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Quick thinking brings artwork closer to home

Published: 19 July 2019

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Stunning marble tables artwork now located at the Onehunga Basin

The Zoo Tables marble artwork was created for the Auckland Zoo in 1987 but, amid a layout change at the zoo, it needed to find a new home.

Artist Campbell Ewing initially had only two weeks to find a suitable location and move the almost one tonne, multiple piece configuration. With some luck and a great deal of organisation, the artwork has been relocated to Onehunga Basin, just around the corner from where Ewing lives today

The Zoo Tables were made as an extension of a project The Marble Table, completed in 1985 under the then Auckland City Council’s unemployment scheme.

This initiative employed seven local men and women and was designed in response to the movement for a nuclear-free New Zealand. Campbell Ewing took the symbol for nuclear power and transformed it into a three-part round table, the concept a traditional icon for peace since the time of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table.

“The Zoo Tables also began with the idea of objects clustered together this time loosely based on observing birds settling on water,” explains Ewing.

“I chose to position these tables next to a lake in the zoo, which was thriving with birdlife. I hoped the tables and seating would draw the human equivalent.”  

When approached about relocating The Zoo Tables to the Maungakiekie Tāmaki Local Board area, Chair Chris Makoare explained that the board “was very pleased to be able to offer a home to such an eye-catching and historical piece of art” and that it would “be perfectly located at the water’s edge at Onehunga Basin, adding to the natural beauty of the area.”

“It has been quite a satisfying process to see the artwork bought back to its original vibrancy. I would like to see it remain in its Onehunga location for at least another 30-year term” says Ewing.

The Zoo Tables are now in place at Onehunga Basin, where it is hoped they will provide further enjoyment for locals and add to the vibrancy of the area. 

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