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Cabal is my word for a way of working together. It is an wholistic space for collaboration with each other and the life streams we are part of. The Cabal ethos rests in the subtle arts of relatedness. For over 20 years, this philosophy has guided my approach to art, design and construction, within very diverse project teams, contexts and mediums.

This ‘deep collaboration’ is an art form of communication and interdependency as we sculpt, weave, design and construct processes for restorative built environments. I treat each creative project is an opportunity to explore with others, finding simple practical tools and processes that we can put into action to help realise our ideals for transformation and regeneration in our communities. Cabal

asks, “what is needed here?” “What are the optimum conditions for wholistic


Cabal is a call to the nourishment of love, life and the restoring of beauty.



ropeworks reflects on a key story in Auckland’s development as a city, by celebrating the first mechanised factory, originally sited on Stanley Street nearby.  Robertson’s Ropeworks (later known as Donaghy’s) utilised locally harvested flax fibre, and was powered by the waters of the Waipapa Stream. It was positioned near the shore, and lead to the establishment of Auckland’s first colonial ship building yard at Te Wai o Taikehu, Mechanics Bay.

The design and construction of ropeworks was the result of research and collaboration, drawing on the stories shared by local iwi representatives Ngarimu Blair (Ngati Whatua o Orakei) and Pita Turei (Ngai Tai ki Tamaki), historian David Belich and passionate local residents such as Richard Simpson. Special acknowledgment to innovative and awesome blacksmith, Dave Watts, of Springbank General Metalwork.


Client:  Freeflow Alliance - NZTA (Transit NZ), Beca, Fletcher Construction, Higgins
(Transit New Zealand, Beca, Higgins and Fletcher)

Site: Wellesley Street Bridge, Grafton Gully, Central Auckland

Project Team: Caroline Robinson of Cabal, Springbank General Metalwork, Freeflow Alliance Partners

18.5m x 6m

mild steel

Photos: Simon Devitt, Caroline Robinson, Valerie Keen

Historic Map: The Tanyard Gully gardens. Parallel to Stanley Street, notice the distinct long, narrow ropewalk building. This is a detail from George Treacy Steven's 1886 bird's eye view of Auckland, NZ Map 374, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries