Ta Moko studio and Maori Arts Gallery

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Public Works

E-mail Print PDF
Article Index
Public Works
Case Study 1
Case Study 2
All Pages

Public WorksJames Webster has produced a large number of works which are on public display for us all to enjoy. These fantastic pieces are scattered throughout New Zealand, some standing out against the landscape - others blending nonchalantly into their surroundings...

Auckland MotorwayAuckland's motorways are adorned with the welcome and familiarity of specifically Pacific designs. James designed these huge concrete panels which neatly interlink to form a spectacular belt in the modern calamity of New Zealand's largest city.

Recently James completed a piece for Aberdeen School in Hamilton, the inspiration for this composition was inspired by the school’s logo.  The artwork’s triangular appearance derives from the logo shape. View this artwork now.

If you have a project in mind, would like to discuss ideas for erecting or creating a public artwork or would like to consult with James regarding Māori art specifically, please use the contact page.

aberdeen_01 aberdeen_01
aberdeen_02 aberdeen_02
aberdeen_03 aberdeen_03
auckland_motorway_01 auckland_motorway_01
auckland_motorway_02 auckland_motorway_02
auckland_motorway_03 auckland_motorway_03
dinsdale_library_01 dinsdale_library_01
dinsdale_library_02 dinsdale_library_02
dinsdale_library_03 dinsdale_library_03
dinsdale_library_04 dinsdale_library_04


Aberdeen School, Aberdeen Rd, Dinsdale, Hamilton

Feature Artwork project 2009

The inspiration for this composition has been inspired by the school’s logo.  The artwork’s triangular appearance derives from the logo shape.

The kōhatu (stone) is likened to a mauri (life force) stone which is also synonymous with single stones and standing stone formations found throughout the world.

The three levels of timber construction represents growth from childhood to adulthood.  They also represent the family unit of child, mother and father as well as children, parents and grandparents.

The carvings applied will reflect Māori and celtic carving styles that represent our bicultural foundations, with other carving styles applied reflecting our multicultural evolution.

Height from ground to tip at highest point is 3m.


Aberdeen School - Hamilton


Concept Design for Dinsdale Library

Concept and design drawings for the embellishment of the Dinsdale Library. The overall theme for this installation is based on the acquisition of knowledge.  The library is a place that contains information, information is knowledge for those who seek it.
Dinsdale Library - Hamilton
Following is a breakdown of the components and the means of the composition.

Description of design forms:-

Wall elevation window detail:

  • Base kōwhaiwhai pattern below window
    This design is a collaboration of a basic koru motif I know as ‘Tuakana, teina’. It references support systems and nurturing. This kōwhaiwhai represents the whenua (local area) and the succession of  the people that occupy it.
  • Poutama
    The poutama or ‘steps’ pattern has religious and educational connotations.  The steps relate to levels of attainment and advancement. The poutama, in the context of this installation, is about the pursuit of understanding and knowledge through education and perseverance.
  • Pātikitiki
    The design itself which is based on the flounder, indicates favourable harvests and abundant food, good weather and favourable times.
  • The Four Rohe (districts)
    Ngati Raukawa
    Ngati Maniapoto
  • Materials
    These panels will be fitted into the continual vertical window spaces.

Coloured panels will be made from coloured perspex allowing light to penetrate through.

Ceiling detail:

  • Pātikitiki kōwhaiwhai pattern / Rangi and Papa
    This pātikitiki kōwhaiwhai pattern (refer to above description) is also known to me as Rangi and Papa.  The two main continuous manawa lines are Rangi and Papa and all the other koru shoots branching off them are all their children (ngā atua).
    The Rangi and Papa pattern, in the context of this installation, is the Tāhuhu (back bone) or Manawa (heart line) to this composition.  This signifies our origins, our lines of descent, our connections.
  • Nihotaniwhā
    Literally the ‘nihotaniwha’ means ‘the teeth of the dragon’.  This is a symbol for the fabulous or the fairytale symbol.  It is usually placed next to someone endowed with fabulous characteristics.  It is also the sign of the chronologer or historian.  In some instances it represents the chief of a tribe and hospitality. It also represents family houses within the tribe.
    The nihotaniwha pattern in the context of this installation represents whakapapa (genealogy) and whanaungatanga (family= whanau, hapu and iwi).  These are our lines of descent, our family houses, our tribal groupings, our history, our cultures and our stories.
  • Materials
    Custom board, acrylic paint and timber.

Side wall elevation detail:

  • Poutama
    Refer to above description of Poutama.
  • Materials
    Custom board, acrylic paint and timber.

Wakahuia Mobile Installation:

  • Wakahuia
    Wakahuia were used to contain prized possessions and articles of adornment, including the prized tail feathers of the huia bird, which gave rise to the name ‘wakahuia’.  The boxes could be suspended from the house rafters by means of cords. The wakahuia, in the context of this installation, symbolises the containment of  knowledge- something to be prized and valued.
  • Materials
    Wakahuia to be made of 18mm custom board.
    Boards are to be layered with gaps in between.
    To be stained either red or black.
    To be hung from the ceiling with plaited rope (taura)
    To be adorned with feather arrangements.
    One possible idea is to have a light suspended on the inside of the wakahuia.

*  Notes have been taken from the korero of Pene Taiapa, Paki Harrison and Buddy Mikaere.



Check out our selected videos that we've uploaded to YouTube. We have digitised a whole bunch of old VHS and uploaded them to share with the online community. We hope you enjoy them! www.youtube.com/TahaaNZ