Major milestone imminent - Te Ahi Tupua installation



9 September 2020

The final milestones for Te Ahi Tupua (aka ‘Hemo sculpture’) are just around the corner with plans being finalised to relocate the artwork to its home at the southern entrance to Rotorua.

Council, alongside partners Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, Kilwell Fibretube and Te Puia I NZMACI have mapped out the complex operation for installation. The teams are now relying on Mother Nature to provide ideal weather conditions to get the sculpture into place.

The initial part of the installation operation, which involves use of a helicopter to move the artwork, is planned for the next fortnight. The earliest day for transportation is Saturday 12 September. The helicopter operation is strictly weather dependent so while preparation is underway for the earliest opportunity, changes to the forecast could mean transporting Te Ahi Tupua on another day. 

The size and shape of the sculpture means the best method of transportation is via a specialty helicopter. The flight path will take the sculpture in two separate trips from Kilwell Fibretube on Te Ngae Road to Te Puia carpark next to the roundabout.

Once the sculpture reaches Te Puia carpark, a crane will lift the sculpture in its two separate pieces and lower them into the roundabout.

What you need to know:

  • Installation is strictly weather dependent meaning the team won’t know exactly when installation will occur until the morning of.
  • There is a limited window of availability for the specialty helicopter. Saturday 12 September is the earliest date for installation.
  • The helicopter flight plan avoids all residential areas
  • Transportation to Te Puia carpark will take place early in the morning from 6.30am.

The following temporary traffic management and closures will be in place on the day of the helicopter operation from 6.00am – 10.30am:

  • Pedestrian/bike entry to the paths under Hemo roundabout will be closed and will have to use alternative routes.
  • Entry to Te Puia carpak (next to the roundabout) will be closed to pedestrians, bikes and vehicles; the main entrance to Te Puia will remain open.
  • Stop/Go traffic management will be in place at each arm of the SH5/SH30 Hemo Road roundabout. Motorists may experience delays of up to 10 minutes during this time.
  • Stop/Go traffic management will also be in place for short periods of time at Vaughan Road (behind Puketawhero Park), SH30/Te Ngae Road (east of Eastgate Business Park and outside the Rotorua Airport) and Tarawera Road (near intersection with Okareka Loop Road), where the helicopter will cross over public roads. Motorists may experience delays of up to 5 minutes at these locations.

Following installation the team from Kilwell Fibretube will be finishing parts of the construction that can only be done once it is in place within the roundabout. This work is weather dependent but is expected to take about two weeks and the roundabout (and the shared paths underneath) will be open during this time.

Page reviewed: 09 Sep 2020 1:30pm