Unique sculptures are emerging from boulders, logs and dust as sculptors from around the country compete in the Rotorua Sculpture Symposium.

Located outside The Arts Village, 16 sculptors are spending 10 days carving and sculpting pieces relating to the theme Ngā Wai o Rotorua – The Waters of Rotorua.

The sculptors choose the material they carve, from Oamaru stone, Taranaki andesite or macrocarpa.

The symposium opened last Friday and carvers are working through until Sunday when tools are laid down and judging begins for the Supreme Award winner who receives $10,000.


The winning piece becomes a permanent part of Rotorua's public art collection.

Symposium organiser and Rotorua Lakes Council public art adviser Marc Spijkerbosch says it is quite an eclectic group this year, with a lot of variety coming from the theme.

"These are some of the country's leading talent and some of these guys and girls have done dozens of symposiums.

"A lot of them know each other, so it's like a reunion and has a nice atmosphere. Everyone is looking out for each other."

Marc says regular spectators have been watching the progress.

Rotorua sculptor Peter Akurangi talks with spectators at the symposium. Photo / Shauni James
Rotorua sculptor Peter Akurangi talks with spectators at the symposium. Photo / Shauni James

Te Arawa carver Peter Akurangi has been in all three Rotorua Sculpture Symposiums and says his experience has built from each one.

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He is carving his peiece from Oamaru stone, a material he normally works with.

Peter says the theme is great because it covers a lot of things.

His sculpture is bringing together the carrying of water, with a calabash at the back, and the gathering of food, with a net at the front.

He says the calabash is also present in local stories, such as Hinemoa and Tutanekai.

Peter says the symposium has been a great experience.

"For me, it's doing something that I love and catching up with fellow sculptors.

"This is every two years - sometimes you don't get to see them in those two years."

He says he also enjoys the thrill of creating and competing to win.

Mount Maunganui sculptor Rex O'Brien works on his piece. Photo / Shauni James
Mount Maunganui sculptor Rex O'Brien works on his piece. Photo / Shauni James

Rex O'Brien, a sculptor from Mount Maunganui, says the symposium is going well and the stone is great.

"It's great to see artists come together like this because we all work differently and you are always learning things from each other.

"It's a pool of knowledge, coming together and helping each other out."

His piece is based around one of the myths of Rotorua, and he is using a few assemblage techniques he has used in the past to give the piece height and presence.

For more information on the 2018 Rotorua Sculpture Symposium finalists go to www.creativerotorua.org.nz.

2018 Sulphur Lake Sculpture Symposium finalists
- Trevor Nathan, Rotorua
- Jamie Pickernell, Rotorua
- Rex O'Brien, Mt Maunganui
- Anna Korver, Taranaki
- Jocelyn Pratt, Thames
- Andrew Deadman, Auckland
- Simone Jacquat, Whanganui
- Oriah Rapley, Taranaki
- Rory McDougall, Hokitika
- Steve Molloy, Taranaki
- Susan Dinkelacker, Whangarei
- Trisha Fisk, Whangarei
- Peter Akurangi, Rotorua
- Natanahira Te Pona, Auckland
- Bodhi John Vincent, Kapiti Coast
- Claire Sadler, Hastings