Campaign to save the moa launched

By Anne-Marie McDonald

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From left, Mike Dickison, Rachael Garland and Jack Marsden-Mayer with the giant driftwood sculpture. PHOTO/STUART MUNRO
From left, Mike Dickison, Rachael Garland and Jack Marsden-Mayer with the giant driftwood sculpture. PHOTO/STUART MUNRO

A campaign has been started to keep Whanganui's driftwood moa in the city.

The giant moa was made by local driftwood sculptor Jack Marsden Mayer, and has been on loan to the Whanganui i-Site for a year.

Now the moa's time is up, and a public campaign has started to enable the moa to be purchased and gifted to the Whanganui Regional Museum.

"I could easily sell it," Mr Marsden Mayer said. "But I would like it to stay in Whanganui, if at all possible."

Whanganui artist Rachael Garland was inspired to take action when she learned the moa may have to leave Whanganui if Mr Marsden Mayer sells it. Ms Garland's art studio is very close to the moa's location outside the i-Site, and she sees locals and visitors interacting with it.

"So many people admire it and have their photo taken with it. It really belongs in Whanganui - it's made by an award-winning local artist out of local driftwood," Ms Garland said.

The aim is to raise $5000 by the end of November through public donations.

Mike Dickison, curator of natural history at the museum, said the museum was interested in the driftwood moa because the moa is an important part of Whanganui's history.

"This particular species of moa was found in Whanganui, and we know that because its bones were found in the Makirikiri swamp," he said.

"When the museum re-opens at Queens Park it will have the largest collection of moa bones in the world."

Mr Dickison said museum staff had worked with Mr Marsden Mayer to ensure his moa was anatomically correct and was in a true moa pose.

If enough money is raised for the moa, it will be moved to a new location outside the museum at Queens Park.

To donate please visit https://givealittle.co.nz/project/keepthemoa, or call into the Museum on Ridgway (62 Ridgway St) to make a donation.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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