Guy Ngan: Wainuiomata Shopping Mall, 1972

Artist: Guy Ngan
Title: Untitled
Medium: Acrylic
Dimensions: 1.3m³ (4ft cube)
Date: 1972
Original location: Wainuiomata Shopping Mall, 18 The Strand, Wainuiomata, Te Awakairangi Lower Hutt
Architect: Stephenson & Turner
Current location: Missing
Heritage status: None known

Having already mastered a range of paint, wood, concrete, and metal media, Guy Ngan elected, in the early 1970s, to turn his artistic hand to a new material: plastic. Wainuomata Shopping Mall became the home of his only known public sculpture in acrylic. 

In 1972, a designscape article recorded Ngan as considering himself to be ‘Playing around with plastics’, stating that he was not completely satisfied with the results.

Little is known about this work, or its fate. Please contact us if you have any information.

Guy Ngan: Reserve Bank, 1972

Artist: Guy Ngan
Title: Taiaha
Medium: Bronze with integrated lighting system
Dimensions: Approx. height 9.14m (30ft), weight 1180kg (2600lb). Exact dimensions & weight unknown
Date: 1972
Original location: Reserve Bank, 2 The Terrace, Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington CBD
Architect: Ministry of Works
Current location: In situ
Heritage status: TBC

In 1970 Guy Ngan left his job with the architectural firm Stephenson & Turner to focus solely on his arts practice. It was in this year that the Reserve Bank ran a competition to select a sculpture for the exterior wall of its new head office. Ngan entered Taiaha, and won the competition.

Taiaha is made of 50 interlocking parts, and weighs more that one tonne. For Ngan, the work symbolised the bank’s solidity and strength, symbolised by the inclusion of two stylised taiaha (Māori weapons used in ceremonial challenges and, historically, in battle). An article in 1972 noted that this work was the biggest bronze sculpture mounted in Wellington since the War Memorial horse and rider.