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Fibreglassing | Molds | Foam | Installation | Museum

Client Name: Te Ahu Centre, Human Dynamo LTD

Project Name: Kauri Tree in Library

Description: Te Ahu in Kaitaia New Zealand is a multifunctional facility providing modern, purpose built spaces for Kaitaia’s library, museum, archive, i-Site, cafe and council services. The building also incorporates a community hall, performing arts theatre and cinema.


 Story Inc develped the interior design, exhibition design and museum visitor experience. Human Dynamo Workshop produced two installations to their design. Where Journeys Begin – the flight of the godwits/Kuaka, in the main atrium and The Kauri Tree in the library.


Constructed of fibre-glass, the Kauri Tree is a floor to ceiling(7metre) 1:1 scale fixed prop which encases a spiral staircase. It serves as a centrepiece for which the public can explore from any angle including views at the top between the foliage. A reading space for children is crafted from the inside of the tree at the base.



Its construction was impressive and challenging. Some factors include obtaining permission to take imprints from a live Kauri tree in order to achieve authentic bark texture on the tree. Extremely large poly-sculpted negative moulds were clad with textured and inverted, semi-rigid foam pieces to create a mould for fibreglassing.

We were flown to Kaitaia to install and dress the tree as well as Where Journeys, over the course of a week and a half.. Packaging, delivery and installation were a huge aspect in this project, however they managed to be a huge success, and on time.

A very rewarding and diverse project with a thorough mix of refined and experimental techniques used.


’My first impressions were that the facility is just amazing. It will become the heart of Kaitaia’’ – Deputy mayor Ann Court of Kaitaia

Bonus fact:

‘Human Dynamo of Wellington took moulds from a live kauri tree in order to create the authentic bark on our tree’

Photocredits: Sue Dorrington, Human Dynamo LTD, 

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