Joe’s plans for He­len Clark

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - MATT STE­WART

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.

SUP­PLIED

A 2.4m high por­trait of He­len Clark was re­cov­ered from the Welling­ton City Coun­cil Trans­fer Sta­tion.

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