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Funding boost for Sculpture in the Gardens

Published: 2 July 2018
Councillor Daniel Newman, Manurewa Local Board member Stella Cattle, Friends of Auckland Botanic Gardens president Dianne Glenn and Auckland Botanic Gardens manager Jack Hobbs.

Art and garden lovers will be able to enjoy the best of both worlds for years to come after Auckland Council agreed to include funding for operational costs for the popular Sculpture in the Gardens event in its 10-year Budget.

Manurewa-Papakura ward councillor Daniel Newman advocated to include funding in the budget for what he says is a much-needed investment to ensure the future of the iconic biennial event held at Auckland Botanic Gardens.

“The event is essentially run by Friends of The Auckland Botanic Gardens, which has done an amazing job but it has become overburdened with the having to cover the operational costs of the event. And, with no guaranteed support or council funding, the group were reviewing the event.

“To me, and I am sure the more than 300,000 people that attend this free event every two years, an event of this calibre in this part of the city is something we can’t afford to lose,” says councillor Newman.

The decision sees operational funding of $150,000 in an event year (2019/2020) and $50,000 (2018/2019) in a non-event year.

“Having budget included gives organisers some certainty of support for the next few years so I am delighted the mayor and my colleagues around the council chamber supported this.”

Established 10 years ago, the event previously had funding from the council for operational costs as well as support from council staff to manage the exhibition, but in 2016 that changed with Friends having to organise and fund the event. 

In 2017 the council agreed that $74,000 held by The Friends in its artwork acquisition account could be used to cover operational expenses associated with the 2017-2018 exhibition for that year only. 

Budget support for sculpture in the gardens3
Khulu by John Ferguson featured in the 2015-2016 exhibition and winner of the Friends People’s Choice Award that year.

Auckland Botanic Gardens manager Jack Hobbs and The Friends president Dianne Glenn are naturally delighted with the decision.  

“Sculpture in the Gardens has grown to become one of the country’s most important sculpture events and is much loved by the arts community and our visitors,” says Jack.

“Council funding ensures it will continue, enabling more than 300,000 people to enjoy outstanding works by our finest artists in a beautiful garden setting.” 

Dianne Glenn says its executive committee is excited funding has been secured.

“We were very doubtful that we, as a voluntary organisation, could manage the financial risk and heavy workload a second time. We agreed to undertake the total management of the last exhibition as the time frame to get it underway was extremely tight, and we wanted to ensure the event continued."

"We did that while working with the Manurewa Local Board, Councillor Newman and other supportive councillors to find the necessary funds, leaving us to seek sponsors, patrons, donations and pro bono work."     

The next Sculpture in The Gardens is scheduled for the summer of 2019-2020.

 About Sculpture in the Gardens

The first event was held in the summer of 2007/2008 and it is now held every two years.

The Friends run the event with the support of a dynamic project team incorporating key stakeholders such as The Friends, Gardens staff, artists, art supporters and a curatorial panel.

Budget support for sculpture in the gardens2
Jaime Pickernell's Bird Lady is part of the permanent collection.

It showcases outstanding New Zealand outdoor sculpture and provides a vehicle for developing a collection of permanent outdoor works.

The group initiated the permanent sculpture collection and have contributed to the purchase of a number of sculptures which now make the gardens their home. 

Visit the Auckland Botanic Gardens

Auckland Botanic Gardens on Hill Road in Manurewa covers 64 hectares (156 acres) of land, including 10 hectares of native forest. Opening to the public in 1982, the Auckland Botanic Gardens is a young garden by world standards.

The Botanic Gardens attracts more than 950,000 visitors each year and has a focus on creating unique gardens and landscapes, which has resulted in a spectacular garden with a distinctive South Pacific flavour.

Auckland Botanic Gardens are open daily with free entry.