Kiwiburn Effigy 2016
- Jaimie Waititi (Artist and Lead)
- Jack Rose (Lead)
Inspirations and meaning
The Story of Mahuika and Maui
As the goddess of fire, Mahuika held fire as separate flames at her fingertips (her 5 children) and Maui was sent to her to retrieve a flame for the fire of his people. As Maui is leaving Mahuika with the flame he accidentally drops it into a puddle and it dies so he returns for another. In his awe of watching it die he purposely throws the second into a nearby lake and once again returns for another, Mahuika is angered but forgiving towards him. But, Maui continues to do so time and time again and Mahuika begins to lose her forgiving nature. As she is on her third to last flame she decides to follow Maui and finds him extinguishing her flames and is enraged. In her anger she sets the forestry around the lake on fire in hope to burn Maui but he transforms into 5 different birds to escape (in order of transformation – Miromiro, Kereru, Ruru, Karearea, Kahu). And so, Mahuika denounced her trust in mankind and hid her flames in 5 trees (Totara, Kaikomako, Mahue, Hinahina and Patate) and Kora stone.
It is said Maui was told in a dream to go south and find land with smoke and he came across Whakaari (White Island). However, to get here he needed to navigate a southward direction and used the stars. The Milky way has been named Te Ika a Maui (Maui`s catch) and the cluster of stars in the middle as Te Waka Tamarereti. With Matariki and Rehua (Scorpio) which are within the cluster of stars, I wish to use the constellations as design aspects for the wings and maybe tail of the bird.
DesignsThe original designs for the artwork were done by hand. Build drawings on the internal structure were then done in SketchUp. The skull was designed on site based around the fallen wood available.
- The spine and legs were made from 150x150mm untreated pine. The ribs were made from 150x25mm untreated pine. The wood was sourced from Machinery and Plant Ltd. <Add finalt cost when available>
- The wings were made from fresh cut bamboo donated from a private property in the Kapiti region. Cladding of the tail and internal structure below the ribs was made from dry bamboo from the same property. Approximately 100m of fresh cut bamboo and 100m of dry bamboo was used.
- The lashing on the wings were made from 8mm natural fibre rope split into 3 78m (234m once split) were used. The rope was sourced from Mitre 10 Marton at $2.60/m.
- The body was covered in new burlap sacking sourced from Trademe and used coffee sacks donated from several Wellington coffee roasters. Approximated 15m of burlap and 50 sacks were used.
- Screws were the main fastener used, sourced from various hardware stores. 100 100mm tech screws and 100 150mm tech screws were used. 1000 45mm screws, 250 50mm screws were used for non-structural parts. A small box of 30mm nails fastened the burlap to the ribs, and a small box of 80mm nails were used to make the head.
Most of the structure was built with the bird "lying down" and the rear leg missing. The structure was then lifted with a crane and the rear leg was attached to stabilse the structure. The cladding was done on the ground with the finishing touches added with scaffolding once the bird was raised.
The wings were assembled using natural fibre rope on the ground then lifted up together and rested into slots in the shoulder of the bird.
The initial lighting plan was to surround the structure with 4 150W halogen lights. Once the structure was finished we were lent LED lights and coloured gels. The low heat output of the LEDs allowed us to put lights inside the structure. and throw coloured light onto the outside. It would be advisable to dedicate more planning time and budget to lighting in future as this had a massive positive effect on the artwork.
Ceremony was based around the legend, largely consisting of 30 mins of fire dancing and breathing <Need to consult Jamie for more information>.
Burn plan effectiveness
The bird was designed to burn outside first revealing a skeleton. The wings should then collapse inward, leaving just the skull and ribcage for 5 to 10 minutes. The structure should then fall so than the burn perimeter can be decreased within 20 - 30 minutes of the burn starting.
Actions taken to furfill burn plan
- The main support post was cut where we wanted it to break from 150x150mm to approximately 50x100mm. During cutting it was reinforced with 2 pieces of 25x150mm to stabilise the structure before the burn.
- Approximately 60 pallets were added to the base of the structure as burn fuel.
- 40 Litres of Petrol Diesel 50/50 mix was added around the structure and pallets in plastic bottles approximate 1.15 litres each.
- To keep the ribcage from burning too quickly plaster of paris was applied to the outside of the ribs. It appeared to work effectively.
The bird burnt away and collapsed as intended and at approximately the correct timing intervals. Unfortunately due to the large number of pallets added to the structure the fire became very large and it was difficult to see the skeleton through the fire at the start. The fire also kept burning very hot for around 10 minutes after the man fell, so the burn perimeter was not able to be lowered until the fire subsided a little. Overall the build team were very happy with the burn plan, with the only minor issue being that there may have been too many pallets added to the structure.