet lives in North New Brighton, just a short walk away.

The toki is located inside the boundary of the old New Brighton School. For Jeet, “it’s a full circle” since he had his art studio at the old school for several years after the Canterbury earthquakes. “It takes me back to building relations with Renew New Brighton and the many, many artists who were there.”

The Executive Director of SCAPE Public Art, Richard Aindow says it’s exciting to bring “Jon’s wonderful work” to New Brighton. “SCAPE’s vision is to bring permanent artworks to life in communities across the whole city. It’s immensely satisfying to install a piece where the artist lives and works.”

A team effort

SCAPE Public Art projects rely on goodwill and in-kind support from Christchurch businesses, along with private donations and community grants. Jon Jeet particularly wants to thank Leigh Mason, Director of Coombes Sheet Metal and Fabrication, for assistance in the initial construction. Naylor Love, Grant MacKinnon of DGM Group, Lewis Bradford, Christchurch NZ, the Christchurch City Council Public Art Advisory Group, and a number of individual supporters, helped make it possible to move the artwork and install it permanently in New Brighton.

What is this artwork about?

A toki is usually translated as ‘adze’ in English. Traditionally, Māori shaped and used toki made from pounamu or stone for a number of purposes, from gardening to rakau whakairo (wood carving). They could also be carried ceremonially as a symbol of power and authority.

In 2022, Jamie Hanton, then Managing Curator at SCAPE Public Art, approached Jon Jeet to create an artwork in response to the theme Sweat Equity, where different artists explored the effect of capital and labour on bodies.

Jeet is of Ngāti Maniapoto and Fijian Indian heritage. As a young man he spent a great deal of time working with his hands and labouring manually, coming from a family where money was tight and “higher education and critical thinking were luxuries.”

The use of a digging tool references Jeet’s Indian ancestors who were brought to Fiji as indentured labourers. In that sense, too, the artwork’s permanent location is particularly fitting because the old school, which was closed after the quakes, is in the process of being re-developed as housing. “The earthquakes happened and I wanted to make a work that talked about we’re ploughing into the soil again.”

As well as its traditional function, the pounamu toki form is worn as adornment. Jeet has established a career as an outstanding sculptor and carver, having made thousands of toki; he continues to engage in a form of manual labour.

He Toki Maitai can be translated as beautiful toki or foreign/steel toki. Both translations speak to the different traditions of craft that have travelled to Ōtautahi across oceans along with their chosen materials, or else have adapted to new resources and technologies.

We’re Going on an Art Hunt

This school holidays, try our free Family Art Adventure, and go in the draw for great prizes.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Pick up a treasure map from Tūranga (Hapori/Level 1) or the Tiny Toy Shop at The Arts Centre (upstairs above Frances Nation), or download one from here and print it out.
  2. Follow the red line to find each artwork. Scoot, walk, bike, skate, or get a piggy back …
  3. When you get to each artwork, answer the question on the back of the map.
  4. Put your name and details on your map and drop it back. There’s a lollipop treat available at the Tiny Toy Shop.

Winners will be drawn on 29 February 2024. If you win, we will contact you.

First Prize = $200 voucher from the Tiny Toy Shop

Runners-up = 2x $50 vouchers from The Drawing Room

We hope you have fun exploring free-to-view public art as a family.

We’d love to see your photos: tag us @scapepublicart.

Good luck!

Walk the red line for art

Four kilometres of red fabric tape is being laid on footpaths in central Ōtautahi Christchurch, to guide people around the 2023 Season of SCAPE Public Art.

Six new temporary artworks will be in place by the end of Thursday 23 November on sites along the Ōtākaro Avon River, Te Matatiki Toi Ora The Arts Centre, and Christchurch Casino.

In its 25th anniversary year, SCAPE Public Art has chosen to support work by New Zealand artists who have never produced public art before. “It is a privilege to provide opportunities for these exciting artists and bring free-to-view public art to the people of Christchurch,” says SCAPE Executive Director Richard Aindow.

Works by artists Priscilla Rose Howe, Susu Tzu-Cheng, Te Ara Minhinnick, Tūī Matira Ranapiri-Ransfield, Maioha Kara, and Synthia Bahati are being released for the Season opening, all responding to the theme ‘The Gift,’ set by Managing Curator Tyson Campbell. Artists Ming Ranginui and Denise Porter-Howland will have their works released as additional gifts to Ōtautahi in the New Year.

Aindow says that SCAPE’s Season enables artists to create work that is often more ambitious than they could produce on their own and enables the public to engage with fresh ideas and innovative production methods.

Two murals and three sculptures by competition-winning, school students supported by SCAPE will be installed at Te Matatiki Toi Ora The Arts Centre in time for the public opening at midday on Saturday (25 November).

