Wellington Airport unveils new display centrepiece Ngā Tipua Nui (The Great Beings)

28 Jul 2023

Ngā Tipua Nui (The Great Beings) display at Wellington Airport

A spectacular new installation and artwork has been unveiled at Wellington Airport today.

Ngā Tipua Nui (The Great Beings) has been created by Wellington Airport and WellingtonNZ featuring original artwork by Taupuruariki (Ariki) Whakataka Brightwell (Ariki Arts).

It features:

  • Artwork depicting Ngake and Whātaitai, the taniwha who inhabited Te Whanganui-a-Tara in a bespoke installation reflecting Wellington's hills and harbour. 
  • A replica of the iconic Wellington Blown Away sign on top of the hill backdrop.
  • A feature display acknowledging the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup in Aotearoa and the mana of wahine in the realms of Māori. The figures displayed in the center are called Punaturi the maidens of the sea, and accommodating them is the goddess Hinemoana who encapsulates the feminine presence of water the vastness, beauty and power of the sea.

The display will be used as an enduring piece to showcase other events and activities.

Wellington Airport chief executive Matt Clarke says it provides a unique and meaningful welcome to Wellington.

“It’s a spectacular centrepiece for the airport that has a meaningful story and connection to the land beneath it.”

Todd Barberel, Wellington NZ’s General Manager Destination, Marketing and Communications says Ngā Tipua Nui celebrates the impact of wāhine on Wellington.

“It recognises and upholds the strength of our city’s wāhine toa. The installation also enables us to celebrate women at future events and we’re excited to see how this piece will grow over time”.

About the display

Ngake and Whātaitai are the taniwha who inhabited Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington Harbour). These entities are responsible for carving and shaping Wellington’s landscape and the harbour the city surrounds.

Installation of stage design and creation was carried out by Miramar company Wilde Signs.

About the artist

Taupuruariki (Ariki) Whakataka Brightwell is an indigenous artist of Māori, Tahitian and Rarotongan descent. She is a 27th generation artist with a deep passion for creativity, history and storytelling giving a sense of duty to pass on the legacy of art in Te Ao Māori. 

Artist Korero - Ngā Tipua Nui (The Great Beings)
Taupuruariki Whakataka Brightwell (Ariki)