Jack Marsden Mayer is renowned for his driftwood sculptures of animals - horses, kiwi, moa, prehistoric monsters, you name it, he has always found just the right pieces of driftwood to make it.

His T-Rex stands at Raurimu as eye-catching testament to his vision, patience and meticulous accuracy. Jack works out of a large studio in Bedford Ave in Whanganui.

Two such pieces of sculpture - a chicken and a rooster - were supposed to be part of the great fundraiser art auction held at NZ Glassworks on the Saturday of the final weekend of Artists Open Studios. Unfortunately, they didn't make it. They were stranded, flightless, in Auckland.

"I had taken them to a shop up there," says Jack. Then they went to a gallery, then to an art centre in Takapuna.


Plans to get them back to Whanganui for the art auction went awry so Kathy Cunningham of the Whanganui Events Trust got in touch with the good people at Air Chathams.

They agreed to ship the sculptures back to Whanganui for free, but could not do it in time for the auction.

Air Chathams put them in a taxi from Takapuna to Auckland Airport. Jack and Kathy collected the fowl cargo from Whanganui Airport last Tuesday, carefully unwrapping them from their protective layers of bubble wrap to pose for a photo on the rain soaked tarmac.
Jack generally makes sculptures to order, choosing from his vast catalogue of collected driftwood to create his unique works of art.

He sources material from Whanganui to Paekakariki, the beaches providing his raw material. Larger bits of wood are found on beaches north of Whanganui. They get smaller the further south you look, the currents grading them by size.

"I'll go to a beach like Te Horo where pieces are small enough for a chicken," says Jack. "Sometimes I'll see a bit of driftwood and think, that has to be an elephant's eye, or something, and I'll save it until I make an elephant."

The sculptures are finished in decking oil to add sheen and durability. They don't mind the rain.

"They'll look nice in someone's garden," says Jack.

The pieces are still for sale, despite having missed the auction. Potential buyers can reach Jack on 021 069 3819.