Cherie Howie is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Is this the cutest project delay ever?

• The donated sculpture Genoa was to be installed in a suburban Auckland park last month.
• During preparations four black swan eggs were discovered and the project was put on hold.
• The eggs have hatched and four cygnets (young black swan) have been spotted exploring their new surroundings.

John Lennon sang about it, and now Auckland Council are living it.

Life, happening, while you're busy making other plans.

The life - four tiny black swan fluffballs - have upset plans to install a sculpture in a suburban Auckland park. But they might be the cutest project delay in the city this year.

Council arts and culture advisor David Hebenton said the quartet were the young of a black swan who had nested on a small island in a pond in a Stonefields park.

The nesting swan with it's cygnets. Photo / Brett Phibbs
The nesting swan with it's cygnets. Photo / Brett Phibbs

The council had planned to install Peter Nicholls' sculpture Genoa on the island, after it was gifted to the council by the late Dr Rodney Wilson.

Black swan are known to nest in the area from July until January, so plans were in place to get the sculpture installed before nesting season.

Landscapers were sent to the island to prepare the site, foundations were to follow and eventually the sculpture was going to be taken across by dingy, Hebenton said.

But nobody told mother swan.

"Everything was on schedule, and then we got a curveball from the swan."

Landscapers were the first to spot the nest.

The council's environmental officer said work should stop and everyone left the island.

Last week, the young, known as cygnets, were spotted for the first time under the watchful eye of their mother and a second black swan.

David Henbenton, Arts & Culture Advisor at Auckland City Council. Photo / Brett Phibbs
David Henbenton, Arts & Culture Advisor at Auckland City Council. Photo / Brett Phibbs

The early arrivals are thought to be due to a warm autumn in the city, he said.

They are doing well, having been spotted swimming in the pond, and the family are expected to migrate to a large pond in a couple of weeks.

A new plan is being put together and the sculpture should be in place - barring anymore unexpected pitter patter - by the end of next month.

Orakei Local Board chairwoman Desley Simpson said the decision to delay was a
"no-brainer".

"We are really keen to put the sculpture up, but we are also sensitive to nature. We definitely weren't going to kick the little swans out."

- NZ Herald

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