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Jim Wheeler: Pohutukawa Rata Descending


280 Queen Street, Auckland CBD

Pohutukawa Rata Descending is a sculpture by Jim Wheeler located at 280 Queen Street in Auckland.

Suspended overhead inside the atrium at 280 Queen Street, Pohutukawa Rata Descending is a cast aluminium sculpture finished with automotive lacquer.

The leaves/stem/flowers are enlarged measuring 2.5 metres across. The mid-air installation commemorates the vanished natural environment.

Pohutukawa/Rata Descending recalls the time before Auckland was built; when Queen Street was a stream bed. On the bush clad hillside, trees would have overhung this stream and a ‘falling’ Pohutukawa/Rata flower would have been a commonplace sight.

Pohutukawa and Rata trees are true, living Icons of New Zealand and this sculpture celebrates our summer’s most brilliant seasonal display.

Rata, Southern Rata and Pohutukawa are very closely related, grow throughout and therefore represent the entire country. They have been revered since the first Maori arrivals as Rakau Rangatira or Chiefly Trees which are Taonga (Sacred Treasure) to iwi in Aotearoa.

Originating in New Zealand these ancient trees have dispersed all over the Pacific spreading wider afield than possibly any other tree on the planet.

This sculpture was commissioned by Property Ventures Ltd, Christchurch.

Free public access from Queen St.

Sculptor Jim Wheeler immigrated to New Zealand in 1981. Exhibiting for 30 years his work is held in The British Museum, London; The Weatherspoon Art Museum, USA; The Auckland Museum; The James Wallace Trust and at Zealandia, Mahurangi.

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