Tauranga Eastern Link’s 130m long pa sculpture takes shape


A 130m long pa sculpture, set to become one of the largest public artworks on display in New Zealand, is taking shape alongside the Tauranga Eastern Link (TEL).

The huge stylised pa sculpture is one of two artworks entitled Bound Around, being installed alongside the Tauranga Eastern Link Toll Road, ahead of the road’s official opening later this year. 

The palisade pa is being built near the Domain Road interchange, while an eight-metre high spinifex will be installed near the Tara Road roundabout next month.

Created by renowned New Zealand artist Regan Gentry, Bound Around is funded by the NZ Transport Agency through the TEL project and the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, with in kind support from Tauranga City Council.

Mr Gentry began preparing the pa  in February and expects to be finished installing it in the early May, when he will begin work on the spinifex.

The pa is made from roadside safety guard rails, and wood repurposed from Tauranga’s Coronation Pier, while the spinifex is made from street lights.

“Motorists travelling between Te Puke and Tauranga will have noticed the pa taking shape over the past week or so,” Mr Gentry says.

“We have been working long days to get it up and despite a few battles from the wet weather we are almost finished.

“It has been a blast to create and I am really exciting about the whole project. It is really exciting to do something on this scale; it’s a bit of a boys dream for me and it is looking great.”

The Transport Agency's senior project manager Wayne Troughton says the public artworks will help create a sense of place.

“These sculptures will help make the TEL a road to remember for travellers,” he says.

“The pa sculpture refers to the historic pa sites in the Papamoa Hills and the spinifex references the beach and the wind-blown coastal plant that is a feature of the Papamoa beachscape, which runs parallel to the TEL.”

“The sculptures will join other artworks and urban design elements already in place along the TEL , that identify key locations, such as the waharoa which overlooks the Paengaroa roundabout, or the panels on the Domain Road interchange that reflect the historic flax trade. 

“There are many special places dotted along the TEL and the Transport Agency felt it was important to capture these and help the community tell the local stories.”

The cost of the sculpture project is approximately $200,000 including design, build and installation. The large scale works are designed to be viewed from a moving vehicle.

To find out more about the Tauranga Eastern Link and its progress visit the project website(external link)