Gi­ant sculp­ture to be un­veiled


The largest sculp­ture in the Welling­ton re­gion will be un­veiled to­day by Mayor Ray Wal­lace.

The sculp­ture, Lightwing, was in­stalled over two days last week on the round­about at the en­trance to Seav­iew.

The brief of artist An­drew Thomas was to cap­ture the nat­u­ral sur­round­ings and in­dus­trial his­tory of Seav­iew and Grace­field.

Lightwing is a re­sult of a fiveyear col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the Hutt City Coun­cil, the E Tu Awakairangi Hutt Pub­lic Art Trust, the Seav­iew Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion and lo­cal busi­nesses.

Weigh­ing in at 20 tonnes, and stand­ing at 6 me­tres high and 10 me­tres wide, it would be Welling­ton’s largest sculp­ture, Al­lan Brown of the art trust said.

Al­though there were taller and longer pieces around the re­gion, when added up, the pro­por­tions of Lightwing were un­chal­lenged in over­all scale.

With a brief to cap­ture the iden­tity of the area, Thomas cre­ated a sculp­ture in­spired by the sur­round­ing nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment, the clean lines of ar­chi­tec­ture and the area’s in­dus­trial his­tory.

Thomas, a pro­duc­tion de­signer, said be­fore start­ing on the piece, he learned the his­tory of the area and looked to its prox­im­ity to nat­u­ral land­marks such as the Wai­whetu Stream.

‘‘It has this sense of many ideas in it. Be­cause it’s on the cen­tre of the round­about, it changes its shape as you move around it.’’

He also took in­spi­ra­tion from the feath­ers of white herons, that would gather around the mouth of the Hutt Val­ley.

Thomas said he was thank­ful for all the work done by the com­mu­nity and lo­cal com­pa­nies to help bring the sculp­ture to life.

True to the orig­i­nal ethos of the project, the sculp­ture was fab­ri­cated in Seav­iew with a num­ber of lo­cal com­pa­nies in­volved.

About $100,000 worth of en­gi­neer­ing work, blast­ing and paint- ing were car­ried out by lo­cal com­pa­nies to keep the cost of the sculp­ture to $250,000.

Brown said the de­tail in the con­struc­tion of the curved, ta­pered and hol­low struc­tures was par­tic­u­larly im­pres­sive.

‘‘This is mas­sive for any- where in New Zealand and there will be a great deal of sat­is­fac­tion from all those in­volved.’’

Prepa­ra­tions for the foun­da­tions only be­gan a month ago. Build­ing on the large and busy round­about at the en­trance to Seav­iew had been a chal­lenge.

‘‘This is the last time I will be hav­ing an in­stall in the mid­dle of a round­about. There’s stormwa­ter and sew­er­age in­fra­struc­ture [buried] in the round­about, so we’ve had to leave ac­cess to those. It’s also just tricky [cross­ing the road] to have a look [at progress on the con­struc­tion].’’

De­spite the dif­fi­cult in­stal­la­tion, he said the re­sult was a dis­tinc­tive work which would serve the area for years to come.


Al­lan Brown from the art trust said the shape of the sculp­ture could make it look like the sur­round­ing hills, a break­ing wave or a bird’s wing.

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