in the centre
of waterfront

Āhuaiti’s Algorithm by Shane Cotton (Ngāti Rangi, Ngāti Hine, Te Uri Taniwha), 2023.

Shane Cotton's painting in the lobby of the Hayman Kronfeld Building refers to a foundational Ngāpuhi tale.

Āhuaiti’s Algorithm is a significant painting by Shane Cotton (Ngāti Rangi, Ngāti Hine, Te Uri Taniwha) in the lobby of the Hayman Kronfeld Building on Galway Street.

The narrative that inspired the work centres on Āhuaiti, the great beauty who married Rāhiri, the ancestor for all Ngāpuhi hapū. After the couple separated, Āhuaiti discovered she was pregnant; she raised their boy, Uenuku, alone with her whānau. Years later, when Uenuku finally met his father and younger half-brother, Rāhiri proclaimed that Uenuku would settle in the east, Te Taitamawahine, and his half-brother Kaharau would remain in the west, Te Taitamatane, a unifying gesture that grew the political strength of Ngāpuhi in the area. 

In this manner, the painting pays tribute to Āhuaiti, the female Ngāpuhi tipuna, and acknowledges her place at the head of the iwi’s (and Cotton's) whakapapa by locating her at the centre of the work.

This work marks the completion of an artistic trilogy in Britomart, which began with Maunga (2020), the mural on the exterior of Excelsior House on Commerce Street (in which both Āhuaiti and Uenuku are represented in the black pot on the left-hand side of the mural), and includes Long Burning Flame, Look to Whiria (2021) in the lobby of The Hotel Britomart, a depiction of Kupe’s discovery of Aotearoa New Zealand.