Aotea Project of Things – Week 6

[In Progress]


Aotea Project of Things – Week 5

[In Progress]


This week we discussed and evolved our ideas for the pathways and centerpiece further. We have begun leaning away from the focus on the Taniwha, as it could and has been a sensitive and controversial topic (for example).


  • Start should have signage/explanation
  • Paths based on Hauora/wellbeing pillars – Physical, Mental/Emotional, Social, Spiritual
  • Example ideas for the paths:
    • Physical – block puzzle
    • Mental – memory/feeling totem
    • Social –¬†something to do with Tech Deck toys? (related to skaters and Mountain Fountain)
    • Spiritual – hidden pictures
  • Each pathway would have three or four activities, and would lead towards the center and the taniwha seesaw
  • Pathways
  • Seesaw prototype progress
  • Some discussion about safety
  • Swappable art, other images
  • Thematic shift from taniwha to past-vs-present – controversy?

Design Goals

  1. Appreciate the ‘spirit’ of Aotea Square
  2. History/education
  3. Aesthetically pleasing – tourists


Aotea Project of Things – Week 4

Aotea-Taniwha See-Saw

Our current front-runner idea is a physical installation in the middle of Aotea square. Resembling a see saw with large aquarium tanks balanced on either side, it would hold water that would obscure the contents of the tanks, and would be able to flow between the tanks via a pipe along the see saw. One side would have a model or image of Aotea Square, while the other would have a model of a taniwha – representing the Waihorotiu taniwha whose stream was buried under Queen Street. The two sides would be slightly unbalanced, so that when left alone the taniwha side would sink lower and fill with water, becoming hidden. People would be able to move the see saw by pushing or pulling on either side, hiding the Square and revealing the taniwha.

Some potential problems and possible actions or solutions I have identified with this idea are:

  • Weight/Size of tanks
    • If the tanks are too large, heavy or full of water, it would make it difficult to move the mechanism.
      • Depending on if we want smaller children handling it – see safety – we would have to test the size/fullness/weight ratio to make sure the intended users are capable of moving it.
  • Safety of public
    • If the see saw moves too fast – either through a person’s interaction or the resetting motion – it would be dangerous to people moving around it, especially small children.
      • We could put a fence around the installation – close enough that people would be able to interact with it, but wide enough that they would not be able to walk under it.
      • The mechanism itself could have some sort of brake or retarder to prevent it from moving quickly enough to cause damage.
  • Damage to installation
    • There is always a chance of people intentionally or unintentionally damaging a public installation that they are allowed to touch or interact with.
      • Our group has considered having guards, possibly who double as attendants or facilitators?
    • With the motion of the see saw and water, it is possible that the mechanism, the tanks or the models could be damaged, particularly if the motion is unhindered (fast).
      • Similar to above, slowing the movement of the mechanism would help prevent damage.
  • Lack of interaction
    • People may not want to touch the installation or not know how it works – in particular if it is hard or heavy to move it may discourage people.
      • Adding handles may be a way to indicate to people that it is not just a strange piece of art – the installation can and should be moved.


We decided to make a simple prototype of the see saw with the connected tanks of water out of materials we had access to during class.

The prototype mainly gave us a better idea of what we were trying to visualize, while also allowing us to see some of the design concerns that we may have to consider while continuing our project, such as the shape and relative size of the components, the need for air holes to release pressure and the positioning of the parts relative to each other for optimal function.

The rest of the Square

We also discussed some ideas for the rest of the square. We have decided to add interactive elements to the main pathways leading towards the main part of the square – the concrete part where we will have the main installation – that will act as guides and draw people towards the center. These will also have information regarding the history of the area, and give context to the centerpiece. I have begun researching possible puzzles and riddles that we could have in this area. We have considered making the puzzles fit a theme, such as ‘water’. Some of our brainstorms so far include:

  • The traditional water jug puzzle
  • A puzzle where multiple people have to cover holes in a pipe that is being filled with water, so that a desired item (e.g. a key) will float to the top as it fills (the holes will allow the water to leak otherwise)
  • Something like¬†this puzzle
  • Some sort of bridge building puzzle


Aotea Project of Things – Week 3

First Presentation

Our first presentation went fairly well, from my perspective. Our timing was a bit off, forcing most of us to have to go overtime and rush, but other than that it ran fairly smoothly. I think that the research – mainly done by Katriel – gave us a good amount of depth, despite the fact that we had not yet decided on a project at that point.

I chose to take the slide about lighting and temporary fixtures, mostly for the latter point. While my team had written most of the script beforehand, I felt it was missing a few things, such as mentioning the annual events that occur in the square – the original script mentioned the ice skating rink, but not that it returns yearly, and included none of the other events like Summer in the Square.

Having learned about the supposed failure of the Game of Thrones #bringdowntheking campaign, I decided to try and research it, but I found nothing to support the claims that it failed – actually, there are news reports and videos of the statue falling, showing that the event was successful. I am now wondering if the ‘failure’ that was mentioned was a temporary setback?


After the presentations, we discussed several ideas for what we could work on. My personal favourite is the AR mystery game, which was brought up again and seems quite popular. I think it could be very interesting to combine it with the history of the area and specifically the Waihorotiu stream and taniwha. I think I would like to learn more about augmented reality, and explore its potential as a medium for play.