A plasticine model of racehorse Kiwi winning the Melbourne Cup in 1983 is to be bronzed and installed in Waverley's main street.
The lifesized sculpture has a metal internal structure and was made by Fridtjof Hanson, a retired New Plymouth surgeon, who loved horses and art and was passionate about horse racing.
He died on September 15, but had previously given the sculpture to the Waverley community because Kiwi was owned and trained by local farmer Snow Lupton.
Taranaki has several other public sculptures made by Hanson, including one of runner Peter Snell in Ōpunake.
His Kiwi work shows jockey Jimmy Cassidy in the saddle. It was modelled from a photograph of Kiwi crossing the finish line.
A small committee, including Waverley historian Laraine Sole and Lupton's daughters, has been working to get the sculpture cast in bronze and erected. The committee chaired by South Taranaki councillor Brian Rook.
The jockey Cassidy lives in Australia now and has been asked for permission to show his likeness.
"He is over the moon that he's going to be immortalised in Waverley," Rook said.
Waverley's 2019 town masterplan said a public art project was needed, and in April residents were consulted about whether Kiwi was a suitable subject.
On September 20 South Taranaki District Council allocated $155,000 from the masterplan budget to get the sculpture cast in bronze.
Marton bronze-caster Ross Wilson was to have done the job, but he died in July. His colleague Brett Broughton has agreed to do it, at the same price of $155,000.
Two sites have been found for the sculpture, both in Waverley's main street. One is the council-owned park opposite the soon-to-be-rebuilt Four Square store.
The other is outside Waverley Motors, on private land with the permission of the owner.
The committee is to raise the $50,000-$60,000 for the sculpture's plinth, lighting, security cameras, inscription and video. Rook is hoping for support in kind from the town's tradies.
The plinth will need to be solid. Children are certain to want to climb on to the horse's back, Rook said, and only two of its feet are touching the ground.
The horse Kiwi was bought by Waverley sheep farmers Snow and Ann Lupton for $1000. He was a thoroughbred racehorse, and Ann Lupton liked his chestnut colouring.
Snow Lupton rode him to round up the sheep as part of his conditioning. He won the Wellington Cup in January 1983, but was still considered an outsider for the Melbourne Cup in November.
It was a "last to first" race and he won by a length. He was scratched from the cup in the following year, because a vet said he had damage to his leg.
That was an example of "underhand Aussie tricks", Rook said, and the scratching was controversial. Lupton considered Kiwi could have won the race.
He came fifth in it in 1985, and went on racing until 1987. He died in 1995, aged 18, and is buried on the Lupton farm.