Rūnaka-designed artwork to grace Stead St shared pathway



Artwork designed and developed by Waihōpai Rūnaka will provide one of the last major components of works on the Stead St Stopbank Upgrade.

Invercargill City Council has upgraded the Stead St and Cobbe Rd stopbanks with a sheet pile wall and earthen embankment to protect the city, the Invercargill Airport and critical infrastructure from extreme weather events, sea level rise and further effects of climate change.   

Work has also taken place along Airport Ave to create a shared pathway that would make a safer and more attractive entrance to the city for visitors.



Invercargill City Council Group Manager Infrastructure Erin Moogan said the next phase of the project was less about roadworks and more about artworks.

Large scale sculpture and design elements would be added to the Stead St shared pathway and the area being redeveloped along Airport Ave, she said.

The artworks were designed and developed with Waihōpai Rūnaka as an integral part of the Project Team and partners to process. 

Waihōpai Rūnaka cultural narrative facilitator Keri Whaitiri said these works celebrate and reflect the beauty, bounty and importance of the Kōreti estuary, particularly as an interface between freshwater tributaries and Te Ara a Kiwa / Foveaux Strait. 


“The ends of the stopbank wall are shaped to imply waka tīwai, everyday vessels that have plied these waters over time.  The sculptural element on Stead Street is a tohu whenua celebrating the māramataka, the seasonal calendar that continues to be an integral part of life in this region.  Another element on Airport Ave plays on a distinctive symbol for ahikaa Murihiku/Southland, greeting visitors and acknowledging residents alike,” Whaitiri said.

Moogan said the artwork and its installation was an important part of the design and eventual full use of the Stead St shared pathway, and will connect Stead St to the Airport Ave work as well as elements in the City Streets Upgrade.



“It is truly exciting and absolutely striking and will, without a doubt, be a focal point for visitors and for our community.”

The work is set to be installed in November, Moogan said.

“The last part of work to be completed is native planting on Airport Ave, which will have to wait until the right weather next year.”

Plants would be sourced from Te Tapu o Tāane, a collective of the four Papatipu Rūnanga o Murihiku, who joined forces to develop a native plant nursery and propagation venture in partnership with Council.



The artworks, Airport Ave shared pathway and plantings mean the project remains under the original $15.5m project budget, she said.  

The Stead St Stopbank Upgrade was a “shovel ready” climate resilience project. It was partially funded by a $10.8m grant from Kānoa – the Regional Economic Development & Investment Unit Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund. This came with clear expectations around mana whenua participation and outcomes. It incorporates a kilometre of sheet pile stopbank, 2km of earthen embankment stopbank, along with 2.5km of shared-use path and associated landscaping.