Lit­tle town that the sculp­tor for­got


Hold on, where’s Rakau­tara?

It’s not the first, and it prob­a­bly won’t be the last, time some­one has asked that.

But this time, it’s a res­i­dent do­ing the head scratch­ing.

Noe­line O’Car­roll wants to know why the small set­tle­ment of a dozen houses, 22 kilo­me­tres north of Kaiko¯ura, has been left off a new sculp­ture pay­ing trib­ute to the many towns and town­ships that were af­fected by last year’s earth­quake.

The Ki­wiRail-com­mis­sioned art­work, made by Kaiko¯ura sculp­tor Ben Foster us­ing twisted iron from the quake-dam­age rail­way line, was un­veiled at the Kaiko¯ura Rail­way Sta­tion ear­lier this month, to co­in­cide with the town wel­com­ing the re­turn of rail freight.

But O’Car­roll is not im­pressed Rakau­tara is not on there, es­pe­cially as houses were with­out elec­tric­ity and res­i­dents had to use wheel­bar­rows to get sup­plies in af­ter slips cut the town­ship off.

‘‘So I don’t un­der­stand why it was left off,’’ O’Car­roll said.

She said she could not be­lieve set­tle­ments with­out a hu­man pop­u­la­tion were picked ahead of them.

‘‘At Ohau Point, no-one lives there ex­cept the seals. We should be be­tween Ha¯puku and Ohau Point.’’

She said she had been in con-

‘‘At Ohau Point, noone lives there ex­cept the seals. We should be be­tween Ha¯puku and Ohau Point.’’

tact with both Ki­wiRail and Foster to try and fig­ure out what hap­pened.

She hoped Rakau­tara could be added to the sculp­ture, es­pe­cially with its rich rail­way his­tory.

In the 1940s, Rakau­tara, known as Aniseed Vil­lage, was used as a camp­site for work­ers build­ing the Main North Line rail­way from Wha­ranui to Kaiko¯ura.

A Ki­wiRail spokesper­son said Foster was com­mis­sioned to cre­ate a sculp­ture com­mem­o­rat­ing the re­build of the rail line fol­low­ing the Kaiko¯ura earth­quake and the chal­lenges faced by the lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.

‘‘It would be in­ap­pro­pri­ate for Ki­wiRail to com­ment on the artist’s rep­re­sen­ta­tion, how­ever we note that many lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties were af­fected by the earth­quake, and the sculp­ture is de­signed to re­flect the ex­pe­ri­ence of ev­ery­one in the re­gion.’’

Foster, cur­rently in Sin­ga­pore, could not be reached for com­ment.

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