Sir Howard Morrison Centre

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Name and design announced for Sir Howard Morrison Centre

Representatives from the Morrison whānau and Ngāti Whakaue presented the new name for the centre, the spaces within and the kaupapa behind the window design today.

Officially to be known as the Sir Howard Morrison Centre advisors central to the progression of this kaupapa spoke of the honour of being involved in the process.

Sir Howard Morrison. Image courtesy of the Morrison Whānau

Te Pae Arataki committee member and Te Tatau o Te Arawa representative, Rangitiaria Tibble, expressed thanks to the whānau of Sir Howard Morrison and his iwi, Ngāti Whakaue, in their collaboration to honour Tā Hauata.

“The centre name recognises the important legacy of Sir Howard and it has been our collective aspiration to ensure that his spirit and pūmanawa (natural talents and gifts) permeate through the feel of the building. These have also influenced the artistic works presented by Henriata. With that said, we also have included references to the whenua on which the building stands and wider Te Arawa connections to celebrate the richness of our kāinga and heritage. We are excited to have a place to come together to enjoy the arts and continue its development”, says Rangitiaria Tibble.

Mataia Keepa (Te Arawa, Ngāti Maniapoto), played in integral part in creating the thematic framework for naming spaces within the venue.

“I was humbled to be asked by whānau to contribute through the crafting of words to form names that resonate and honour Sir Howard Morrison”, explains Mataia Keepa.

Originally seeded by Ngāti Whakaue advisors, including Monty Morrison and Kingi Biddle, the space names within the Sir Howard Morrison Centre were all inspired by ‘Hauata’, a play on words for Sir Howard Morrison as his first name was sometimes translated as Hauata. Through distilling the original conceptual framework, Hau was selected as the central theme for the space, drawing upon Tāwhirimātea as the atua of winds and clouds, to connect the terrestrial and celestial in the naming of the respective spaces. Te Hauata also refers to the fresh wind that blows through the land heralding in the new day.

Te Hauāwhio is the front entrance, signifying the coming together of multiple winds. Representative of all people, whānau, hapū, iwi, community, New Zealanders and visitors, coming together to share stories and experiences. Moving into Te Haumihi (the main foyer) where the expression of manaakitanga, and of feeling welcome is essential for all who enter.

Te Hauāwhio, Entrance way of Sir Howard Morrison Centre with glazing design. Artist impression by Henriata Nicholas

Henriata Nicholas was the Ngāti Whakaue artist and designer appointed to weave the cultural blueprint into the design and aesthetics of the build. Her design for the front window glazing will ensure the venue will glow from the inside out. Inspiration came from a particular Ngāti Whakaue puhoro pattern which describes growth, strength, resilience and persistence. Overlayed patterns add texture, and changing gradients will draw the eye upwards to its unique roofline, and references to striving higher and reaching upwards.

Along the lower doors a mirrored pattern forms a mangopare, a well known Te Arawa pattern. As a whole design it describes a beating heart with one half highlighting the human experience, and the second half the spiritual experience. The glazing is expected to be installed in September 2022.

Matangi Rau, the Sir Owen Glenn Theatre, Sir Howard Morrison Centre. Artist impression.

An enduring friendship is behind the choice of name for the theatre inside the Sir Howard Morrison Centre. Entitled Matangi Rau, the Sir Owen Glenn Theatre reflects the bond between Sir Owen Glenn and Sir Howard Morrison. Matangi Rau is reference to the Te Arawa whakataukī (proverb) alluding to local winds and the environment. Within the theatre, Te Hau (main stage) captures the ‘aura’ of Tā Hauata, and Te Ata (the audience) is the reflection of greatness seen emanating from the audience.

The café has been named Kaihaukai reflecting the traditional term for feast, and Te Kapo Hau (outdoor café area) offers you a perfect place to ‘catch your breath’.

The black box theatre (previously known as the Concert Chamber) will be called Te Haumako, representing the fertile mara kumara ground the building is built on, as well the richness in the performances to be seen on its stage.

Other spaces include; Te Whakaruruhau (previously the Banquet Room) for exhibitions and conferences, Te Taupaepae for ticketing, Matatea covers open spaces, Te Papa Huarewa is the name for the mezzanine, Tāwhirirangi (God of Winds) will be the office area, and Tametekapua, leader of the Te Arawa waka, inspired the names for the new studios – Kapua Nui and Kapua Roa.

Councillor Mercia Yates is also a member of the Sir Howard Morrison Centre Project Steering Group and was delighted in the new developments.

“The seed had been planted, but today it was brought to fruition. Now the venue and spaces are named, we can move forward to the opening with purpose and excitement,” says Counsellor Yates.

Published 06 May 2022