17 Feb 2014
Kumutoto Stream: imagine Woodward Street, long before cement took over the Terrace...
From mid-February to mid-March 2014 during Fringe 2014, a soundscape of water and native birdlife will fill the Woodward Street pedestrian tunnel, imagining the area in its natural state before development, to evoke the experience of walking along the former Kumutoto Stream.
The experience of hearing the sounds of nature in a bunker-like tunnel will awaken passers-by to the area’s history, the contrast between then and now, and the danger of how our built environments can rob us of our own vitality.
Anyone touring through town would immediately notice that the Terrace lacks the vibe and creativity characteristic of Wellington City. It's a straight corridor of glass, steel, and concrete. Thousands of workers commute here everyday, accessing Terrace offices through cement mazes, stairways and passageways ... including the Woodward Street pedestrian tunnel.
Of course the Terrace was not always a concrete landscape. In the early days of settlement, Kumutoto Stream ran down the banks of what is now Clifton Terrace car park and Woodward Street. Where the Terrace meets Woodward Street stood Kumutoto Pa.
While the Pa, its Kainga, and clues the area's early settlement history are gone or buried; Kumutoto Stream is still there. Unknown to the many workers that walk its path everyday, Kumutoto Stream still flows through pipes, directly under the pedestrian tunnel, and down through the CBD to Kumutoto Wharf.
The environment of the Terrace has many disconnects in play – its physical separation from the rest of the CBD, its disconnect from its former natural state, and its disconnect form its rich Maori history. Added to this are the disconnects typical of office workers everywhere who spend a great deal of their lives in concrete boxes - away from the nurturing of family and community, and where sun, trees, water, and the sounds of nature are a world away.
The presence of Kumutoto Stream–buried and still flowing–is a reminder of the layers of disconnect that we live with everyday, and the danger of how accepting these disconnects as normal, over time, rob us of our own vitality.
Kumutoto Stream is made possible through the support of the Wellington City Council's Public Art Fund and Creative New Zealand. The artwork's official opening will be a hui whakawātea (gathering to unveil or “free” the artwork) on Monday 17 February at 10am. Details will be added to the project website, www.kpodaudio.com.
For more information please contact:
Mob: 022 369 2326