Beak sculpture a memorial
The heart of Motueka is now a beak.
A new public sculpture, Kaka Beak, was unveiled yesterday on the corner of High and Wallace streets, in the centre of Motueka's retail strip.
The $20,000 Takaka marble sculpture was originally commissioned for outside the Richmond library but when the sculptor Bruce Mitchell died unexpectedly in 2010, his family asked the Tasman District Council if it could be sited in his hometown as a memorial to him.
Mr Mitchell created two marble sculptures in Nelson, Southern Cross in Trafalgar St and Victory in 1903 Square. Glen Davis, one of the few sculptors in the country besides Mr Mitchell who could work with Takaka Hill marble, completed Kaka Beak with three weeks' work.
Tasman Mayor Richard Kempthorne told the 160 people at the unveiling that Kaka Beak, which forms a pair of seats, symbolised the native bird that was once common in the area. He said kaka were still seen in Kahurangi and Nelson Lakes national parks and that it was appropriate that the beak faced Kahurangi National Park and Takaka Hill, Mr Mitchell's home.
After Mr Mitchell died, his daughter, Jacinda Mitchell, and a friend of Mr Mitchell's, Shona Todd, spearheaded the effort to have the sculpture completed and sited in Motueka, helped by TDC community recreation adviser Mike Tasman-Jones.
Ms Todd said the siting of the sculpture was "awesome".
"I'm so happy it's in the main street. It's the gateway to the information centre and to tourism."
TDC kaumatua Archdeacon Andy Joseph blessed the sculpture and invited people to pass through the beak and touch it. Mr Tasman-Jones said it was Mr Mitchell's dream that people would interact with the sculpture.
Ms Mitchell said her father would be honoured by Kaka Beak facing his home.
On behalf of her father, she told the crowd that "everyone who sits in the seats will receive a touch of your love".
- © Fairfax NZ News