A home away from home
Golden boy unveils Golden Bay sculptureMATTHEW APPLEBY
New Zealand Olympic medal-winning rowers added a golden touch to a sculpture with a Takaka link, unveiled at the New Zealand Garden in Windsor Great Park near London yesterday.
Gold medallist Mahe Drysdale cut the ribbon for the artwork by Auckland-based John Edgar.
'Lie of the Land' is made from stone from Auckland and Nelson and represents cartography and navigation, surveying and geography, which were all critical to Captain Cook's voyages of discovery to New Zealand, said Edgar. The standing compass stone is in basalt from Lunn Avenue quarry at Mt Wellington, while the marble for the other part of the sculpture is from Takaka.
The artwork comprises a standing Compass stone in basalt and a flat Survey stone in marble, carved with the markings registered on trig stations in the UK. Above this stands a large bronze tripod, speaking to the industry of man in developing New Zealand. From this hangs a plumb bob, redolent of finding home or finding true.
Benefactors were New Zealanders Alan Gibbs, George Kerr, Libby and David Richwhite, Angela and Richard Seton and Angela and David Wright. Also in attendance were rowers Joseph Sullivan, Rebecca Scown and Juliette Haigh, Peter Taylor, Storm Uru, Eve McFarlane and Emma Twigg, former All Blacks captain Anton Oliver and New Zealand High Commissioner Derek Leask.
Drysdale said: "The sculpture and garden are fantastic. I was really quite surprised how homely I feel here. These are plants I've been away from for three months so seeing them again makes you feel at home." He added that after returning to New Zealand next week: "I'm going to have a rest then maybe go again for next time."
Edgar said: "This sculpture is about which way is home. Is home where I come from or where I’m headed to? I felt at home among the New Zealand plants in the garden and this sculpture is a little bit of New Zealand that will be forever in England."
He said: "It’s tremendous to see ’Lie of the Land’ in its central position within the New Zealand Garden. It is telling the story of the journey from the United Kingdom to New Zealand in one space, resting in a pocket of the New Zealand landscape in the heart of England. I hope the piece will give visitors to the garden pause for thought."
The designer of the garden, which opened in 2007, landscape architect Sam Martin, who is from Christchurch but is now London-based, said: "The Crown Estate is a big landowner in the UK and the New Zealand collection is the only national collection on its land, so this is a fantastic opportunity." Martin spent three years working on bringing a sculpture to the garden with the help of Auckland arts administrator Trish Clark.
Martin said the inspiration behind the garden is the unique and diverse habitats of his native country. The garden showcases 3000 New Zealand plants.
Expat New Zealand horticulturist James Fraser, who helped source plants for the garden in 2007, said: "There’s a fantastic relationship between New Zealand plants and gardening here in the UK. I hope the Savill Garden will inspire people to use New Zealand plants in the UK in the future."
Windsor Great Park deputy ranger Philip Everett said: "This sculpture completes the final part of the jigsaw of the New Zealand garden."
Crown Estate chairman Sir Stuart Hampson said: "The Crown Estate welcomes the kind gift of this marvellous sculpture from a number of benefactors, which not only reflects the concepts within the New Zealand Garden of journey, discovery, uniqueness and contemplation but has also enabled us to continue to build on our associtaion with New Zealand. The unveiling is also timely given the fact that the UK is welcoming many nations from across the world to the summer games 2012."
The garden, which attracts 120,000 visitors a year, was founded in 1986 after a donation of New Zealand plants from the New Zealand government to the Queen following her state visit. In 2007, the garden re-opened as a redesigned and bigger space featuring many plants from the Chelsea Flower Show 2005 Tourism New Zealand garden designed by New Zealand designer Xanthe White.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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