Arrests over sculpture theft

00:32, Jul 22 2014
Eel Sculpture
SOMETHING FISHY: This hefty sculpture was stolen from the Auckland Botanic Gardens only to be found damaged at a nearby scrap yard.

A de-finned Tuna has been returned to the Auckland Botanic Gardens.

The $30,000 bronze sculpture by Canterbury artist Bing Dawe was stolen from the South Auckland park on Sunday night.

Thieves sawed through the metal bolts attaching it to a mounting plate before carrying it away.

Police found it late yesterday afternoon at the Metalman scrap yard in nearby Takanini, gardens manager Jack Hobbs said.

''Tuna has been found but in a rather sad state. She's quite badly damaged. The tail was cut off and the fins were cut off,'' he said.

The 90kg sculpture is now back at the gardens and staff have been in contact with Dawe about repairing or recasting it.

''We'll endeavour to get Tuna down to him. I believe he does have the original mould so we will get Tuna back, we'll just have to make sure she's more secure.''

Hobbs said the sculpture's return was all thanks to the ''proactive'' staff at Metalman.

''They just did a great job and we're very appreciative.''

Police have arrested two people in relation to the theft, a police spokeswoman said.

Tuna depicts a long-fin eel and was purchased for the regional park earlier this year by non-profit group Friends of the Auckland Botanic Gardens.


Manukau Courier