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Wharenui Harikoa

1 December 2023 - 17 March 2024

Open 10am to 5pm daily

Free entry

Ko Wharenui Harikoa he poro whaka hakoko. Ko Uenuku tawhana ki te Rangi. Wharenui Harikoa is a refracting prism of tuupuna-inspired light that shines across the sky like a rainbow.

Over the past eight years, husband and wife duo Lissy Robinson-Cole (Ngaati Hine, Ngaati Kahu) and Rudi Robinson-Cole (Ngaruahine, Te Arawa, Ngaati Paaoa, Waikato ki Tai) have been using their creative energies to explore maatauranga Maaori and their personal whakapapa through crocheted sculptural forms.

Wharenui Harikoa (House of Joy) is Lissy and Rudi’s most ambitious creation to date—a full-scale wharenui (meeting house) featuring vibrant poupou (wall pillars), tekoteko (carved human forms), tukutuku panels (patterned wall panels) and adorned pou tokomanawa (carved centre-post) completely crocheted by hand.

Bringing together bright, neon colours and traditional toi whakairo (Maaori carving) shapes, their mahi offers a new way of understanding the importance of joy and aroha within te ao Maaori. The aim of Wharenui Harikoa is to manifest intergenerational healing and deeply felt joy, one loop at a time, connecting all people and igniting joy globally.

Connecting their community stitch by stitch, Wharenui Harikoa is an ongoing project brought to life by a huge network of helpers—including contributions from international textile artists and a collaboration with Ootautahi Christchurch-based Outlaw Yarn to produce 300kg of custom hot pink yarn.

This exhibition of Wharenui Harikoa aims to explore the pain and loss we have all experienced in life while transporting the audience on a joyful and healing journey.

Tikanga and Etiquette

  • Wharenui Harikoa has a capacity of 30 individuals only at any one time.
  • Before entering, remove your shoes and place in the designated area.
  • You will be welcomed into Wharenui Harikoa by an audio soundtrack which plays at regular intervals.
  • Please refrain from touching the artwork so that it can be preserved for generations to come.
  • Be respectful of school or community groups who have pre-arranged visits.

You can learn more about the artworks by downloading the Wharenui Harikoa app available on all iOS and Android mobile devices.


Wharenui Harikoa - Hine Raumati

5.30pm to 8.30pm, Friday 16 February, Friday 23 February

This after-hours workshop in Wharenui Harikoa will explore waiata (singing and chanting), puoro (sound and music), and movement. Find out more.


Wharenui Harikoa - Audio Described Tour

11am to 1pm, 17 February 2024

Join us for an audio described tour of Wharenui Harikoa for blind and low-vision visitors. Find out more.


Wharenui Harikoa - Relaxed Afternoons

1pm to 5pm

Thursday 14 December, Thursday 11 January, Thursday 8 February, Thursday 14 March

Join us for a relaxed afternoon enjoying Wharenui Harikoa in an accessible low-sensory setting. Find out more.


Wharenui Harikoa - Kooruru Carving with Hollie Tawhiao

1pm to 3.30pm, Saturday 16 March 2024

A hands-on plaster carving workshop with artist Hollie Tawhiao, one of the contributors to Wharenui Harikoa. Find out more.




Developed and toured by Eight Sisters Ltd

With support from our funders, sponsors, and partners