New park spruced up with art

By Lindy Laird

The first two of five large sculptures have been set in place at the newly contoured, pathed, peopled and artified riverside at the Town Basin.

A giant crane yesterday lowered local artists Trent Morgan's and Kim Groeneveld's Punga into position at the Reyburn House end of the area - recently transformed from a flat, soggy, grassed area into an attractive, people-friendly park.

The steel, wood and rope piece Punga - the Northland version name often given a hinaki or fish trap - straddles several themes with a children's playground among them.

"We'd be disappointed if kids didn't want to climb on it," Mr Groeneveld says. "It was very much our idea that people would climb on it, walk through it and generally interact with it."

Later in the day Neville Parker's Swirl, a 6m high tubular, rust-coated steel tower of fish shoaling skyward, was installed at the Riverbank Centre end of the area.

Five works, which will be installed by the end of this year, were chosen from 54 designs submitted for the first stage of the proposed extended public sculpture trail.

The others are by Trish Clarke, John Ioane and Justin Murfitt.

The upgrade of the Reyburn Lane section of the riverside reserve has included contouring, installing paths, stone walls, bicultural heritage storyboards, lighting and security cameras.

The project is a facet of an ongoing $4 million redevelopment of the Town Basin, Quayside and Hihiaua reserve. The ambitious plan includes the $1.4 million spent on renovating the council-owned former Hubands appliance store into Whangarei Art Museum's new premises and a visitors' centre.

It also includes the canopy over the old Victoria Bridge, which now takes on new life as Market Bridge, and a street planting plan that will help steer traffic from the highway fringe into Whangarei central.

Turn to page 15 for the Weekend Features story on Whangarei Art Museum.

- Northern Advocate

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