Don't feel at all embarrassed if you had never heard of a stumpery.
Neither had the arbiter of quaint English in my reference library, the weighty Oxford Dictionary circa 1959.
Invercargill City Council parks manager Robin Pagan also admits that he hadn't, not until faced with the expense of disposing of embarrassingly large stumps resulting from wind-throw damage to a row of century-old macrocarpa.
Then sculptor Frank Wells, whose big-log works adorn the New Zealand section of the park, and who has much experience of sculpting seats from tree roots, suggested making a feature of them.
By its nature, it was not amenable to being planned in detail before, but rather something that emerged from Wells' artistic imagination, working on the material he assembled.
This included stumps offered by farmers in response to advertising, some of them aged bog timber from Waituna.
All of it was good, long-lasting hard wood, with wild roots attached, perfect for creating a towering fantasyland.
There is a corral-like fence enclosing an alleyway, a hilltop fortress with staging, monstrous heads on posts and, best of all, outsized reptilian beasts awaiting discovery.
Wells, via his iPad from somewhere in the Pacific beyond the reach of interviewers, says he had heard the term stumpery, but didn't actually know what it meant either until he began to research his proposal.
He wanted his one to be an interesting place, as well as mystical and thought-provoking.
It would be "a place people would return to time after time, and see and discover different images each time, as the moss and lichens take over".
"I also wanted it to be home to insects, especially spiders, as they create webs among the tree roots, which attracts more bird life."
Robin Pagan welcomes the outcome for all this and more, including its wildness as a contrast with the manicured nature of most of the park.
Stainless-steel bolts and rods secure the large pieces, but after that, it's users beware.
- © Fairfax NZ News