Public support to keep a popular sculpture at Waiheke’s Matiatia wharf has been swift and generous after the launch of a community fundraising campaign last week.
The sculpture, Te Werowero, was created by local Chris Bailey and was installed temporarily at Matiatia for Sculpture on the Gulf.
Locals Dan Harrop and Barry Fenton are driving a fundraising campaign to keep the sculpture as a permanent fixture.
In the first week of fundraising, fans of the sculpture donated almost $15,000.
And, in a massive boost to community efforts, Auckland Transport will support the community initiative by matching the amount raised through Givealittle, dollar for dollar.
Waiheke Local Board chair Cath Handley helped secure the funding and was thrilled with the result.
“Auckland Transport has really pulled out the stops to source the extra funding for Te Werowero,” she said.
Auckland Transport’s Wally Thomas said it was a pleasure to support this community initiative.
“This piece will become a permanent part of the wharf infrastructure at Matiatia, just as we have artworks which tell local stories in other facilities across the region.”
The artwork both welcomes and challenges those arriving on Waiheke to respect the island's culture, wāhi tapu (sacred places) and its fragile environment.
The 'wero' - a questioning process by which the local people of an area establish the intent of their visitors - is the first stage of the formal Māori powhiri or welcome.
The figure in the artwork represents all people who choose to live on Waiheke and is on guard acting as a Kaitiaki – a guardian for all on Waiheke.
Dan Harrop, who kicked off the campaign, said the goal was now much more achievable with the help of Auckland Transport.
“We now only need to raise $25,000. Everyone’s donations will effectively be doubled. How great is that.”
The local board will be consulted to approve placement of the sculpture and will be guided by the recommendations of the artist and Auckland Transport.
The total cost of the project is estimated at around $50,000 which includes the purchase of the artwork, a new stone plinth, foundation work, structural design and consents.
Bailey has offered to leave the sculpture in place for the duration of the fundraising.
The Sculpture on the Gulf has forgone the commission on the work to reduce the cost for the community.
Anyone wishing to contribute towards the purchase of Te Werowero can make a donation at the Givealittle page.