PM marvels at Taupo's Sculpture Garden
John Key has conceded any artistic work is best left to his daughter Stephie, rather than him, as he opened a Taupo sculpture garden.
After more than five years as Prime Minister, Key said yesterday's visit to Lava Glass was the first Sculpture Garden he had ever opened, and since he is a fan of art he was excited about it.
"I was very interested to hear all about it . . . I love glass art, actually I like art anyway . . . I'm hopeless at doing art myself but my daughter is very artistic and I enjoy the relaxation and clarity you get from looking at art and admiring people's talents.
"New Zealand has a great reputation for people working in the form of glass."
Key, who is also the minister of tourism, said attractions like those in Taupo were contributing to burgeoning tourist numbers.
"We had a 7-8 per cent increase in tourists to New Zealand last year, we had 2.7 million tourists come from overseas.
"Taupo is a great destination for them to come through and they like coming here for a whole variety of reasons . . . this is going to be a great place for them to come to the Sculpture Garden just to wander around and enjoy the serenity of it and to marvel at what you are capable of doing."
The Lava Glass Sculpture Garden was created four months ago after Lynden Over and Christine Robb headed to Seattle, a significant centre of art glass.
"We've had the most amazing time drawing up this idea and then creating all the pieces," said Over.
They worked tirelessly for four months when they returned and produced the sculptures and landscaping for the creation. On an acre sit more than 500 glass sculptures which have been created by Over and his team of glass workers in the studio on site. The pieces in the Sculpture Garden are the biggest pieces of glass blown in New Zealand.
Key was also to open the Great Lake Cycle Trail in Taupo.