A life-size public sculpture of a family of seven humpback whales, swimming in pod formation, will feature in the not-so-distant future in Paraparaumu.

Whale Song also doubles as an important community education project reflecting the district's early whaling, surrounding marine environment, and visitors will better understand the need for marine conservation.

It will also create a significant drawcard to the district adding to its identity and continued economic resilience.

"It's about creating a centrepiece for Kāpiti and a whole new ethos for who we are," said former Wellingtonian of the Year Marco Zeeman who is helping spearhead the project.

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"We firmly believe this is a game changer for the district.

A rough scale model of what the life size model could look like. Photo / Rosalie Willis
A rough scale model of what the life size model could look like. Photo / Rosalie Willis

"This is about creating something new, something overwhelmingly in big scale, and because of the scale we're getting some interest from some of the biggest storytellers in the country, including Steve La Hood from Story Inc who is helping build the story."

Once enough funds have been raised the project will start in earnest with the size of the sculptured whales ranging from 24m to 4.3m long.

They would be cast in stainless steel and coated in bronze and could sit atop wind turbine type vertical poles.

A rough scale model highlights the size of what the life size scale could look like. Photo / Rosalie Willis
A rough scale model highlights the size of what the life size scale could look like. Photo / Rosalie Willis

The whale pod will be positioned on Puketapu hapū Te Atiawa land which will also feature park-like surroundings, a new lake, a cultural centre and potentially a marae.

The publicly accessible area will be visibly prominent as it would be near a new roading link between Ihakara St and Kāpiti Rd as well as the Kāpiti Expressway.

The project is expensive but no ratepayer money needs injecting into it as a trust is seeking donations only.

A close up of a rough scale model of a small whale. Photo / Rosalie Willis
A close up of a rough scale model of a small whale. Photo / Rosalie Willis

But the pricetag could come down as the trust was in discussion with filmmaker Sir Richard Taylor which could lead to use of his foundry in China and different construction techniques.

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Whale Song Pakake Waiata Charitable Trust comprises chairman Zeeman, developer Barry Clevely, artist Mike Fuller, accountant Murray Deans.

Former Fair Go frontman Kevin Milne is patron.

A couple had already pledged to fund one of the full-sized whales in the sculpture park.

"And they're of firm belief that others will follow," Marco said.

"And that's a big chuck of money when you're talking about a $7.5m sculpture park.

"We would like to think we've got another whale tucked under our belt before the middle of the year and then we can apply to Lotteries for two thirds funding.

"We've been in communication with Lotteries for a couple of years which has a significant grants fund for this purpose.

"Once we've got that ticked we're in construction mode.

"So two to three years we'd hope."

A photo by Steve Woods on a wall in the Whale Song information centre in Coastlands. The whale was photographed in Tonga after passing through Kāpiti waters a few weeks earlier.
A photo by Steve Woods on a wall in the Whale Song information centre in Coastlands. The whale was photographed in Tonga after passing through Kāpiti waters a few weeks earlier.

A lot had already been achieved over the last three years behind the scenes.

"It's now time to tell the story to everybody and to get people to take on the next six whales as a legacy."

A shop in Coastlands, which has opened to the public, has been converted into a Whale Song information centre to give the community an insight into the project as well as a learning space.

A large 3D printer has created small scale whale models as gifts for donors and would create larger ones of the pod and landscape for a display in the mall of what's to come.