Around a dozen people attended a public drop in session in Orewa on June 18 to see images of the five sculpture options proposed for Moana Reserve, hear from the sculptors and express their views.
The Hibiscus & Bays Local Board put five sculpture designs for the highly prominent beachfront location before the public last month (HM June 5), asking for feedback before making a choice. The sculpture is to replace the low-lying fountain that will be removed because Auckland Council says it has corroded beyond repair and, if rebuilt, would be too costly to maintain in the seaside location. A budget to replace the fountain, of $160,000 has been allocated by the local board.
All the designs put out for feedback are made of stainless steel, include water and lighting and were created by artists John Mulholland of Warkworth and Philipp Ripa of Wainui.
Feedback at the June 18 meeting showed a preference for the Harp design, closely followed by Fleet.
However, several of those who attended the meeting were not in favour of any of the options and felt that more artists should have had the opportunity to put designs forward. A number also suggested that different materials – in particular stone, could be used. Although one of the criteria for the works was to be able to see through them and connect with the sea, some did not want the view towards the sea “spoiled” by a large sculpture with some suggesting placing it on the grassy area would be preferable.
Hibiscus & Bays Local Board chair Julia Parfitt says that if there is strong feedback that none of the designs are favoured, then the fountain will simply be decommissioned and the space left as it is.
In response to suggestions that it would have been good to include works by a wider range of artists, she says there would have been huge costs associated with opening it up to the art community in general.
Robin Davies, who is on the Hibiscus Coast Community Arts Council, attended the drop in session and is among those would have liked to see more options presented. “I have seen work by other local artists, and in local galleries, that I think would be more suited,” he said. “I think selecting just a couple of artists was a way for the council to fast-track the process but this work will be there for a very long time and deserves to be carefully chosen from as big a range as possible.”
Feedback on social media to the Hibiscus Matters’ June 5 story was that the beachside reserve would be better suited to a community space with the addition of a small water park for kids, or a band rotunda with seating for outdoor performances and visiting food trucks. Mrs Parfitt says with or without a sculpture, this could be considered as a future addition to the reserve.
Feedback can be given at www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/have-your-say
The opportunity for feedback, which opened June 18, closes this weekend, on July 7.