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A bit of art before isolation

By Admin Whangarei

Whangarei’s sixth biennial Sculpture Symposium was held at the Hihiaua from 9 – 19 March 2020 and was proudly supported by Ray White Whangarei.

Run by Creative Northland, the Whangarei Sculpture Symposium is a unique arts event held on a biennial basis along Whangarei’s Hatea Loop incorporating live sculpture where the public are able to interact with working artists as they sculpt their individual pieces and experience uncut stone and wood transform into something quite extraordinary.

Whangarei’s Hatea Loop is a 4.2km fully accessible walkway that circles the Hatea River – weaving past restaurants, shops, markets, yachts, parks and industrial areas and along which lies a trail of permanently installed sculptures including the winning sculpture from the 2016 Whangarei Sculpture Symposium ‘KaitakiManu’ by Rex O’Brien, and another winning sculpture from the 2018 Symposium, ‘Intrepid Journey’ by Steve Molloy which has recently been placed in Bascule Park alongside the Ray White Whangarei Office, also on the Hatea Loop. Ray White Whangarei have just celebrated 2-years in their purpose built office at 131 Port Road, alongside the award-winning Whangarei’s Te Matau ā Pohe bridge on The Hatea Loop.
Artists worked for 10 days creating sculptures around this year’s theme of  ‘Regeneration – renew, restore and reclaim’ focusing on the natural environment and the preservation of our natural resources; water, land, air and coast.
At the end of the symposium the sculptures were judged with several cash awards distributed by Whangarei District Council and Resene, before the remaining sculptures were auctioned to an enthusiastic crowd by Ray White Auctioneers, James Alexander and Peter Ogle onsite at the new Hihiaua Cultural Centre. Despite Covid-19, which had an effect on the team’s official ‘client night and pre-auction event’ numbers, there was great attendance and enthusiastic bidding which saw the hammer fall on most of the sculptures on auction night.
The Ray White Whangarei and Tutukaka Team supported the symposium through auctioneering as well as funding from their We Can Help With That program – a major independent funder in the Whangarei District distributing grants for charitable, cultural, philanthropic and recreational purposes. Money comes from donations made by the Ray White Whangarei and Ray White Tutukaka teams who set aside a percentage of funds from every property sale and lease.
“Creative Northland has an ongoing commitment to making sure that the creative industries sector in Northland is dynamic, thriving, influential and productive, and we were proud to be able to help.  Events such as this help celebrate our sense of place and we acknowledge the valued and vital contribution of people to Northland’s creative economy.
“We are dedicated to seeing our local communities develop by investing in people, places and participation. ” said Ray White Whangarei Co-Director, John Monteith “Through our We Can Help With That program we are committed to supporting increased access to opportunities for the Whangarei community, a thriving environment, cohesive communities and thriving families across generations.
“It is events such as this that build on the region’s artistic, cultural and heritage strengths and set out a path towards realising the social, economic and environmental benefits that creativity brings to Whangārei. With our offices, and the Hundertwasser Arts Centre,  also on the Hatea Loop, we felt there was already a natural synergy.”
The next Whangarei Sculpture Symposium will be held in 2022.
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