The city of Auckland sprawls across a field of 55 volcanoes; in places scoria cones fashioned through
a millennia of irruption still press through, meeting the sky and reminding us of where we are.
At Otuataua, where land and sea touch, basalt boulders ejected from deep within the earth lie scattered about. Exceptionally fertile, this landscape lent itself to early settlement and horticulture; the underlying volcanic stone retains heat in the soil, o ering a warmer ground and extended growing season for kūmara, taro, yams and gourds, plants brought from other islands far to the north. For Te Wai-o-Hua tangata whenua (the indigenous people) this place is a taonga (treasure). Hape, a mythological guardian arrived on Kaiwhare, the stingray, and here his sh is imagined among boulders and trees, making a roof to shelter the centre within. But the city wants to press onwards, upwards and outwards, squeezing people and their stories into smaller, tighter pockets. (text: Kathy Waghorn, Future Islands catalogue)