The fourth Hairy MacLary statue destined for Tauranga's waterfront will soon be cast in bronze.
The project team aims to have the sculpture in place along the Tauranga waterfront by July to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the first publication of the Hairy Maclary book written by Tauranga author Dame Lynley Dodd.
The eight sculptures are being made by Wellington artist Brigitte Wuest, of Weta workshop fame, with four completed so far - Hairy Maclary, Muffin McClay, Bottomley Potts and Hercules Morse.
Creative Tauranga chief executive Tracey Rudduck-Gudsell said fundraising was slower than she had hoped, with $385,000 of the $850,000 needed raised so far, thanks to donations and a $150,000 tourism facilities grant from the Ministry of Economic Development.
"That includes a $2000 donation from a lovely local couple who walked into Creative Tauranga last Thursday who wish to remain nameless," she said.
Ms Rudduck-Gudsell said yesterday donation boxes would be placed inside Western Bay branches of ANZ bank to coincide with NZ Book Month, and the project team has also launched a $100k club encouraging corporates and businesses to each donate $5000.
"If 20 businesses all donated $5000 that would mean $100,000, and the great thing is the donation is tax deductible with 33 per cent coming back to the donor. It would be a great way for businesses to use up some of their end-of-year surpluses," she said.
Ms Rudduck-Gudsell said first to sign up to the $100k club donating $5000 was Powerco.
"Everyone thinks the project is a fantastic idea, but it just needs the rest of the community and corporate businesses to come on board to ensure the funds needed get raised."
While the project was boosted by a $150,000 Government grant, there are restrictions on the type of funding sources Creative Tauranga can apply for, she said.
Funding aside, she said there had been huge interest in completion of the project from the NZ Tourism sector and from overseas, including cruise ship operators keen to add Hairy Maclary and friends to their programmes of must-see places to visit.
People can donate directly to Creative Tauranga, through the website www.givealittle.comby typing in Hairy Maclary or make an instant donation by texting hairyto306.