Sculpture's $158,000 repair job

By Wayne Thompson

Selwyn Muru's gateway will be back after strengthening. Photo / Kenny Rodger
Selwyn Muru's gateway will be back after strengthening. Photo / Kenny Rodger

Auckland Council is racing against time to get a sculpture back in place for the Rugby World Cup - at a cost of more than $150,000.

Four official team welcomes are to be held in Aotea Square in the first week of September and Auckland tourism wants the Te Waharoa O Aotea gateway to be a backdrop for international media.

But an Auckland Council staff report yesterday on works progress reveals they will be cutting it fine to get the 7m tall archway back up at the square and at its photogenic best.

Public arts officials assured the council culture, arts and events forum it had been strengthened and was being reinstalled "in time for the tournament".

The timber and copper sculpture by Selwyn Muru, was of "high cultural and community significance" said public art co-ordinator Ana Ivanovic-Tongue. In December, the leaning arch was dismantled and trucked away to get a stiff steel frame.

Council arts and culture manager Louise Mason expected it would be back in March and cost $30,000 to $40,000.

Yesterday's estimate is "by the end of August."

The actual cost of the reinstatement will be $158,745. The sculpture was taken away in September 2008 during remediation works to the square. While it was in storage, conservators found degraded wooden planks.

In September 2010, it was reinstalled.

However, nearly two months after a dawn ceremony and blessing, it was taken down again because of a lean.

Now, welded base plates will steady it after a steel skeleton designed to brace it was found not to comply. Muru said he was looking forward to its return.

- NZ Herald

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