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Wearing your heart on a ... building?

News release monuments - 1
\Monday, 14 February 2005

Wearing your heart on a ... building?


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When it comes to monuments to love, the Taj Mahal is probably the world's best known shrine to l'amour. And now Auckland is building its own testament to ardour with its citizens playing a lead role in the design.

Perhaps not quite as grand as the Taj Mahal and certainly not as permanent, the City of Sails' monument is Love Letters, an ambitious art exhibition that's part of AK05, the Auckland Festival.

Love Letters celebrates Aucklanders' love of their city, their families, friends and their sweethearts. The free exhibition is sponsored by Auckland's promotion arm, Heart of the City which is calling all Aucklanders to send in love letters.

The letters will be pasted on to the Bucklands Building in Takutai Square behind the Britomart train station in time for the exhibition opening on February 26.

If a similar exhibition in Berlin is anything to go by, thousands of letters are expected says HOT City marketing manager Liz Smith.

HOT City has embarked on a marketing campaign to attract love letters from citizens and celebrities - and any other Kiwi who feels affection for the city.

"We've set up a web site at http://www.loveletters.net.nz/ where people can find out all about the exhibition and there are also some templates on the site in case your creativity needs stimulation," she says.

"When they did this in Berlin the locals went crazy and covered the entire old post office with thousands and thousands of letters. We're expecting Aucklanders will also wear their hearts on the building for AK05 - it's not every day you get to be part of something that's never been done here before."

Love letters can be sent by e-mail direct from the Internet site. If people don't have access to e-mail, they can send a letter to Freepost Love Letters, Heart of the City, P O Box 105 331, Auckland.

"Your letter doesn't have to be to anyone in particular and it's not all about romantic love. It can be love for your country, a friend or relative or even your city - but they'll all have one thing in common and that's love.

"It's fun and there's even an incentive. Every time you send an e-mail from the Love Letters web site you go in the draw to win one of three trips for two to romantic Melbourne. So send in a letter and come on down after February 26 and see if you can find yours," Liz says.

Liz says the messages are specially sealed so they are unaffected by wind or rain. When the exhibition concludes, celebrity letters are to be auctioned in aid of Variety - The Children's Charity.

* The Taj Mahal was built in Agra (North India) by Indian Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died in childbirth in 1631. Vowing to build her a memorial to surpass anything the world had even seen, he brought in skilled artisans and craftsmen from France, Italy, Turkey and Persia and employed a labour force of 20,000. Built of pure white marble, the Taj took 22 years to complete.

ends

Issued for Heart of the City by Pead PR

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