Camera Obscura

Detail close-up of the Camera Obscura on the waterfront.

The Whangārei Camera Obscura features a sculptural steel shell-like structure into which people can walk, to discover an upside-down projection of Whangārei's celebrated Bascule bridge, Te Matau ā Pohe and its surrounds, complete with vehicles, boats, people, skudding clouds and flowing water.

The attraction offers visitors and residents a simple yet wonderful phenomena of light projection, and educational opportunities. Visitors can adjust the image using a movable aperture on the wall of the camera obscura.

It is one of only a handful of obscura sculptures in the world and is one of the largest.

The Whangārei Camera Obscura was a community-led project designed and project managed by three Whangārei creatives - photographer Diane Stoppard, architect Felicity Christian and sculptor Trish Clarke.

It was gifted to the people of Whangārei in November, 2020. The addition of 7 HD CCTV cameras, with real time recorded image projected onto the exterior screen, offers security  and interaction for visitors.

Major funding came in from Culham Engineering who provided all of the steel components and engineering, from Whangarei District Council and the Provincial Growth Fund, Harnett Building, McKay, Bowling Infrastructure and more than 50 other businesses and organisations from our District.

What is a camera obscura?

A camera obscura device consists of a lightproof box or room with a hole in one side. Light from an external scene passes through the hole and strikes a surface inside, where it is reproduced, inverted (thus upside-down), but with colour and perspective preserved.

Find out more on the Whangārei Camera Obscura website:

Camera Obscura

Make your own camera obscura

Here is how you can make your own camera obscura:


Hātea Loop, Whangārei 0110  View Map

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