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Temporary Exhibition - 
Illuminating Forgotten Cultural Histories through Spatial Design

Beneath the Surface |  I Raro i Te Whenua 

Beneath the surface of Auckland domain, a network of roots exists. The roots below have grown simultaneously with the world above which reflects the idea that there exist two nodes of power within the space, present and past.
The foundation of the present wouldn’t stand without the deeply entwined history of the site. The roots beneath are an organ that predates us, much like the complex and difficult histories that are embedded within the land. The Wintergardens, built from imperialist and colonial views, pose as a facade severing the connection between the rich cultural history of the Auckland Domain.

Situated behind the winter gardens is a sacred Totara tree planted by Te Puea Herangi the great-granddaughter of the first Maori king,  Potatau Te Wherowhero. This hidden memorial, overshadowed by the grandeur of the glasshouse, holds deep historical significance. Potatau Te Wherowhero was crowned as the first Maori king in June 1858. He played a crucial role in the unity of Maori tribes in New Zealand and held great importance in preserving Maori culture and sovereignty. 

The exhibition invites you to transcend the surface and immerse yourself in the world beneath, designed to evoke the sensation of being amongst a network of roots. Placed throughout the space are red watering cans, symbolising the act of nurturing and nourishing cultural roots, enabling them to grow and flourish. Each watering can represents an indigenous story, figure or historical event. Visitors have the ability to interact with the watering cans, read the stories and collect water from the pond to water the earth and the surrounding foliage, an act of recognition. The physical notion of acknowledging history. Upon entering the tropical glasshouse, you are met by a tall standing red tree that pays tribute to the hidden Totara. A loud, unmissable memorial in comparison to the veiled existing one. 

The temporary exhibition event intends to engage a diverse audience, including locals, tourists and history enthusiasts through carefully crafted atmospheric qualities, interactive components, storytelling, installation, and communal spaces. Beneath the surface is a project that unearths the environment and

Physical Model 

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