Knitters make a point

02:22, Oct 20 2011
ABs statue
BACKING BLACK The Seafarers Memorial sculpture shows which side it supports, dressed in a black scarf and gloves.

A significant Nelson landmark at Wakefield Quay has been decked in regalia, in support of the All Blacks, by a pair of patriotic graffiti knitters, ahead of Sunday's Rugby World Cup final.

And one can't deny the Seafarers Memorial sculpture's resemblance to an image of a pointing Piri Weepu that has been circulating on the internet.

Nelson artist Anne Rush and her sister, Jenny Shipley, former prime minister of New Zealand, dressed the sculpture before last Sunday's semifinal.

The sculpture, of a man pointing out to Tasman Bay, is modelling a thick, black woollen scarf, a glove with New Zealand on it and black-and-white striped socks poking out of his gumboots.

"We will take it down when the All Blacks retrieve the cup," Ms Rush said.

"We are aware of the sensitivity of it being a memorial. We wanted to do it respectfully, hence its short tenure."

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Ms Rush has been behind the Dress Nelson campaign, aimed at sprucing up Nelson for the Rugby World Cup.

The campaign coincided with the Nelson Arts Festival and included graffiti knitting and the Faces of Nelson project.

Ms Rush said the feedback on the campaign had been "extraordinary", with a lot of people pleased with how it created "talking points" throughout the city.

She said she was pleased with how it engaged the community, from individual volunteers to groups like Idea Services.

"They started the [graffiti knitting] idea. They had a lot of clients who got totally enthusiastic about it," she said.

"I have worked in arts for a long time and this has been one of the most interesting and surprising projects I have been involved in.

"I think the big debate we need to have now is whether this is something that could evolve as an annual [fixture]."

As for the Seafarers Memorial sculpture, Ms Rush said she was just pleased with how well the glove fitted.

"I was surprised with how well [it] fitted, to be honest. The fingers are about the right size," she said.

The Nelson Mail