It's an ode to Leonardo Da Vinci's famous painting The Last Supper. But New Zealand's 3D version was sculpted by Pirongia Artist Fran Mens.

Mens calls them "the lads".

"To me they're a great bunch of guys that want to do really cool nice stuff for human beings to make the world a better place," she said.

The 250kg replica measures 2.5m wide by 1.5m high and was created after Mens had repeated dreams about it after surgery on her voice box.

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"I just kept getting the last supper in colour in my dreams. It just kept at me and at me and at me. I don't have any answers for it. I really don't."

In the end, her husband Joseph said "do it". So she set to work using only her hands, mortar, found objects such as chicken wire, rocks, and bread.

The creation was a work of nightly visions and daily passion.

"I'd go to bed. I'd go to sleep. I'd get shown what to do. The next day I'd get up and I would do it."

After three and a half years, it was complete and thousands flocked to her Tauranga home to view the work.

When she relocated to her new Pirongia in the Waikato, Mens brought "the lads" with her where they have pride of place, on display in her garage.

But she believes it's not where they ideally belong.

"I want it to do good, obviously, it chose me for a reason.

"I believe it should be on display sitting in a beautiful place for the whole world to see, a New Zealand icon."

Mens has approached a number of museums and art galleries including Te Papa over the last 10 years to display her spiritual work but so far there's been no interest.

She even tried to drum up some publicity by listing it on TradeMe for an eye-watering $10 million.

"No-one was going to buy it for $10m," she said. "Do you think I expected that? I mean you can't put a price on this. My heart and soul went into this. What price do you put on yourself?"

The religious piece has received countless blessings. Local Anglican leader Reverend Vacion Rae said the piece was significant for everyone.

"It's just the beauty of it, the passion she put in, it's just making something we read in the Bible, makes it alive," Rae said.

"Bringing the tikanga Māori and tikanga Pākehā together and having this is like an invitation that we are no longer divided but we are as one and this reminds us of God's love."

Te Awamutu resident Barbara Linton has seen the piece and was mesmerised by it.

"It's a reminder for me of what Jesus did at the last supper when he emptied himself out for me. He laid down his life for his friends.

"So, besides being an awesome piece of sculpture, it also has a biblical therefore spiritual context," Linton said.

Mens still hoped her religious masterpiece would one day attract a wider audience, but in the meantime she welcomed private and group viewings to her Pirongia garage. Appointments could be made by phone at 07 871 9383.

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