Wanted: Set of furry lookalikes

By Tracey Rudduck-Gudsell

The official call for entries opens today for The Great Hairy Maclary and Friends Lookalike Contest, sponsored by MORE FM and Tauranga Vets.

The search is on for four-legged lookalikes of the wily but lovable Hairy Maclary and his famous gang of canine friends. There are six entry categories for dog lovers: Hairy Maclary (from Donaldson's Dairy), Hercules Morse (as big as a horse), Muffin McLay (like a bundle of hay), Bottomley Potts (all covered in spots), Bitzer Maloney (all skinny and boney) and Schnitzel von Krumm (with a very low tum).

Feline pet owners can also be in with a chance to win if they have a Slinky Malinky or Scarface Claw lingering at home. And in a fun ninth category, the winning Zachary Quack is rumoured to be up for a new paddling pool and loaf of bread.

"The contest is a wonderful way to engage the whole community with the Hairy Maclary and Friends Tauranga Waterfront Sculpture Project, to raise public awareness and encourage fundraising support for this national treasure," said Creative Tauranga CEO Tracey Rudduck-Gudsell.

At the recent Tauranga Waterfront opening, Creative Tauranga received an overwhelming response to the lookalike contest with more than 25 pre-entries walking up on the day with an adorable array of friendly, four-legged friends.

"We were amazed at the number of Hairy Maclarys in our community. We're keen to find the real one - and judges will be taking into account looks and personality. We've had enquiries from as far away as Whangarei and the Manawatu," says Rudduck-Gudsell.

Dame Lynley Dodd's renowned stories of Hairy Maclary have sold millions of copies worldwide and have been enjoyed by Kiwi children and families around the world. "The larger-than-life public art sculpture will bring the loved children's book characters to life for all to enjoy, and preserve Hairy Maclary and eight of his friends in bronze as a legacy for generations to come," says Rudduck-Gudsell.

"People are genuinely excited about the sculpture project and want to do everything they can to make it happen for Tauranga, and New Zealand."

Rudduck-Gudsell adds: "Hairy is 30 [years old] next year. We're looking forward to giving him a permanent home. What a wonderful way to celebrate his birthday and honour one of our country's most loved literary heroes."

The contest is open to the public, and entries are invited from all over New Zealand. Entrants must be over 18 years old, or have permission from a parent or guardian. Photos can be uploaded at www.morefm.co.nz or owners can enter in person at Tauranga Vets on Cameron Rd, Tauranga.

Finalists will be decided from public voting, which is open from November 5-15 on www.morefm.co.nz. Entrant photos will also be on display at Tauranga Vets if people wish to visit and vote in person. Two finalists from each category will be invited to final judging at The Dogs' Breakfast event, to be held at Tauranga Vets on Sunday December 2, 2012.

The fun family event will be open for the public to meet the four-legged characters.

Dame Lynley has accepted an invitation to sit on the panel of professional and "doggy-loving" celebrity judges, and to award prizes to the winner and runner-up in each category.

A Text to Donate campaign is being promoted alongside the Look Alike contest.

Public can text HAIRY to 306 and instantly donate $3 towards the project.

The campaign has been sponsored by Media Works with the support of 2degrees, Telecom and Vodafone.

"We still have around $500,000 yet to raise for the sculpture project," says Rudduck-Gudsell.

"If a lot of people give just a little, it will go a long way in helping make this dream a reality.

"Public and philanthropic support continues to be key, especially in this economic climate with so many demands on the corporate and fundraising dollar."

Creative Tauranga is a charitable trust and all donations over $5 are 33 per cent tax deductible.

For more information on the Hairy Maclary & Friends Waterfront Sculpture Project, visit www.Facebook.com/HairyMaclarySculptures or www.creativetauranga.org.nz.

To enter The Great Hairy Maclary & Friends Look Alike Contest visit www.morefm.co.nz.

From October 15, 2012, visit www.hairymaclarysculptures.org.nz.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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