SCAPE’s public art trail is marked by a red line on central city footpaths. Fold-out maps are available from Tūranga, The Arts Centre, and some cafés and galleries. A simple ‘Family Art Adventure’ challenge will also launch on Saturday, with a Grand Prize of a $200 voucher from the Tiny Toy Shop at The Arts Centre.

The season officially runs from 25 November 2023 to 17 February 2024.

SCAPE Public Art has been installing free-to-view public art in Ōtautahi Christchurch for 25 years. It is the largest producer of public art in Aotearoa New Zealand. SCAPE is a charitable trust, which operates thanks to numerous partnerships with industry and the generosity of patrons and sponsors, many of whom help in production of the artworks. The Platinum Sponsors of Season 2023 are: Christchurch City Council, Creative NZ, Rātā Foundation, and The Lion Foundation

New SCAPE Managing Curator bringing an inspiring new season of public art to Ōtautahi

New SCAPE Managing Curator bringing an inspiring new season of public art to Ōtautahi.

The artists for SCAPE Public Art Season 2023 have been announced, and the line-up promises to deliver a dynamic, youthful season of temporary artworks in central Ōtautahi  Christchurch.

SCAPE Public Art has confirmed the new season dates for 2023, a 12-week festival of free-to-view public art running from 25 November 2023 to 17 February 2024. The SCAPE season is a highlight in the cultural calendar in Ōtautahi, comprising eight new temporary artworks that will serve as the perfect incentive for residents and visitors to head out and explore their city this summer.

Season 2023 is the first in Tyson Campbell’s three-year tenure as SCAPE’s new Managing Curator. Campbell hand-picked each of the eight season artists for their unique interpretations of the season theme, The Gift.

Read the full media release here, Word doc or PDF.

Season 2023 artists from top left: Ming Ranginui, Te Ara Minhinnick, Synthia Bahati, Susu, Tūi Matira Ranapiri-Ransfield, Denise Porter-Howland, Priscilla Rose Howe, Maioha Kara

Re:ACTIVATE – Calling Aspiring Artists

SCAPE Public Art is inviting aspiring artists aged 18 and under to submit their ideas for an artwork to be produced for a public space during SCAPE season 2023, 25 November 2023 – 17 February 2024.

Re:ACTIVATE Aspiring Artists is designed to nurture, grow and promote the creative arts by mentoring and giving opportunities to talented young artists. It is an annual competition and exhibition open to youth aged between 5 and 18 in Canterbury. Participating students will respond to a brief and submit designs for the chance to have their artworks produced for public display.


Re:ACTIVATE 2022 artworks installed from left: Oli Aikawa, Wheelbarrow Of A Bag Of Rocks 2022; Liana Martin, The Tree Of Work 2022; Secret Ainsworth-Mason, Focus 2022; and Adele Sherborne, Ccino & Ash 2022


This is an opportunity for young artists to explore the creative process and come up with a design for an artwork that shows their unique perspective on the theme. There are two categories open for entry this year: Re:ACTIVATE Sculpture and Re:ACTIVATE Mural. Re:ACTIVATE Sculpture is a competition for individual students to develop an idea for sculptural artworks, which the winners will get to create under the guidance of SCAPE Public Art’s expert industry partners. Re:ACTIVATE Mural supported by Resene is a competition for groups of between four to eight students, who will work together alongside a local mural artist to create a design for a mural that will be displayed on billboards in Te Matatiki Toi Ora, The Arts Centre.


Next Steps 

Read through the brief and start exploring design concepts based on the theme.

The theme of this year’s SCAPE Public Art Season is The Gift.

When we think of gifts, we often think of things: physical presents, given from one hand to another to signify a special occasion or to honour a relationship.

But do all gifts have to be objects? Can they be gestures such as kind words of encouragement, sharing or doing something nice for a friend? Experiences? Stories? What do you think are the small gifts you might give and receive in your everyday life? Can you give someone the gift of time?

In tikanga Māori, koha is a gift, present, offering, contribution or donation. Koha reflects the mana of both the giver and receiver. It’s all about reciprocity: giving something to later receive something in return, building and supporting relationships.

Through your artwork you could investigate the different values a gift can have. A gift may have financial value or offer a sense of importance. A gift of a hand-drawn picture or family heirloom gets its value from the strength of the relationship between giver and receiver. Perhaps the value of a gift is measured in comparison to what others received. How would you feel if you received more or less than someone else?

Ko maru kai atu, ko matu kai mai, ka ngohengohe.
Give as well as take, and all is well.

