Whale Tale comes to Otara Town Centre

In January 2022, a truly immersive experience celebrating Aotearoa, art, and marine conservation came to Otara Town Centre located right in front of Otara Health Centre. Whale Tales is a public art trail exploring the city of sails, and you’re invited to come along and check it out, learn and share it with the Whānau!

Over 200 whale tail sculptures, each one unique, are installed throughout Auckland by artists, community groups, and school children. They are here to form a lively, free, family-friendly art “migration” around the city for 12 weeks. Trail explorers of all ages and stages will have a blast learning about the tails.

From 24 January to 18 April 2022, a trail of one-of-a-kind and spectacular whale Tail sculptures created by artists and youngsters and funded by businesses and organisations has animated Tamaki Makaurau, bringing to life themes of safeguarding and restoring our Ocean’s mauri. The 80 Big Broos (big Tail sculptures) and 80 Pepi (mini-Tail sculptures) inspired by the Bryde’s Whale dotted Auckland’s streets, parks, and open spaces, providing residents and tourists with a new way to experience the City of Sails.

Whale Tales’ legacy will live on long after the trail concludes, with the sculptures being auctioned to raise considerable cash to support WWF-New Zealand’s critical work protecting our moana (ocean) and marine species throughout Aotearoa, most notably in and around the Hauraki Gulf.

And the adventure does not end there! A virtual trail will allow explorers from all around Aotearoa and the world to join as well. Through art and storytelling, the event is aimed to bring communities together to celebrate their city, their culture, and their connection to the marine environment.

Why a whale?

The WWF Whale Tales sculpture is inspired by the local Bryde’s whale in the Hauraki Gulf and was created exclusively for the 2022 event in Auckland.

Bryde’s Whales are a regular sight in the coastal waters of the Hauraki Gulf/Tikapa Moana/Te Moana-nui—Toi. They have a big smokey grey back, three conspicuous ridges in front of their blowholes, and a uniquely hooked dorsal fin. With an estimated 140–250 individuals living, these rare whales are classified as ‘nationally critical’ and face extinction in our local seas.

Unlike the majority of Bryde’s whale populations, the Hauraki Gulf is one of the few sites on Earth where Bryde’s whales reside year-round.

Baleen whales are an important link in the marine food chain because, despite their size, they graze on some of the tiniest animals in the water. A healthy ecosystem’s foundation is built on an abundance of little marine animals. Thus, the health of our whale populations indicates the health of our marine ecosystems.

Each tail on the WWF Whale Tales path, whether great or little, will have a story to tell. Sharing these stories will help us celebrate our city and communities, our history and traditions, and will help us raise awareness of our priceless marine taonga. Whale Tales will recount the stories of our priceless marine taonga through sculptures overlooking the waterfront that are inspired by the Bryde’s whale’s tail — a sign of a healthy ocean.

Whale Tale in Otara Town Centre Details:

Name – moonbeam

Location -Otara town centre

Created by – Loleni Antonio Selesele

Sponsor – Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Design inspiration:

Inspired by the bright and visceral experience of neon colours in Auckland’s evening lighting, as well as the city’s other celebratory features. This Whale Tail is symbolic of the diversity of culture and celebration in contemporary society.

A combination of Samoan Tatau (Tattoo) patterns and symbols on the front of the Tail to emphasise the fusion of ancient and new traditions, and a splash of vibrant neon colours spilling over and surrounding to visually represent the ongoing flow of pleasure and celebration today, creates a world of Fusion.

Keep an eye on @whaletales2022 for updates on forthcoming theme weeks. Share your experience of visiting and learning about the whale tales with us on our Facebook (@otarabusinessassociation) and Instagram page (@otarabusiness).