Ex-cyclone Cook caused a lot of damage when it hit the eastern Bay of Plenty in April this year. One of the more unusual casualties was Opotiki’s Christmas lights in the centre of town. So Council has arranged to replace the old lights with a unique piece of Opotiki art – a spectacular light waka by artist Jamie Boynton.
Opotiki’s Deputy Mayor, Lyn Riesterer, was thrilled with the display.
“Our poor old Christmas tree on the corner or Church and Elliot Streets was destroyed by Cook earlier this year. The Eastern Bay Energy Trust have supported us and this display for more than 15 years so it is a sad end of an era for the Tree.
“But the silver lining is that it provides us with an opportunity to replace it with something uniquely Opotiki. Jamie Boynton’s light waka is stunning. We will be very fortunate to have on display a great piece of public art we can all enjoy this Christmas and beyond. Think of it as an eastern Bay Christmas sleigh – no snow required!” Ms Riesterer said.
The Light Waka was commissioned by Wellington’s LUX Light Festival for display on the Wellington waterfront, so it is well designed to deal with outdoor weather conditions. The feature is lit with LED lighting which can be changed to display different cycles for special occasions such as Christmas.
Council is working with the artist to get the lights up in early December to enjoy through the Christmas period.
More information on the artist:
Known for his attention to detail and fine application of tools and technology, Jamie Boynton is widely regarded as one of New Zealand’s leading contemporary Māori artists. Jamie studied in Wellington, at the School of Visual Communications and Design (BDes 1996), and he has received many awards from a career that spans over twenty-five years.
Jamie draws upon his indigenous knowledge as a foundation for creativity and innovation. Of Ngāi Tūhoe and Te Whakatōhea decent (Ngāti Patu ki Waioua), Jamie is currently living with his whānau in Ōpōtiki. He enjoys providing creative direction for advertising and design to a variety of organisations locally and nationally, working as an arts educator, and producing 'iconic' contemporary New Zealand art.