A carving created by a helicopter pilot has been crowned people's choice winner at this year's Rotorua Sculpture Symposium.
Susan Dinkelacker's sculpture Geyser won over the public vote, Rotorua Lakes Council said in a statement released this morning.
The statement said Dinkelacker's artwork likened geysers to: "an exuberant young woman: playful and unpredictable. She radiates pleasure in leaping free, for just a moment, from the turbulent waters deep within the earth".
Dinkelacker said the sculpture meant a great deal and she created pieces to have "a positive response on people, so this award validates that".
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"I am delighted."
Dinkelacker had a career as a helicopter pilot but had developed her carving style and skills between flights. Based near Whangarei, Dinkelacker came from a family of woodworkers.
Dinkelacker specialised in 3D sculptures, usually in wood, and strived to reveal the intriguing inner character of whatever she carved - be they birds, creatures or the human form.
Geyser was created during 10 days of carving at the November symposium, which related to the theme Ngā Wai o Rotorua (the waters of Rotorua).
The symposium consisted of 16 new artworks which will join a selection from previous symposia to form an updated Sulphur Lake Sculpture Trail in Government Gardens and Sulphur Point.
Dinkelacker received a $500 Bunnings voucher for winning People's Choice.
The sculpture trail would remain in place until the next biennial Symposium in late 2020 and includes the Supreme Award sculpture, as awarded by symposium judges, created by Rory McDougall (Hokitika) and entitled Waters of Rotorua. This award-winning piece depicts a map of the Rotorua region, representing the 13 main bodies of water alongside rivers and hills.