Earth energy wins gold for design

NIHO TANIWHA: A pouwhenua designed to tell the story of tsunami as a potential risk for Turanganui a Kiwi-Poverty Bay people has won former Uawa-Tolaga Bay woman Harmony Repia gold in the Nga Aho, and student public good categories at the 2018 Best Design Awards. Picture supplied

“How might we tell the story of tsunami as a potential risk?” was the question designer Harmony Repia posed as a starting point for a site-specific project for Turanganui a Kiwa-Poverty Bay.

The pouwhenua Repia co-designed with people in the community recently won two golds at Best Design Awards.

Repia envisioned her concept for the pouwhenua, Niho Taniwha: Communicating Tsunami risk, as a means of sparking conversations about responding to tsunami.

“In Turanganui a Kiwa we often have warnings about tsunami. We engaged with the community in Turanganui a Kiwa then we built our own pouwhenua to communicate what tsunsami risk looks like in Turanganui a Kiwa.”

With the Hikurangi Subduction Zone comparatively close to the coastline, Turanganui a Kiwa-Poverty Bay residents would have only about 15-20 minutes to put emergency plans into action if the trench should subside, says Repia.

“We should have plans of what to do if we have a tsunami.”

In a workshop held at the Captain Cook Lodge, participants shared stories of the 2007 earthquake and brainstormed perceptions of tsunami risk in this region. “An element of complacency”, read one post-it note stuck to a window. “’We will be alright.’”

“Everything is there but not all in one place,” said another, presumably of a get-thru kit.

The final iteration of the design Repia completed for her Masters in Design project was a pouwhenua constructed from acrylic, wood and LED lights.

Three components make up the structure. The bottom plate at the foot of the pou represents Papatuanuku (the earth and mother of all things).

“When someone stands on the plate they trigger lights in the installation. Papatuanuku is a reflection of the subduction. That earthquake sends the energy upwards.”

The first section atop the plate is Ruamoko, god of earthquakes, volcanoes and season, denoted by vertical red lines, while the wavy lines in the blue component represent Tangaroa, god of the sea.

When the LEDs are triggered by pressure on the plate beneath the viewer’s feet, the light transitions upwards.

“This is to try to tell the story of what we need to do to respond to earthquakes or tsunami.”

“How might we tell the story of tsunami as a potential risk?” was the question designer Harmony Repia posed as a starting point for a site-specific project for Turanganui a Kiwa-Poverty Bay.

The pouwhenua Repia co-designed with people in the community recently won two golds at Best Design Awards.

Repia envisioned her concept for the pouwhenua, Niho Taniwha: Communicating Tsunami risk, as a means of sparking conversations about responding to tsunami.

“In Turanganui a Kiwa we often have warnings about tsunami. We engaged with the community in Turanganui a Kiwa then we built our own pouwhenua to communicate what tsunsami risk looks like in Turanganui a Kiwa.”

With the Hikurangi Subduction Zone comparatively close to the coastline, Turanganui a Kiwa-Poverty Bay residents would have only about 15-20 minutes to put emergency plans into action if the trench should subside, says Repia.

“We should have plans of what to do if we have a tsunami.”

In a workshop held at the Captain Cook Lodge, participants shared stories of the 2007 earthquake and brainstormed perceptions of tsunami risk in this region. “An element of complacency”, read one post-it note stuck to a window. “’We will be alright.’”

“Everything is there but not all in one place,” said another, presumably of a get-thru kit.

The final iteration of the design Repia completed for her Masters in Design project was a pouwhenua constructed from acrylic, wood and LED lights.

Three components make up the structure. The bottom plate at the foot of the pou represents Papatuanuku (the earth and mother of all things).

“When someone stands on the plate they trigger lights in the installation. Papatuanuku is a reflection of the subduction. That earthquake sends the energy upwards.”

The first section atop the plate is Ruamoko, god of earthquakes, volcanoes and season, denoted by vertical red lines, while the wavy lines in the blue component represent Tangaroa, god of the sea.

When the LEDs are triggered by pressure on the plate beneath the viewer’s feet, the light transitions upwards.

“This is to try to tell the story of what we need to do to respond to earthquakes or tsunami.”

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