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The Rosebank project begins with the premise that through a better knowledge of place, communities grow and that culture is the mechanism by which this occurs. The project is centered in the industrial precinct and suburban area of Rosebank Rd in Auckland, New Zealand, built over an estuarine peninsula of significant ecological worth and geological interest; the site of the oldest market gardens in Auckland. In the western reaches of the upper Waitemata Harbour, Rosebank Peninsula has the Whau river on its western side, Pollen Island and Motu Manawa Marine Reserve at the northern end and Avondale Racecourse and Jockey Club at its southern end. There is a Primary, Intermediate and High School on or near Rosebank Rd and it has a business district with over 400 companies involved in service industries and light manufacturing from industrial ceramics, German Sour Dough Bread and kayaks.


Twenty five designers, artists or art collectives will explore, research and make; working with key community groups, developing a response to what they find, in the place, at the place. The practitioners are; Kerryn McMurdo, Darryl Torckler, Brit Bunkley, Nina Patel/Rohan Bush, Lonnie Hutchinson, The Everyday Collective, Waikare Komene/Martin Leung-wai, Craig Hilton, Nick Spratt, Matthew Bradbury/Grace Warne, John Pusateri, F4 Collective/William Bardebes, Rachael Allan, Kathy Waghorn, Dr Julieanna Preston, Fiona Jack/Salome Tanuvasa, Janet Lilo, Haru Sameshima, William Hsu, David Austin and Pedro Ilgenfritz.

The project will culminate in a walking event over one weekend 23-24th March. NB – There are free passenger vans (courtesy of UNITEC) circuiting continuously from the Avondale Train Station every 20 minutes approximately. Maps of the route detailing all the projects will be available, on site and in the vans as well as a downloadable PDF from March 11th.  From anywhere on the route, visitors  can meander through the industrial area and along the edge of the estuary. The public will find site specific, community based projects from a multidisciplinary group of artists, designers and performers.

An exhibition of texts, artifacts, photographs and moving image documentation will be simulataneously held at Unitec’s Snowhite Gallery, linked to concomitant web content opening March 16th at 5.00pm. A public symposium on the relationship between art, enterprise and community will be run at Te Noho Kotahitanga Marae at Unitec in conjunction with the event, from 9.00 – 5.00, March 16th.

The Avondale school communities, the Avondale Community Gardeners, the Rosebank Business Association, the Motu Manawa Marine Reserve Restoration Group, the Whau River Catchment Trust and the Avondale-Waterview Historical Society Inc will be collaboratively involved in the venture, through the various artists projects. Each artist/designer will respond in their own way to the rich social, historical and environmental narratives unique to the area.

Here are some of the projects;

Brit Bunkley  – Cyber Arachnid Habitat. A techno-arachnid installation inside a shipping container placed on Rosebank Rd. Digital scans made from a freeze dried Avondale spider from Auckland Museum are made into 3D rapid prototype prints to occupy the space inside.

Nina Patel, Kathy Waghorn, Rohan Bush  – Flotilla Whau – A flotilla on the Whau with the West End Rowing Club, underscoring the river as a place of movement, transport history and recreation. A series of symbolic signals map out the long gone sites of production and acknowledge the shifting of materials, people and economies.

Dr Julieanna Preston – Moving Stuff: A two-day performative public installation, which explores the relationship between the ecological culture of the Whau River estuary and the economy culture of the industrial precinct along Rosebank Road. Come witness and participate in the material exchange.

F4 (Williams/Jowsey) and William Bardebes – Penny a Pound – An interactive, animated installation recalling Rosebank’s horticultural history, the Dominion and the domestic science of our forebears.

F4 (Williams/Jowsey) – Rose-topia – An interactive animation which imagines a utopian Rosebank Peninsula from the perspective of some young people.

Kerryn McMurdo – Site-specific dances and performances, choreographed and created in collaboration with eight performers from the ‘Seekers Dance Collective’. Performers occupy areas in and around Rosebank Rd and audience may follow them accordingly.

