Pollen hotel - viaduct 1

Epic Pollen Hotels in Wynyard Quarter become a Pollen Hotspot

The entire length of the western side of Darby Street in the heart of Wynyard Quarter is lined with wooden planter boxes full of flowers and edible plants that together comprise many square meters of food for bees.  Each of these planter boxes is a Pollen Hotel.

Alongside these planter boxes, thousands of New Zealand natives have been planted that line the entire street.  Canopy trees  like Pohutukawa, Kowhai and lower growing plants like Harakeke( NZ flax). They are planted in such density that in spring they will suddenly provide an abundant amount of pollen and nectar for bees.

Together these edible and native plantings provide a sustainable food source for bees all year round making a sizable contribution to The Park.

Darby Street has transformed into a Pollen Hotspot.

All of the plants for this  landscape project come entirely from stock grown by the nursery owned and run by local iwi Ngati Whatua 0 Orakei at Takaparawhau ( Bastion Point).

This Nursery initiative provides a real way for the local iwi to revive its traditional connections with the land.


who is making The Park- Annie Rowntree

People who are making The Park

Who is making The Park? Those who live and work in the Waitemata are encouraged to participate in plotting pollen hotels on The Park map. In doing so, The Park map will assist us in visualising the amount of food available for these bees in our urban environment, the bees’ potential flight path, and our collective action.

There are currently about 160,000 bees in the six bench beehives in Victoria Park. Collectively these hives have the capacity to produce 210 kilos of honey, however, the bees need lots of food in order to reach this target. Those who plot a pollen hotel on The Park map  will be invited to collect some of the honey they supported to make at harvesting time.

Annie Rowntree who lives in Freeman’s Bay noticed five honey bees on one flowering brassica this week. She recounts only having seen four over the past six months in her garden. Annie is letting all her vegetables go to seed as they seem to be providing lots of food for bees foraging in her garden. The flowers on her vegetables feeding the bees will also provide her with safe seeds she can trust for her next growing season.

What are you growing that is feeding bees? Check out our posts on planting suggestions for Pollen Hotels and help make The Park.

The history of the idea Social Sculpture

The concept of social sculpture was created by German artist Joseph Beuys in the 1960’s who proposed sculpture could be the community itself – shaping their society or their environment by using language, thoughts, actions, and objects.

A famous example of his work is 7000 Oaks conceived in 1982 in which he proposed planting 7000 sapling oaks next to 7000 1.2 meter high basalt rock makers in the city of Kassel Germany.  That year 7000 Basalt rocks were dumped onto a lawn outside an exhibition building in Kassel.  The community of Kassel were then invited to decide where these trees would be planted in their city. After five years the 7000 rocks were finally planted next to the saplings and no longer sat outside the exhibition building. Today you can see these trees towering all over Kassel as well as New York where the project was extended by The Dia Foundation.

What and where is The Park?

The Park is a conceptual space and idea that becomes real through community participation. By creating a pollen hotel and posting a photo of it on our map you can help turn the Waitemata into a pollen hotspot. This pollen hotspot will secure a food source for our six beehives placed in Victoria Park this winter. When you make a pollen hotel you also help create The Park which is the space our bees will travel to source nectar to make their honey. When the six hives are harvested the honey that has been made will be available to everyone who has helped nurture its creation.

T and S make The Park

Whose idea is The Park?

The conceptual artwork called The Park is the result of several years of collaboration between the artists Taarati Taiaroa and Sarah Smuts-Kennedy who met while completing their Masters at the University of Auckland, Elam School of Fine Art in 2011. In 2012 the artists began working on an idea for an artwork that would allow them to ask questions about the distinctions of public versus private space. They were also intrigued how they, two women living in Auckland, might discuss, critique and make Earth Works, a genre of art commonly defined by the work of American male artists who worked on large scales across vast spaces, often in the deserts of America, in the 1960′s. Over the years, the project has evolved and they became increasingly interested in how environmental work might also become an invitation to participate and a framework for change. The two artists are interested in problems inherent in the Relational art model and the potential the model Social Sculpture, developed by German artist Joseph Beuys, may offer for supporting a dynamic engagement between artists and the public to imagine, and make forms in collaboration.

The public sculpture The Park is a conceptual idea that is a framework for; thinking across space, increasing perception of relationships between nature and man, and transforming private space into a public artwork and individual actions into collective outcomes.

Both Sarah Smuts-Kennedy and Taarati Taiaroa have their own individual art practices.


The Park was invited to be a foundation project for the Waitemata Local Boards inaugural Pop projects in 2014.