An angel watching over Masterton
A bold move by a Masterton district councillor to give a concrete angel a chance to spread its wings has led to it getting a permanent spot in a public park.
Masterton District Council has decided to give Elaine Hurndell’s Grace, Angel of Hope a home in Robinson Park near the northern roundabout.
The sculptor was overjoyed by the decision. ‘‘I felt that the town officially has an angel. It brings people hope and that’s what we need,’’ she said.
Deputy mayor Graham McClymont, who owns a concreting business and helped Hurndell pour the concrete into moulds for the statue, was instrumental in giving it a temporary public airing in December to gauge public support.
McClymont admits he ‘‘broke process’’ by installing the statue in a park without the council’s sign-off, but after a conversation with mayor Lyn Patterson, he decided to go ahead and see how the public would react to it.
He felt if he didn’t use his initiative, his fellow councillors may never come to a decision.
‘‘Councils, by nature, are extremely risk averse because they are using ratepayers’ money and that risk aversion actually ties our hands up in knots,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s bad in a way because I broke process, but it’s also sorted the problem and actually cut to the chase. In my opinion, we should do a lot more of it.’’
McClymont said because there was no mechanism to display art on a temporary basis the mayor has suggested they formulate a public art strategy.
‘‘So that next time something crops up and we have a Ma¯ori carving or whatever they want to put on display, we have a way of dealing with it.’’
Large gatherings at the statue at Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve seemed to validate Hurndell’s hope that it would be a beacon of hope and reflection for all those who had lost someone precious.
There was only one dissenting voice when it came for council to make a decision on whether to grant the statue a place in a pub- lic park earlier this week.
Councillor Brent Goodwin said he could see no artistic merit in the statue and felt it was inappropriate for a public park.
‘‘I think it is a mistake,’’ he said.
The mayor replied that ‘‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’’.
Hurndell said she was not concerned about Goodwin’s opinion and she was just thankful the statue had been embraced by the rest of the council.
Finishing touches are now being put on the statue at her rural Masterton property before she expects to install it in Robinson Park next month.
Elaine Hurndell’’s Grace was made from a mould of her daughter Montana.