A group of ladies with knitting needles have raised the ire of some Whanganui District Council staff. But at least members of the Gonville Knitting Group have mayor Annette Main on their side.

As part of the city's La Fiesta festival, the Gonville knitters have "yarn bombed" (decorated with brightly-coloured knitting and crochet) several features in the central business district, including trees, parking meters and street benches.

Julie Stokes also yarn bombed the bronze statue of John Ballance, the former NZ premier who sits outside the council building, decorating it with a colourful hat and scarf.

By 8.15 next morning, the hat and scarf had disappeared, so she went into the council to ask if anyone knew what had happened to them.


Officers from the properties department told her the hat and scarf had been removed because they were "defacing council property".

"This guy told me that if he let us do it, they'd have to let everyone do it," said Ms Stokes.

"He said no council property could be yarn bombed. The weird thing was, they then turned round and told me how nice they thought the benches looked with our yarn bombing on them.

"I can't believe a bunch of ladies with knitting needles would cause such a kerfuffle."

She said the group made clothing and other items for the less fortunate in Whanganui.

Ms Stokes said the knitters had hoped to brighten the place up. "All we wanted to do was put a smile on people's faces."

The John Ballance statue was yarn bombed again during the weekend. The Chronicle understands this was another member of the knitting group who did not wish to be identified.

Mayor Annette Main said she thought the yarn bombing was "fantastic".

"I don't see it as defacing. It's temporary fun. It's great that members of our community want to make Whanganui a more interesting place."

Ms Main said she would like to find out more about what happened.

"I understand staff's point of view, but I would hope they wouldn't take something like this too seriously," she said.