A range of sculptures had people intrigued at the closing of the 2016 Sulphur Lake Sculpture Symposium today, with a local man taking out the top spot.

Wood and rock creations were made by 17 artists, of whom eight were local, and the theme of the symposium was "The Energy Within".

Trevor Nathan said he did not want to approach the theme from a geothermal aspect and wanted to approach it from a more social point of view.

He said his sculpture represented the interaction between our rural environment and our urban environment, and how we came together as a city to create the energy within our town.

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Mr Nathan said it was a big honour to be selected and win the competition.

He was one of 17 local and national artists who, on any of their given days, could have won this competition, he said.

The artists spent nine days carving, moulding and chipping away at their sculptures on the grounds of the Rotorua Arts Village.

Once complete, the artworks were judged and Mr Nathan's creation will become a permanent part of the Rotorua public art collection.

Up to a further four pieces will be considered for selection to enhance the new boulevard in Kuirau Park. All remaining work will then be installed at the Sulphur Lakes Sculpture Trail.

Rotorua Lakes Council community arts adviser Marc Spijkerbosch said it was very humbling to be a part of something like this symposium and it was quite overwhelming seeing the sculptures finished.

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He said he was delighted with all the outcomes and for Mr Nathan.

"It's been an adventure to work with a lot of colourful, talented people."

Mr Spijkerbosch said he was delighted these pieces were going to be with the city, in many cases, permanently.

He said the sculptors had worked hard to put the features together and it had come right down to the wire.

Mr Spijkerbosch said he thought there had been 200 to 300 people at the symposium on Saturday.

There had also been a lot of people visiting on a daily basis to see the progression, he said.

Well respected local artist Lyonel Grant, master carver Clive Fugill and councillor Karen Hunt were the three judges.

Mr Spijkerbosch said the judges had deliberated for quite some time and it was an extremely tough job.