In exploring ideas for your artwork, you could reflect on this whakataukī. If you gift something to someone, do you expect something in return? Is gratitude part of the unwritten rules of gift-giving? How might you react if you gave someone a gift and they didn’t thank you for it? Or if you received a gift you didn’t want? What about anonymous donations, in which the giver receives no gratitude or acknowledgement? Might the act of giving alone make you feel good without any expectation to receive something in return?

Your artwork could also consider a memorable gift you have given or received. Was it a material object or an experience? Why was the gift chosen? What story does it tell about the relationship between the giver and receiver?

You might choose to think about whether a public artwork could be considered a gift to a place or community. What could your artwork gift to its audience?



Sarah Ackerley is the Education and Community Engagement Manager at SCAPE Public Art. With a background in Fine Arts and education, she will be sharing her expertise with schools and students. Sarah is available for outreach visits to your school to discuss the themes and work on design concepts with students. To book a session email




Bookings will be open soon for the upcoming SCAPE education programme, 10 October – 1 December 2023. This year’s programme includes art-making activities inspired by some of our legacy works as well as sessions working with our community-engaged artist, Priscilla Rose Howe. Keep an eye on your inbox for more information! This popular education programme is a unique opportunity for students to learn more about the SCAPE season artworks and take part in creative educational workshops.

Entries for Re:ACTIVATE Aspiring Artists open on 18 July and close on 30 August. Click here to learn how to submit your design.

New Christchurch public artwork reflects on Antarctic exploration

Render of Brett Graham's Erratic

Auckland-based artist Brett Graham (Ngāti Koroki Kahukura, Tainui) spent several months hard at work in a tent in Henderson with his friend Steve Woodward, grinding and chipping away at a nine-tonne piece of Norwegian Arctic White granite for his new sculpture, Erratic. Commissioned by Christchurch City Council and produced in association with SCAPE Public Art, the artwork is being installed along the Ōtakaro Avon River, opposite the statue of Robert Falcon Scott.

This new sculpture speaks to the journey of another Antarctic explorer, Roald Amundsen, whose skill and use of indigenous expertise in reaching the South Pole were largely ignored by the British press in favour of Scott. It takes the form of a large, horizontal, rounded piece of granite, imported from Amundsen’s homeland of Norway. The 99 mounds on its surface, unfurling in a spiral from the centre, reference the number of days that Amundsen and his men took to journey to the South Pole and back. The design of the mounds also draws from indigenous calendars and the Inuit tradition of building stone mounds to mark territories.

Indigenous peoples and issues are a strong guiding force through Graham’s art. Through his Māori whakapapa, he feels affiliated with a global network of non-Western people, and his work consciously engages with indigenous issues and how they are affected by the history of imperialism.

“I am intrigued by how history chooses to memorialise events and historical figures, while forgetting others,” Graham says. “Amundsen was the actual ‘victor’ in the ‘race’ to the South Pole, but because he wasn’t British, he was overlooked, even vilified. His genius in using the techniques he learned from Inuit communities on how to survive the extreme cold was seen as unsporting.”

“We welcome Brett Graham’s quietly monumental work Erratic to the city’s growing public art collection,” says Public Advisory Group Chair Anthony Wright. “With its glacial and Antarctic connections it speaks to the natural and human forces that have shaped Te Waipounamu and adds to the city’s Antarctic gateway narrative.”

Erratic is a sculpture that ruminates on the very nature of memorials, and how only select elements of history are seen as worth memorialising. The title of the artwork takes inspiration from glacial erratics: rocks that have been carried vast distances by glaciers and deposited somewhere far from their point of origin. It is also a play on words for the way the British Empire, including the Commonwealth, have chosen to remember history.

“We are delighted to be the producers of another permanent public artwork for Ōtautahi,” says SCAPE Public Art Executive Director Deborah McCormick. “Brett’s work has such an incredible story to tell and carries such weight both culturally and artistically. Erratic will make a fabulous addition to our city’s legacy artwork collection.”

Erratic is being unveiled on 11 March.

This artwork is made possible thanks to the support of Naylor Love, Cosgroves, Treetech, Beca, Ōtākaro Limited, Anderson Lloyd and Christchurch City Council.

SCAPE Public Art Announces Executive Director’s Resignation

SCAPE Public Art announced today its Executive Director, Deborah McCormick, has resigned from her role of Executive Director effective 31 March 2023 after her highly successful 25 years at the helm.

SCAPE will be recruiting for a Creative Director to join the team before Deborah’s departure. Deborah will work with her successor to transition SCAPE Public Art into a new era for its next 25 years.

SCAPE is in the best shape in terms of arts and business ready to launch the new platform and the future. Deborah will leave SCAPE in a very strong position for future growth and sustainability.

