Two Tekapo projects see the light

Creative endeavours near completion

JACQUIE WEBBY
Last updated 05:00 30/12/2013
Colin and Christine MacLaren
JOHN BISSET/FAIRFAX NZ

SUNSHINE DIRECTION: Colin and Christine MacLaren sit on the edge of the new sundial being built at Tekapo.

tekapo footbridge
FOOTBRIDGE UNDER WAY: The first pier is in place for the new walkbridge over the Tekapo River outlet.

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Two Tekapo projects that have been quietly under construction for several months are slowly proceeding towards completion.

Work on the new sundial, designed by Tekapo amateur astronomer Freidl Hale, started in late 2011 with the ultimate aim of creating two scale models of the solar system.

Project spokesman Colin MacLaren said bad weather had set the project back a little but it was back on track with mosaic tiles currently being laid and edge poles, which will ultimately be capped with a metal band, now in place.

Mr MacLaren said the sundial floor would have a tile mosaic kea embedded in it and inside the kea would be an analemma.

(An analemma, usually in the shape of an elongated figure eight, represents the changing angular offset of a celestial body, usually the Sun, from its mean position and as viewed from another celestial body, usually the Earth)

"The analemma will contain tiles indicating where a person must stand to obtain the correct Sun-time during each month of the year," he said.

"It will indicate the pattern the sun makes in our sky as it moves north and south during the earth's seasons."

Tekapo's second project is the construction of a footbridge over the Tekapo River outlet which will join two parts of the village and provide safer pedestrian access for both locals and tourists.

The first pier is now in place and Mr MacLaren says the second pier will be done once Genesis Energy lowers the lake level in early January.

"We will then have to wait until later in the year (probably about September), before the lake level is lowered again to get the next one in place," he said.

The final construction will be 123 metres long and have four spans, the longest 52 metres.

Lifting the middle (and biggest) span will take the grunt of a 100 tonne crane, according to Mr MacLaren.

With a price tag of $1.3 million, fundraising for the footbridge began in August 2010 and as well as corporate support, members of the public can "Buy a Plank" for $1000 and have their name engraved on the plank which will form the walkway of the bridge over the Tekapo River.

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- The Timaru Herald

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