In 2009 I was invited to participate in the Pou Whenua project by the director of Wanaka’s Festival of Colour. It involved four New Zealand artists who were asked to respond to a historical introduction to the Lake Wanaka environment by local iwi.

The other artists were: Simon Kaan, Michel Tuffery, and Areta Wilkinson.

We all had very diverse creative approaches. Since I live in Wanaka I chose to respond to the origins of the name which in Maori means place of learning. I decided to learn something new.

In my research I learned of nature’s preferred construction method which is to use compression and tension to make the strongest forms with the least material. Buckminster Fuller and others named this system tensegrity.  My sculpture, which began as a semi circle reflected in the lake, used these principles. The final completed circle was installed on the lake front during the arts festival and now hangs in the Lake Wanaka Centre.

Martin Hill

Martin working on Synergy using raupo stems and tensegrity.