Te Ahi Tupua - Frequently Asked Questions
What is Council's financial contribution to Te Ahi Tupua?
In 2019 elected members agreed to increase the financial contribution to Te Ahi Tupua from $270,000 to $388,000 with project partners and Red Stag Timber, Rotorua Civic Arts Trust, Rotorua Trust, Infinity Foundation and Lion Foundation contributing funds to the project.
Is the sculpture safe? Will it be able to withstand the elements?
Te Ahi Tupua has been constructed to specific certifications that are required for an Importance Level 2 structure. This means the sculpture needed to be able to withstand 175km winds (i.e. a grade 5 hurricane). During construction, Kilwell Fibretube worked with Scion Rotorua to test the strength of the sculpture and ensure it met the engineering certifications and PS1 certification. Since installation Te Ahi Tupua has been further tested and inspected by structural engineers and technical experts - their reports can be found on the Te Ahi Tupua webpage. Gurit Structural Engineers concluded in their report that Te Ahi Tupua exceeds design loads by 620%.
What benefit does public art/the sculpture bring to the region?
Public art can be successfully integrated into the design of highway corridors and deliver many benefits. Public art helps to create a sense of arrival and can be a memorable event along a journey. It often tells an important story which bolster's local community identify and sense of pride. Te Ahi Tupua integrates Rotorua's rich Māori heritage, identity, and values into the design and celebrates the uniqueness of the region.
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Urban Design Guidelines
According to Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency's Urban Design Guidelines for roundabouts, landmark features (large scale public art, feature lightings etc.) can help wayfinding and enhance local identity. The guidelines also acknowledge that the central island is primarily a visual element. It should be designed to create a distinctive visual effect and require minimal maintenance. Within the guidelines it is stated that public art can be successfully integrated in the design of highway corridors to deliver a number of benefits including:
- creating a sense of arrival
- bolstering a community's identity and sense of pride
- helping integrate infrastructure elements into the wider environment
- integrating cultural heritage and values at the city's gateway
How tall is the sculpture?
12m at the highest point.
Is Te Ahi Tupua the tallest/biggest 3D sculpture in the world?
From our research, we have not found another sculpture that matches the size, shape and complexity of Te Ahi Tupua.
Why is Te Ahi Tupua covered in carbon fibre?
Using carbon fibre and fibreglass meant the structure would be lightweight and very strong. It also allowed the manufacturers to achieve the curved shape.
What sort of maintenance is involved?
Ongoing maintenance is expected to be minimal. It will require cleaning which can be achieved using a water blaster and a cherry picker. Every 8 years or so it will require a coat of the clear UV protection product which helps to protect the colour of the sculpture. Rotorua Lakes Council will be responsible for ongoing maintenance and monitoring of the sculpture.
How long will the sculpture last?
Te Ahi Tupua is designed to last 50 plus years.
What does Te Ahi Tupua mean?
Te Ahi Tupua means The Eternal Fire - representing the divine that burns within all of us.