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Auckland Council

The Lighthouse

Tū Whenua-a-Kura

Artist: Michael Parekōwhai, 2017

Location: Queens Wharf

Materials: wood, steel, stainless steel, ceramic, copper, resin, aluminium, glass, paint and electrical components

Sponsor: gifted to the people of Auckland by Barfoot & Thompson Limited to commemorate 90 years in business in 2013

The Lighthouse is an artwork by Michael Pārekowhai. Its exterior is in the form of a 1:1 scale 1950s family home and its interior features an installation of light as well as a sculpture of Captain Cook, titled The English Channel. It is surrounded by a wooden jetty that 'floats' on Queens Wharf. The public can explore the work by looking in its windows, through its door and by climbing the staircase.

The Lighthouse is the house that holds the whole universe. The interior finish is highly reflective and features clusters of neon lights that represent the star constellations and illuminate up towards the ceiling. The coloured light implies the notion of ahi kā; that home fires are burning and the house is warm with people.

The presence of The English Channel, sitting among the stars, grounds the work. This version of Captain Cook is not the heroic figure that we often see; instead he's more pensive and thoughtful. He faces toward the fire, as if he's warming his feet, but his gaze and mind are elsewhere.

The Lighthouse can be viewed from Queens Wharf or from the sea on the Waiheke or Devonport ferries. The artwork is part of our public art collection, and was funded by Barfoot & Thompson and anonymous donors.