Hamilton's favourite Transylvanian statue Riff Raff is temporarily on the move as part of a programme of work to rejuvenate Hamilton Central City's south end.
From mid-October through to early 2024 Embassy Park, the home of Riff Raff – the iconic character from the cult status movie The Rocky Horror Picture Show – will be closed to allow for the demolition and construction of the new Waikato Regional Theatre to take place safely.
The Hamilton City Council will use the time to redesign the park to complement the new theatre entrance, and further showcase the Riff Raff Statue.
The statue commemorates the development of the idea and the writing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show by Richard O'Brien - who lived in Hamilton and worked next door to the site of the now-demolished Embassy Theatre where the statue is on Victoria St.
Hamilton mayor Paula Southgate said Riff Raff is a city treasure.
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"Riff Raff is a reminder of one of Hamilton's most talented musical theatre creators, Richard O'Brien. Through him, Riff Raff has become an iconic character which is wonderful for the city. Selfies with Riff Raff are a must-do while in Hamilton and through him we're known around the world."
The city council is working with the Waikato Regional Property Trust and other partners to deliver a world-class theatre and community asset on the site, she said.
"I'm really excited to see work on the ground begin – the theatre is such an exciting project for our city and for the wider region. It will strengthen Hamilton's position as the cultural heart of the region and will open up our city to a huge variety of incredible performances."
"The redevelopment of the Embassy Park is another step in better connecting our city to the river so it's a double win as far as I'm concerned."
The council's unit director of parks and recreation, Maria Barrie, recognises the importance of ensuring visitors can still easily access Riff Raff throughout the park's closure.
"The Riff Raff Statue has stood in Embassy Park since 2004 and is a destination for Hamiltonians and tourists alike. We're currently working through a few options, such as the Waikato Museum forecourt, that could house Riff Raff throughout the construction period, and look forward to confirming his temporary home soon."
The onsite toilet block will remain in place and be accessible to the public through to next January, at which stage the council will ensure an alternative block will be made available.