“It has been a tremendous privilege to have served in this role and deliver so much creative inspiration for my home city Christchurch and New Zealand. I believe that this is the right point in my career to take on new challenges,” Deborah said.

“Next year will celebrate 25 years of SCAPE Public Art and acknowledging Deborah’s role in overseeing the installation of an amazing portfolio of both permanent and temporary public art,” said Michael Fulton, Chair of SCAPE Public Art Trust. “She has provided outstanding leadership through difficult and challenging times such as the Christchurch earthquakes and Covid. Deborah has been a key figure in the first 25 years of SCAPE, and the board wish her well with her future career, knowing she will remain a strong supporter of SCAPE and our next 25 years.”

Next week’s launch of SCAPE Public Art Season 2022 brings works from eight local and international artists to the city. Each artist’s work will showcase their unique interpretation of this year’s theme, Sweat Equity, a compelling conclusion to Managing Curator Jamie Hanton’s overall vision of Fictions, which has tied together SCAPE Public Art’s seasons from 2020-2022.

Eight new public artworks to open in central Ōtautahi

SCAPE Public Art Season 2022 Sweat Equity opens on Saturday 5 November, bringing artworks from eight local and international artists to Ōtautahi for the public to enjoy until 29 January 2023. This free annual event is a highlight of Christchurch’s cultural calendar, inviting its residents and visitors to soak in the sun, wander the city and discover the delights of inspiring, intriguing and sometimes-surprising works of public art this summer.

The opening weekend on Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 November is packed with special events to kick off the season. Hye Rim Lee’s new animation artwork, White Rose, will be on display on the large outdoor event screen at Te Pae for the opening weekend only.

Hye Rim’s animation and limited edition digital photographic prints will also be on display for a limited time at SCAPE Public Art’s new pop-up gallery in The Arts Centre Old Registry Building, along with the season artworks from YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES. These innovative digital artworks are available to view between 11am and 3pm, Wednesday to Saturday, until Friday 16 December.

The first of Managing Curator Jamie Hanton’s free guided walking tours is on Saturday 5 November, where participants will get background information on the artworks and artists, as well as an inside perspective on the production process and Jamie’s vision for the season. The walk starts at The Piano and takes approximately 1.5 hours. Bookings required.

Also on Saturday, SCAPE Public Art celebrates the launch of artworks from the talented young winners of this year’s Re:ACTIVATE Aspiring Artists competition. The winning students have worked with SCAPE and its industry partners to produce their designs for public display in Hagley Park, and on Saturday, SCAPE and the junior and senior winners of the Re:ACTIVATE Sculpture category will be on site to celebrate the completion and installation of their works. The competition has been extended this year to include a mural category thanks to generous support from Resene. The two winning mural designs will be on display from Saturday 19 November.

Click here to download the full media release (PDF)

Click here to download the full media release (MS Word)

People’s Choice Award

Winners announced for Re:ACTIVATE Aspiring Artists 2022

After receiving more than 150 entries to this year’s competition, the winners for Re:ACTIVATE Sculpture and Re:ACTIVATE Mural have been selected.

Re:ACTIVATE Aspiring Artists is an annual competition open to youth aged between 5 and 18 in Canterbury. Entrants this year were asked to respond to the SCAPE Public Art Season 2022 theme of Sweat Equity, considering the sub-themes of labour and the body, virtuality, and obsolescence. There was an incredibly high level of creativity and sophisticated ideas displayed across all the submissions, and SCAPE Public Art is delighted to announce the winners for 2022.

Along with its industry partners, SCAPE Public Art mentors the winning artists to produce their designs for public display in Hagley Park. All Re:ACTIVATE artworks will be available to view for the duration of SCAPE Public Art Season 2022. Concepts from the shortlisted Re:ACTIVATE submissions will be on display at Tūranga Central Library throughout the season.

Click here to download the full media release (PDF)
Click here to download the full media release (MS Word)

Have you joined the Klub?

Have you joined the Klub?

The SCAPE Art Klub is our dedicated space for how you can become part of SCAPE events and fundraising programmes: where you can be the first to hear about what we have going on throughout the year. This is also the place to see features on our amazing participating artists and purchase their works directly through our website.

The mission of the Klub is to be a go-to resource for our fundraising events and art sales. It is a gathering space for art lovers and artists alike and aims to support the artists featured in SCAPE’s Seasons and online store.

SCAPE Art Klub features artist profiles, works for sale, studio tours, art experiences and VIP events. Followers get the earliest word on what events are coming up throughout the year and works that are available to purchase. Proceeds from these events go to our artists and SCAPE’s free public art and education programmes.

Follow the Klub to expand your art knowledge and be part of a passionate and supportive art community!
Or to browse our selection of artworks for sale, visit SCAPE Art Shop!