You'd usually find him at Donaldson's Dairy - but Hairy Maclary may soon have a new home on the Tauranga waterfront thanks to a sculpture project costing almost $1 million.

The scruffy star of Dame Lynley Dodd's much loved books is set to be immortalised with his four-legged friends after the Tauranga City Council yesterday approved plans for a sculpture to celebrate the characters created by the city's resident writer.

The project has already been running for a year and evolved from a trail of characters through the central city to a draft concept featuring nine bronze dogs surrounding tomcat Scarface Claw.

Creative Tauranga has been driving the project. The group agreed to provide the council $150,000 to install and maintain the sculpture, and now faces raising $800,000 to pay for it.


Tracey Gudduck-Rudsell of Creative Tauranga said the large bill covered the cost of creating the sculpture and installation, and legal expenses and engineering fees.

The agreement provided for the sculpture to be insured for 50years, although it was expected tolast for at least a century.

"Lynley has sold more than 10 million books and she's highly regarded and recognised around the world - so we think it's going to be huge for New Zealand and even bigger for Tauranga."

Dame Lynley said it was a great surprise when the idea was put to her.

"It's not something that I would ever imagine happening and it's rather fun to think about that the characters will be there for the children to enjoy, which is after all the main thing - they're the audience."

Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, this week named Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy among her favourite books. She has now chosen the 1983 book to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the flagship scheme of one of her charities, Booktrust.