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Despicable act of sculpture theft hits Gardens

21 July 2014

Despicable act of sculpture theft hits Gardens

A $30,000 bronze sculpture has been sawn off its fixings and stolen from the Auckland Botanic Gardens in a despicable act of vandalism and theft.

The artwork, titled ‘Tuna’, by renowned Christchurch artist Bing Dawe, was part of the 2013/14 Sculpture in the Gardens exhibition and was purchased for the Gardens’ permanent collection by the Friends of the Auckland Botanic Gardens.

Auckland Botanic Gardens Manager Jack Hobbs says thieves appear to have targeted the Gardens overnight on 20-21 July.

“The bolts attaching the bronze sculpture of a long-fin eel have been sawn clean through, leaving the mounting plate and the spiral carved base,” he says

As they do each exhibition, the Friends purchased this artwork as a gift to the Gardens in November 2013.

“This is sickening,” says Friends’ President Bill Burrill. “This stunning piece belongs in the Gardens and belongs to the people of Auckland.

“It is expertly crafted and tells a story of a species under threat, so had a perfect home in the Threatened Native Plants Garden,” he says.

If anyone has any information on the whereabouts of this sculpture or its theft, they can contact Manukau Police on 09 261 1300 or the Auckland Botanic Gardens on 09 267 1457.

About ‘Tuna’
• By Christchurch sculptor Bing Dawe
• Appeared in Sculpture in the Gardens 2013-14
• Made from carved wood, painted steel and bronze
• Bronze element is 600mm tall, mounted on a spiral turned wooden base. It weighs 90kg.
• It was priced at $30,000 in the exhibition and purchased by the Friends of the Auckland Botanic Gardens at the exhibition’s opening in early November 2013.

• ‘Tuna’ by Bing Dawe in the Auckland Botanic Gardens Threatened Native Plants Garden
• Artist Bing Dawe and Friends of the Auckland Botanic Gardens President Bill Burrill, November 2013.


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