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Sculpture Takes Flight At Mission Bay

Sculpture Takes Flight At Mission Bay

A new public sculpture being installed at Mission Bay’s Selwyn Reserve this week celebrates the achievements of the famed local flying duo, the Walsh brothers.

Leo and Vivian Walsh made the first successful powered flight in New Zealand on 5 February, 1911 in their homemade plane the Manurewa (or flying bird). They went on to launch the first flying boat in the southern hemisphere and established New Zealand’s first flying school.

Inspired by the pioneering aviators, acclaimed artist Fred Graham has created a gigantic bird from titanium rods. The bird has a wingspan of 6m and will be suspended 6m high by stainless steel wire.

Councillor Toni Millar, deputy chairperson of the Arts, Culture and Recreation Committee says, “Fred Graham’s interpretation of the Manurewa embodies the spirit of the Walsh brothers’ enterprise, which played such an integral part in the history of Mission Bay”.

The project was initiated by the Mission Bay-Kohimarama Residents Association and funded mainly by the Eastern Bays Community Board. A design competition held in 2004 attracted over 40 submissions. Four artists were selected to develop concept plans - George Andrews, Benjamin Barrett, Andrew Drummond and 2005 winner Fred Graham.

The judges were Auckland City Council senior arts planner Warren Pringle, te tuhi – the mark gallery director Cam McCracken, Mission Bay Kohimarama Residents Association chairperson Ludy Colenbrander and Eastern Bays Community Board chairperson Toni Millar.

Mr Graham‘s public sculptures can be found at the Auckland Domain, Auckland Botanic Gardens, Auckland’s District and High Courts, the Archives New Zealand building in Wellington and the United Nations Memorial Cemetery in Korea.

Mr Graham will install his sculpture this week with his long-time engineer Rex Erikson and council contractor Wiltek Maintenance Ltd. A cherry picker will be used to suspend the bird, which will be trucked in from Waiuku.


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