Thursday 1 September 2011
This morning I was privileged to attend the dawn blessing ceremony of the Gallery and the unveiling of three commissioned artworks by Māori artists which form a permanent part of the building. We assembled across the road from the Gallery and moved onto the forecourt, where three intricately carved works by Arnold Manaaki Wilson were revealed after months spent hidden from the public eye.
Following the elders from Ngati Whatua who were leading the event, we walked through the doors and upstairs into some of the Gallery spaces, passing through some of the beautiful threshhold installations by Lonnie Hutchinson which divide the galleries from the public spaces in the building on every floor.
The procession continued outside to the ceremonial entrance of the Gallery where a karakia was performed over Fred Graham's sculpture Te Waka Toi o Tāmaki:
Next we filed back inside to the atrium where a powhiri took place. Many beautiful and inspiring words were spoken in recognition of the artists' hard work and vision and the duty of the Gallery as a place to store tāonga - and some laughs shared too.
The event was captured on film as well - here's a short video of the experience: