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Vandals hack in to sculpture

Last updated 00:00 01/01/2009
BEN CAMPBELL/MANUKAU COURIER
HACKED OFF: Mangere Bridge village manager Carol-Anne Armitage inspects one of the vandalised birds that was lucky to retain its beak.

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Vandals who hacked a new public sculpture have got right up the noses of Mangere Bridge residents and businesses.

The stone piece in Naomi and Bill Kirk Park has been attacked with what appears to be a hacksaw.

Sculpted by local artist George Nuku to represent the birdlife of Manukau Harbour, the piece has a New Zealand falcon at its top. But the bird likenesses below it are no longer identifiable now their beaks and heads have been sawn off.

Mangere Bridge village manager Carol-Anne Armitage is "absolutely hopping mad" about the vandalism.

"It’s such disrespect for a local Maori artist’s work. It’s a real concern."

She says Mr Nuku is exhibiting overseas and she doesn’t know whether to break the news to him now or when he returns.

"This is three months’ work for him; a lot of love goes into something like this."

Ms Armitage says residents and business owners are up in arms, not to mention former Mangere Community Board member Naomi Kirk, after whom the park is named.

"This kind of vandalism makes me want to spit," says Mrs Kirk. "It absolutely confounds me. What pleasure can people get from destroying things?

"It’s just so sad that we’ve got people like this in an otherwise fabulous community."

Ms Armitage says the damage must have been done early in the week of November 19.

"Someone brought it up at the residents and ratepayers meeting last Wednesday and everybody’s furious. By far the majority of people really like it."

She had heard criticisms from one or two people about the form of the sculpture but there had been no warning of vandalism.

Kids enjoy the stone feel of the sculpture, particularly the beaks that have been cut off, Ms Armitage says.

The sculpture is carved from Oamaru stone and is of sentimental rather than material value. It is the first of three to be installed in the village surroundings.

The costly sculpture programme has been the subject of much public consultation.

Ms Armitage says she is worried for the safety of the other pieces when they are put in place.

Anyone with information can contact Ms Armitage in confidence at 33 Coronation Rd, or phone: 622-1338.

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- Manukau Courier

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