William Hsu and Nick SprattBy the time it arrives it might have already been forgotten – A project that begins as you get on to the shuttle bus at Avondale train station, and will end six months later. During the walk, as you look to the skyline above the Whau, or if you look across the motorway towards Pollen Island, you might see kuaka flying past, preparing for their flight north. Beginning a journey that is thought to be the longest non-stop flight of any bird, they will spend the winter in China, Korea or western Alaska, returning to these shores in September.

Haru Sameshima – Rosebank Momento – In collaboration with Photoforum, an offering of published photographs contrasting the Motu Manawa Reserve, the River Whau and the business district of Rosebank Rd.

Dr Craig Hilton – How did we get to Jomac Place? – Road signs remind us of how we got here, the pole representing time. From the Big Bang, the formation of the first atoms, molecules through to volcanic earth, the recent advent of DNA and biology, all the way to the ridiculously recent advent of humans, Kiwifruit, horse racing and cabbages.

Pedro Ilgenfritz – Rosebank Intervention – Four actors/characters from LAB Theatre, interact with the audience in various points of the art walk.  Meet these roving types as they connect with the environment, history and stories of the Rosebank Road area.

John Pusateri – Original Decay – Collaborating with a pressman from Croxley’s, mass production print technology produces individually unique art works, depicting aspects of Rosebank. Flaw after flaw progressively changes the image through the print run to create a body of work looking at change, alteration, deterioration and evolution.

Waikare Komene/Martin Leung-Wai – The Garden of Avondale  – Collaborative sculpture and Garden to Table project with students from the Rosebank School and Avondale College, culminating in a community celebration.

Darryl Torckler – Mud Work – photographic installation featuring two 360 degree panoramic prints of the Motu Manawa Marine Reserve (Pollen Island). Showing the under-water and the above-water landscape at full tide (split level image) and the other a night time panorama of the same scene with the tide out.

The Everyday Collective – Paul Woodruffe, Ilse Marie Erl, Faye Norman, Raewyn Graham.

The Everyday Collective – Cabbages, Horses and Science; Rosebank narratives  – A documentary made using amateur Super 8 movie footage, digital film and still photography of iconic Rosebank places and people.

The Everyday Collective – The Planner, a steel waterfront sculpture of a figure that reflects on the decisions made in the 1950’s that changed the peninsular into what we see today. (Kurt Bremer coastal walkway).

The Everyday Collective – The Kumara gardens; printed images depicting the seasonal cycle of the traditional Maori Kumara gardening as would have occurred in pre-European times (posted all along Rosebank Rd).

The Everyday Collective – Seeding the Cloud – Everyday Collective artists lead special guided walks exploring the public and industrial environment of Rosebank Road, gathering interesting detritus to fashion into wearable jewellery. Onsite workshops will facilitate the necessary techniques and fastening materials to make pieces you can keep and treasure, reflecting the peninsula and creating awareness of issues of sustainability and social responsibility within our environment.

Matthew Bradbury/Grace Warne  – A berm-side, tactile landscape installation dealing with the potential for ecological mediation of industry and its impact.

Rachael Allan – The Purfex Story – The trailer from this full length documentary celebrating NZ’s only mannequin design and manufacturing company, situated for 20 years on the Rosebank Peninsula. Here is a link a concurrent exhibition about Purfex at Lopdell House Gallery in New Lynn 

Lonnie Hutchinson – ‘Kei te aroha au i koe’ – Te Reo Maori becomes a physical pouwhenua or tohu in neon.  ‘Kei te aroha au i koe’ (I love you) inspires the values the mauri and wairua in ourselves (nga tangata) and of the peninsula – (te whenua). A huge aroha mai to all the conservation work, gardening groups, and industry on Rosebank who are working together to preserve these values.

Kathy Waghorn – The Fluid City Roaming Laboratory – A collaborative, participatory laboratory roaming Rosebank Rd, with scientists and experts in microbiology, geography, planning, education, dance and architecture from The University of Auckland.