Joe Citizen

The Matariki Interactive Waka Project

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Kia ora!

The Matariki Interactive Waka Project is a multi-disciplinary project that aims to create an interactive waka sculpture that will sit beside the Waikato River at Hamilton's Ferrybank Park and draw the people of the city back to the river. 

It's a community project first and foremost, with Wintec students in the areas of Trades, Engineering, Media Arts and Early Childhood Education acting as co-creators of the sculpture. We also have several Wintec staff members and independent researchers on board who are all working hard towards a final goal that benefits the people of Hamilton and visitors to this beautiful place. We are also working in partnership with Wintec's Maori Achievement Office who are advising on tikanga, matauranga and whenua consultation.

The Matariki Interactive Waka Project is by us, for us.

So, who is Joe Citizen?

I'm a tutor at Wintec, I'm a PhD student, but most importantly I'm a local Hamilton artist with an interest in connecting technology with Mātauranga Māori and the environment, and exploring interactive elements in art though sound and lighting. The design for the waka is provided by me as part of my PhD.

Want to know more about the sculpture?

The sculpture itself will be 6-metres tall and constructed from corten plate steel. The interactive components are in two parts: motion sensors on the waka that will trigger taonga puoro, or light, and an LED panel that will display animated designs that relate to the 7 different Matariki stars.

How can you come on board the Waka Project?

Pun fully intended. We have a design, we have prototypes, we have an industry partner to mentor the students and we have a massive team of people involved. We also recently obtained Council approval for the site by unanimous decision, which is huge! What we need now is the steel to start creating the final sculpture, which we will be unveiling during next year's Matariki celebrations. We've worked for several months on this project and are in the final stages, but now we need you!

So here's how you can help - we're asking you to please donate and share this campaign with your friends, family and networks. We're so grateful for all the support we have received so far but we still can't get there without you. Every little bit helps, and if we can create enough buzz around the sculpture we'll be able to thank you personally at the official launch next year!

You can follow the development of the project on Facebook, using the link below.


This project is supported by



  • Update #1 and a Heartfelt Thank You


    Hi everyone,

    Things have been busy but pretty smooth lately - we've had great conversations with Longveld about where the build might take place, Andy Fendall has been playing around with different animations for the LED panel and Civil Engineering students from Wintec have visited the site to do an assessment. We're gearing up for the build to start, but we still need help.

    Thank you to everyone who has given loyalty and support to this project, whether it was financially or by telling others about it. Buzz is great for a project this big! Unfortunately we still need help with the cost of steel.

    We're now 6 days away from this campaign ending and we still have a way to go before we reach our $7,500 target. It's going to be hard, but we can definitely make it happen if you share this campaign around your friends, family, professional networks and social media networks. We're also going to be showing some of Joe's old work on social media so follow us on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtags #MIWP and #BYUSFORUS to have a look at what he's capable of! It's some pretty amazing stuff. 

    On that note, we've had reports about some issues with the Facebook link - it should be working if you're pre-logged in on Facebook but give us a shout if you still can't get through!

    Thanks again everyone, we're looking forward to seeing you at the official launch of the sculpture!