A sculpture of two children riding a stylised kiwi is now proudly on display on a grass berm on the corner of Marine Parade and Kapiti Rd, Paraparaumu Beach.

The KiwiRiders sculpture, made of stainless steel under bronze casting, was unveiled yesterday.

Kāpiti mayor K Gurunathan noted there had been some controversy surrounding the artwork "but in public art a lot of the time there's controversy".

"What it does is heightens the community's awareness of what public art is all about.

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"This has engaged people's minds about what art is."

He said the sculpture was "inspirational" and was "a fantastic achievement for the community and I wish everyone can enjoy it.".

There was also an opportunity to raise money so the sculpture was on permanent display, he said.

Paraparaumu Raumati Community Board chairman Jonny Best said, "I hope most people will like this piece of art."

"We look forward to more public art in this area."

Paraparaumu Raumati Community Board members with the KiwiRiders statue, from left, Kathy Spiers, Guy Burns, Jonny Best and Bernie Randall. Photo / David Haxton
Paraparaumu Raumati Community Board members with the KiwiRiders statue, from left, Kathy Spiers, Guy Burns, Jonny Best and Bernie Randall. Photo / David Haxton

In May 2014 Bee Doughty-Pratt, from Scape Sculpture Park in Ōtaki, on behalf of the artist Will Clijsen, invited the council's Public Art Panel to buy the sculpture for $42,500 but the offer was declined.

In January this year Doughty-Pratt contacted Mr Gurunathan and offered the sculpture to the council as a free loan, for installation on a long-term temporary basis not less than one year.

The sculpture, made of stainless steel under bronze casting, has been looked after by the council, because the sculpture park property had been sold, while the free loan offer was discussed.

Paraparaumu Raumati Community Board backed the loan offer but council's Public Art Panel didn't stating the sculpture didn't meet the criteria established in the Public Art Policy, didn't offer anything of special note to Kāpiti, didn't have a sensitive connection to the environment and wasn't convinced of its overall quality.

But the loan deal was sealed when council's operations and finance committee backed the statue's installation.

KiwiRiders was the recipient of the 2011 Gold NZ Sculpture Design Award.