Wind Tree - an iconic Auckland artwork
The Wind Tree is an iconic Auckland artwork with a long history. It’s making a new history in Wynyard Quarter.
Within Wynyard Quarter importance has been placed on Public Art to help bring the character of the area to life. Created as a result of the 1971 Auckland International Sculpture Symposium, The Wind Tree by Michio Ihara has a long history within Auckland.
Soon after the symposium the sculpture was installed in Queen Elizabeth Square where it lived until 2002 becoming an icon of the downtown streetscape. In 2002 Windtree was removed and placed in storage to make way for the Britomart redevelopment. Time went on and the work remained in storage with no plans for relocation. Artists, critics and champions complained. Michio Ihara himself was so hurt that the work had been disregarded that he claimed as destroyed on his website.
However within the development of Wynyard Quarter the perfect, bright open location was found in Jellicoe Plaza, giving the work space to move and flex in the wind. Michio Ihara was involved in the restoration and re-installation of Wind tree and was so delighted that he described it as a “rebirth for the sculpture”.
Today the artwork doubles as a popular spot to paddle and test toy boats.
Wind Tree is made from stainless steel and is approximately 22m long, 5m wide and 5.5m high. The trusses are designed to swing in the wind, hence the artworks title. Michio Ihara was born in 1928 and graduated from Tokyo University of Fine Arts in 1953 and continues make and exhibit his art. He is now a citizen of the United States and lives in Concord, Massachusetts.