An enormous, two-level artwork removed from Te Papa this weekend has been a magnet for visitors - and their keys, sunglasses and stuffed toy bunnies.
More than 300,000 people visited Nike Savass' multi-coloured Finale: Bouquet . Installed in September, it featured more than 200,000 pieces of confetti suspended on 6000 separate strands. A sign on a viewing bridge warned viewers that anything they dropped couldn't be removed until January.
Staffer Ruth Anthony confirmed a camera lens, water bottle, Gallipoli poppy, brochure, sunglasses and reading glasses were among the objects lost overboard.
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Fortunately, says Anthony, "we did figure out a way of getting in there . . . A child's very loved toy bunny went flying from the bridge into the work, it had to be retrieved the next day by our team, much to the delight of the poor mother who was mortified and very apologetic".
Just this week, a set of keys had been dropped, "luckily the team are in the gallery de-installing the work so they were able to return them within minutes – phew!"
Kate Camp, head of marketing and communications said, "one of our team became very expert at squeezing ninja-style between the strands - she had it down to a fine art by the time it came down".
Finale: Bouquet was created from recyclable plastic tabs by Australia artist Savvas. It features colours partly inspired by drawings of New Zealand plants and flowers, made in the 1800s by botanical artist Sarah Featon. The work, now part of Te Papa's permanent collection was dubbed the "mood adjustor", Camp said, "because it made everyone happy".
The next installation in the Te Papa Toi Art space will be MAU: House of Night and Day by Lemi Ponifasio. Opening on February 25, it includes six metre high projections and sporadic appearances by live dancers.