Christchurch’s new convention centre to debut new Lonnie Hutchinson artwork

Te Pae Christchurch is getting some special embellishments added to its foyer ahead of its opening later this year with the addition of new artwork by Lonnie Hutchinson.

The artwork, titled Hana, is made up of three koru-shaped, chandelier-like installations constructed out of 11,000 glass and acrylic beads with a combined weight of just over one tonne.

“Hana means to illuminate or brighten,” Hutchinson said.

“The work has been inspired by the Ngāi Tahu creation story and the concept of Ahikā or keeping the home fires burning. These illuminated yellow and red beads will combine to draw people into Te Pae Christchurch and help them feel welcome.

“Each koru is made up of 109 individual strands, some as long as four metres, so it has taken an army to thread them onto the wires. I’m so grateful to volunteers from the Christchurch Art Gallery who were able to lend a hand and a critical eye to the project.”

Hana was designed in consultation with Matapopore to integrate into its specific foyer location in Te Pae. The artwork has been assembled at Christchurch’s Prometal Industries.

Te Pae Christchurch director John East said the biggest challenge was ensuring the patterns aligned.

Hana will be just as visible to people walking along the city promenade as it is inside Te Pae, so it has to be spot on,” he said.

“We’ve spent countless hours selecting the perfect spacers and used turnbuckles to ensure everything is even. It’s going to be pretty impressive.”

Te Pae was scheduled to host its first gig in October, but the latest COVID-19 disruption has prevented many of the specialists necessary to complete the facility from travelling down from the North Island.

Ōtākaro Limited CEO John Bridgman said that while it is not currently possible to provide an opening date, he expects the centre will be able to host meetings and banquets before Christmas, but big conferences and exhibitions are unlikely to go ahead this year.