Storm ruffles giant eagle’s feathers

The giant eagle artwork watching over the Pukerito roundabout at the northern end of the Ara Tūhono – Pūhoi to Warkworth motorway sustained minor damage in high winds as ex-cyclone Lola swept down the North Island at the end of October.

Some of the ‘feathers’ on one wing of the stainless steel Pouākai, or giant extinct eagle, were blown awry during the bad weather.

“It is unfortunate that it appears the cyclone has really caused some havoc,” Nathan Hull, the metal sculptor who created the artwork, told the paper. “Thankfully it looks to be an easy remedy, access logistics aside, and we’ve been in touch with project management to facilitate this.”

Maintenance of the Ara Tūhono – Pūhoi to Warkworth motorway is overseen by the Northern Express Group (NX2), the contractor responsible for designing, constructing, and maintaining the motorway under the public-private partnership arrangement with Waka Kotahi.

“We are aware of what appears to be some weather damage to Pouākai (the eagle) which is part of Reipae, on Pukerito,” NX2 CEO Vicente Valencia said.

“We have had a number of storms and wind events since Reipae was installed, including in recent weeks,” he said. “Our team will work with Waka Kotahi and our partners Hōkai Nuku and their artist to consider the impacts and any repairs that may be needed.”

Hōkai Nuku is an alliance of mana whenua in the motorway project area.

Nathan’s eagle perches alongside a carved four-metre pou whenua (territorial boundary marker), entitled Reipae, a tribute to the Tainui ancestor who according to tradition travelled with her sister on the back of a large bird from Waikato to Whangārei, resting en route in the area later known as the Dome Valley.

The two elements were unveiled shortly before the motorway was opened in June.