Joe’s plans for Helen Clark
A Chinese expat inspired to come to New Zealand by Helen Clark is happy to have snapped up a portrait of the former prime minister after it was found at Wellington’s rubbish dump.
Mt Roskill businessman Joe Chen secured the giant work for $1840 on Sunday night after a fierce Trade Me bidding war.
Earlier this month, the 2.4-metre-high artwork depicting the face of New Zealand’s first female prime minister to win office at a general election was rescued from a Wellington City Council’s tip.
While the identity of the artwork’s previous owner was not clear, council workers decided to put it up for sale with a $1 reserve.
After news of the auction was first reported, Clark asked via Twitter for proceeds from the auction ‘‘to go to a good cause like Women’s Refuge’’ – to which the council readily agreed.
Chen came to New Zealand as a 20-year-old international student in 2003, partly inspired by seeing a story about Clark on a Chinese news bulletin.
He said Clark had welcomed immigrants and international students, and was respected among the Chinese community.
‘‘She’s pretty down to earth. I like Helen.’’
Chen, said he liked to collect ‘‘interesting stuff’’.
‘‘While other people might think it’s trash, I think it’s gold,’’ Chen said.
A 2.4m high portrait of Helen Clark was recovered from the Wellington City Council Transfer Station.