Two taniwha appear in lights over Wellington's Oriental Bay

The installation.
The installation. Photo credit: Supplied

A Wellington legend is being brought to life by a stunning art installation along the city's waterfront.

Every night in February, two taniwha will appear in lights in the 10 metre tall spray of Oriental Bay's fountain

The art installation is based on the legend of two taniwha -  Ngake and Whātaitai - who are said to have lived in a lake which is now Wellington Harbour.

It's said that as the two taniwha grew, the lake they lived in became smaller, until they dreamed of what lay beyond their home.

Ngake declared to Whātaitai that they would leave the lake. He whipped his tail around and broke through the rock walls, opening up Te Moana o Raukawa (Cook Strait).

Ngake swam straight through, and Whātaitai tried to follow but got stuck as he was not as fast as Ngake and got stuck.

He lived happily for a while, but an earthquake raised his body up, where it turned to stone to become the Hataitai ridgeline. 

The projection will run daily between 9pm and 12am from February 4 to February 28 - as long as Wellington's weather permits it.