Local worthies in the bag

10:31, Mar 27 2009

Extraordinary secrecy and rubbish bags have shrouded 12 busts of Christchurch "local heroes".

The bronze busts, by sculptor Mark Whyte, will be unveiled at 4pm today outside the Christchurch Arts Centre. They honour prominent Christchurch people, from businessmen to sportsmen.

The 12 were named almost two years ago, but project organisers yesterday were determined to keep the finished products under wrap.

Black bags have been placed over the busts and screens built around the site. A security guard was employed for 36 hours to prevent preview photographs being taken.

The security was intended to make the unveiling special, Twelve Local Heroes charitable trust chairwoman Susan Wakefield said.

"We have 200 people, many of whom have been waiting a long time for tomorrow, who are gathering for an unveiling so we do not want pictures in The Press before that," she said.

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The cost of the project, which was funded by private donors, had not been revealed.

Professor Don Beaven, Frank Dickson, Sir Richard Hadlee, Diana, Lady Isaac, Elsie Locke, Charles Luney, Margaret Mahy, Sir Tipene O'Regan, Sir Robertson Stewart, William Sutton, Sir Angus Tait and Sir Miles Warren have been immortalised in bronze.

"Any image of oneself put out in public ... is bound to create a certain amount of attention that you do not necessarily want," Mahy said.

"After a while we might find our statues with graffiti and moustaches drawn on them and such like. I would naturally feel that shouldn't happen, but would be entertained if it did."

The 12 were chosen by a steering group of former Christchurch Art Gallery Trust chairman Chris Brocket, Arts Foundation of New Zealand trustee Ros Burdon and Susan and Jim Wakefield. Warren joined the steering group after he had been chosen as a "hero".

HEROES - Christchurch heroes: Diabetes treatment pioneer Dr Don Beaven, former Canterbury Savings Bank chief executive Frank Dickson, cricket great Sir Richard Hadlee, conservation, arts and architecture benefactor Diana, Lady Isaac, journalist and activist Elsie Locke, building industry leader Charles Luney, children's author Margaret Mahy, Maori leader Sir Tipene O'Regan, industrialist Sir Robertson Stewart, artist Bill Sutton, electronics pioneer Sir Angus Tait, architect Sir Miles Warren.

The Press