Maungauika, Devonport, this weekend.

Cars can no longer park at the top of the maunga some know as Mt Victoria and others as Takarunga. It’s one of three in Devonport. The one alongside is only a vestige, quarried away and made into roads. Next to that is Maungauika, 50,000 years old, where this weekend, something special happens.

Takarunga, without cars, has a tranquility it never had before. There’s something about coming up in the car that makes it perfunctory and disconnected. A short drive, park, look around, maybe take down the window, maybe a can or two, play some sounds, have  a smoke, roll back down again. 

Linger in the quiet, and it’s a different experience.  You cannot stand in such a place without being strongly conscious of all that has come before.  People stay longer, talk quietly, take in the beauty and scale of it all.

You can still park on Maungauika, but not this weekend. This weekend, artists have come together to mount a sound and light and audio visual event, Atarau. It’s an invitation to come, look out over the city and the water and this place so many have made their home, and see and hear the work of artists about their feelings and connection to this special place.

“In te ao Maori when you recite your pepeha to introduce yourself” says organiser Paris Kirby, “the very first thing you say is your maunga.” Understanding your relationship with nature and this environment, can be part of who you are. 

The idea of Atarau is to invite people to see something  familiar through new eyes, to consider what more it could be, what the future might be, to perhaps form some kind of more conscious connection, to maybe adopt this maunga as part of their identity.

The idea is to put you, the visitor, at the centre of the work, rather than being a passive observer. As you move through it, you’ll be drawn in and engaged and informed. 

The northern battery tunnel network will be a sound light and performance art experience. The three levels around the tunnel network will all be activated as well. You can wander around, take a seat and stay in one spot for a while and just take it all in. 

There’ll be a sound bath, performance art, contemporary Maori and Pacifica performance, visual arts and sculpture, demonstrations of maori carving, workshops.

It’s been a collaboration, a co-creation, involving local artists, creatives and thought leaders,  arts collectives, and the Tupuna Maunga Authority. It gives expression to the feelings so many have for this special place. It offers their thoughts about what it could be, restored to its fullest beauty and potency.