A local business owner is challenging other businesses in the Bay to help fund the rest of the Hairy Maclary project for Tauranga's waterfront.
The project, which was conceived by Creative Tauranga four years ago, will hopefully to come to life on Hairy Maclary's birthday in July.
Ray White Commercial part owner Philip Hunt has issued a challenge for other local businesses to help the project get across the line because he thinks it will be an attraction of national scale.
"I think those sculptures where they are going to be located, adjacent to that very popular and well supported children's play area, are going to be a huge boom for the waterfront. Little things like this can make a huge different to a CBD."
Mr Hunt and his partner Denise McMahon have already put up $1000 with five other businesses stepping up to the challenge as well. Almost $125,000 more is needed to fund the $656,000 project.
Mr Hunt said their challenge was to any other like-minded businesses that glean their trade from a successful CBD.
"We need to get behind this because it will add attraction that will entice families to come down and see them in the CBD."
Creative Tauranga chief executive Tracey Rudduck-Gudsell said she had already received several phone calls over the last few days with other businesses wanting to support the project in its final leg.
Hairy's 31st birthday is in July and Mrs Rudduck-Gudsell said she hoped to have the project in the ground for a big unveiling in September.
The project has been entirely funded through donations with a number of cruise ship visitors pitching in too, she said.
Having the project set for Tauranga's waterfront would be a huge boost for the town, she said.
"I think it's fantastic for Tauranga. Going to be a little bit like Alice in Wonderland sculptors in New York City, Beatrix Potter in the Lake District in England, it's that kind of recognition for Tauranga.
"Hairy Maclary is an international brand with over 12 million books in 50 countries and several languages.
"Every house hold in NZ would have a Hairy Maclary book in it. We will have an iconic public art piece in New Zealand," she said.