Katikati now has a big avocado sculpture in the heart of town to signify its status as the avocado capital of New Zealand.
The artwork that previously graced the entrance to Just Avocados Ltd in Woodland Rd has been donated to Open-Air Art as part of its collection by the Darling family.
"After two years of discussions with Andrew we've finally got the big avocado here in town and it looks fantastic," says Katch Katikati's Jacqui Knight.
Darling Group managing director Andrew Darling says Jacqui rang him out of the blue to say she had seen it and loved it and asked if she could have it down town.
"We have been part of the community and the avocado industry for 30 years, so it seems like a good thing to do to donate the sculpture and continue to promote Katikati as the avocado capital."
Andrew was unable to make it to see the sculpture in place on Friday, so his sons Jacob and Nathan Darling visited to check it out. Both agreed the sculpture looks good in its new destination.
"We're donating it to the community, as it symbolises the town being the avocado capital."
Jacob says it will be good with New Zealand hosting the World Avocado Congress in 2023.
Passersby certainly noticed it last Friday with one couple snapping a photo.
Jacqui says since it's been in, there have been lots of positive comments.
"Everyone loves being the avocado capital."
Local craftsman Todd Uttinger created the sculpture after a discussion over a beer.
Andrew says Todd lives locally and does a lot of wonderful work with hardwoods and stone.
"Todd's a clever guy and he's done a lot of work for me personally. At work he suggested he could make and sculpt a big avocado.
"Being an avocentric business that grows, packs and exports avocados, having a big avocado at my front gate seemed like a good idea."
The sculpture is crafted from a totara tree that was blown over in a storm on the Baker farm in Rea Rd. The base is the roots of the totara tree and the fruit is made from the trunk of the tree. The stone was from the Wharawhara river that runs through the Baker farm.
"The Bakers are a big part of the local community," Andrew says.
Jacqui is grateful to have the avocado in town and says they are working hard to get more avocados for around town.
"We're keeping the marriage between art and avocados and are looking at having avocados made and painted creatively. These will be put around town like the cows in Morrinsville."
She's also getting more quotes locally for the avocado-themed playground by the Arts Junction, that's still on the drawing board.
The avocado sculpture is No 83 in Open-Air Art's outdoor collection.