Harbourview's Laundry


This installation was made for the inaugural Harbourview Sculpture Trail in 2012, and consists of screen-printed tea towels on a domestic rotary clothes line.

The clothes line and tea towels reflect Harbourview-Ōrangihinaʻs history as a place of human habitation, both for Māori and later for pioneer families living in both McCormick’s Cottage and the Brick Villa.

The rotary clothes line is a utilitarian object, largely unchanged from the 1950s to the present, which has been imbued with nostalgia and national identity, rendering it an iconic item. Most of the houses built in Te Atatu’s housing boom of the 1950s and 1960s will have had a rotary clothes line, and many may still have their original line.

The tea towels are printed with a series of native flora and fauna which have been identified as ecologically, historically or culturally significant to the area:

  • Swamp Buttercup (Ranunculus urvilleanus – One (possible) specimen found. Rare but not threatened.)
  • Kauri (Agathis australis – Remnants of ancient forest found in clay beds)
  • Pōhutukawa (Metrosiderosis excelsa – Notable specimens from early farm settlement)
  • Fernbird (Mātātā, Bowdleria punctata – Secretive and threatened. Nesting sites identified at Ōrangihina)
  • Bar-tailed Godwit (Kūaka, Limosa lapponica – Regularly migrates 9,575 km from Alaska to the area)
  • Kōkopu (Galaxias fasciatus, Native trout – Recorded in Brick House stream. This is one of the species commonly fished for whitebait)
  • Nursery Web Spider (Tuarahonu, Dolomedes minor – Adults and eggs are food for fernbird)
  • Mud Snail (Tītiko, Amphibola crenata – Shell fragments found in archeological middens, indicating food use from Māori settlement)

My installation was featured as part of the Te Atatu episode of TVNZ’s Neighbourhood series.

  • Satellite Media
  • Producer: Anna Lynch
  • Director: Jeff Szusterman