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1.2 Tonne Speight's Southern Man & Horse Sculpture


This Speight's guy is a true Southern man – a picture of endurance, ruggedness and Southern stoicism – and he and his loyal horse together weigh 1.2 tonnes, stand three metres tall and are sculpted from bronze.

The Southern man sculpture is a gift from Speight’s Brewery to the city of Dunedin as a tribute to the spirit of the South.

Today (18/4/00) it is making its final journey home in an open-backed truck from Christchurch, where it was crafted by South Island artist and sculptor Sam Mahon, to its new home at the Dunedin airport.

The truck departed Christchurch at 7am and is scheduled to arrive at Dunedin airport at 1.30 pm where it will be met by Sam Mahon and representatives from Speight's and the airport.

Sculptor Sam Mahon, son of Justice Mahon, was approached by Speight's to create the bronze sculpture nearly a year ago.

“I had just finished a horse sculpture when Speight's first asked me to make them one. Then they explained that they were in fact after a bronze life-size one, rider included – well then I was certainly listening!”

Speight's brewery manager David Meads said the brewery wanted to give something to the region that all Southerners could relate to and be proud of.

“Sam Mahon has created a masterpiece and what better figure to sculpt than the legendary Southern Man and his horse,” said Mr Meads.

Meads said the sculpture was to be positioned directly opposite the terminals at Dunedin airport, the perfect place for it to welcome visitors to the South, the home of the Southern Man and Speight's.

“Sam is going to landscape the area around the sculpture so that people can easily take photos with it and come up and touch it,” Meads said.

”There’s also a rumour going around that there’s a dozen of Speight's inside the sculpture which just adds to the legend, I guess,” he said.

According to the Centre of Contemporary Art in Christchurch, Sam Mahon’s sculpture is the largest equestrian monument in New Zealand.

The centre’s director Warren Feeney said, “It may also be the largest single cast bronze statue ever made in New Zealand. “

“Few sculptors could have handled the scale of this work apart from Sam. His drawing and draughting skills are such that there is really no one to compare him with,” said Feeney.

Mahon chose to complete most of the sculpture at his studio and workshop in the former Waikari Mill. The final assembling was done at the Forge in Christchurch.

Sam Mahon is aiming to finish installing the sculpture in time to farewell the Highlanders as they leave for South Africa on Saturday, April 22.


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