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Neil Dawson’s Fanfare is here

Neil Dawson’s Fanfare, 2004/15, illuminated for the first time and officially presented on 10 June 2015. Photo by Bridgit Anderson. Courtesy of SCAPE Public Art.

A new permanent landmark can be seen standing tall over the Canterbury Plains today, as Neil Dawson’s Fanfare, New Zealand’s largest public sculpture, was officially presented and illuminated for the first time tonight.
Fanfare has progressed through an extraordinary journey over the past 10 years to find its home in Christchurch, the birth city of its notable sculptor, Neil Dawson. This visionary six-storey-high sphere is covered in 1.5 metre steel pinwheel fans and can be illuminated in a spectrum of colours at night. It started life as a celebration piece commissioned by the City of Sydney to ring in the New Year 2005 and was gifted to the people of Christchurch by the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore in 2007.
“I’m thrilled to see Fanfare installed on the Northern Motorway and touched by the huge support the project has gained,” sculptor Neil Dawson says. “I’m amazed at the complexities of such an apparently simple object. Its installation required a collaborative effort from many others, whose design and organisational contributions helped turn a whim I had into a whimsical artwork. I look forward to getting to know the work in its new site and seeing what sort of life it has.”
In an announcement during the Fanfare dedication ceremony, the Honourable Maggie Barry, Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, revealed that Creative New Zealand had contributed the final funding to secure Fanfare’s future.
This completes SCAPE Public Art’s fundraising target set at the Fanfare Launch Event held almost one year ago in June 2014.
“The SCAPE team has done a wonderful job to reach their funding target and galvanise the people of Canterbury in support of Fanfare. The sculpture will be a beautiful addition to Christchurch’s public spaces, which will hearten and inspire residents and visitors alike,” says Creative New Zealand Chief Executive Stephen Wainwright.
The installation of Fanfare has been a collaborative effort – involving local and national government, the corporate and arts sectors, and members of the public – facilitated by public art project-management specialists SCAPE Public Art.
Mayor Lianne Dalziel says she's enormously excited that Fanfare has found a new home as a stunning gateway to our city.
“For me, this sculpture represents a vision of our regeneration as a city and the rebirth of our local arts scene. At the same time, I am sure it will capture the imagination of Cantabrians and visitors alike as the gateway public art work which links Christchurch city with the Canterbury region,” she says.

“The completion of Fanfare has been a feat of creativity, design, meticulous planning, engineering and construction,” says Deborah McCormick, Director of SCAPE Public Art. “I’d like to sincerely thank and acknowledge everyone who has been involved, including hundreds of people from the community and from the business sector for their support of this legacy. I would especially like to congratulate Neil for this spectacular achievement.
Fanfare can be viewed up close via the car parks on Main North Road and the Northern Motorway off-ramp. Follow the walking path to the two look-outs, complete with legacy boards recognising those who have made the installation of Fanfare a success.
More detailed information about Fanfare and Neil Dawson is available on the website,

Fanfare Timeline
Main events leading to the installation of Fanfare at Chaney’s Corner, next to State Highway 1, entrance to Christchurch City.

In 2007, with the support of Neil Dawson, Lord Mayor Clover Moore, of the City of Sydney, gifts Fanfare to Christchurch Mayor Garry Moore and the people of Christchurch.

July 2007 Christchurch City Council (CCC) invites SCAPE Public Art to work with them to find a location, and to produce and project manage the installation of Fanfare.

December 2007 Fanfare shipped to Christchurch by Mainfreight and stored by Lyttelton Port of Christchurch.

2008–2011 Many different sites explored and discounted.
2012-2013 SCAPE Public Art secures platinum sponsors and funders Leighs Construction, Fulton Hogan and Local Heroes Trust.
September 2013 CCC agrees on Chaney’s Corner site plus ownership and maintenance of Fanfare.
October 2013-October 2014 Engineering schemes produced by: Beca, for the road network and lay-bys upgrade to accommodate the sculpture; Ruamoko Solutions, for the structural upgrade and geotech, and Holmes Solutions, for testing and upgrading the existing fans.
June 2014 Engineering, construction and installation drawings completed – Beca, Ruamoko and Holmes Solutions.
June 2014 SCAPE Public Art launches corporate and community campaigns to raise the remaining $360,000 to Bring Fanfare Home to Christchurch.
August 2014 Audit of Fanfare structural elements.
August 2014 SCAPE Public Art secures $50,000 of the remaining funds through PledgeMe Campaign.
August-September 2014 Consent process finalised.
November 2014 Shop drawings produced by John Jones Steel New Zealand and signed off by Ruamoko.
December 2014 SCAPE Public Art secures $100,000 of the remaining funds through a Canterbury Community Trust grant.
December 2014 Treetech removes trees blocking site.
December 2014-January 2015 Galvanisation of structural elements at CSP Coatings.
December 2014-February 2015 Leighs undertakes remedial work and replacement production of structural elements.
January-February Leighs Construction delineates and excavates site foundations.
February 3 Sod-turning ceremony at the Chaney’s Corner site.
February-April Foundation works continue and base tripod installed.
Feburary-April Fan assembly and delivery to site by Christine Products.
Feburary-March Construction of lay-by, access ramp and drainage by Fulton Hogan.
March Power to site installed by Aotea.
March Foundations poured and tripod support legs stood by Leighs.
April SCAPE Public Art secures $47,000 reaming funding from Creative New Zealand and private donors.
April 14 First fan installed.
April 23 Primary structure for top half erected by Leighs on support scaffolding.
April-May Philips/Aotea/Night Lightning light programming and testing.
May 28 Top half of structure lifted into place.
June 2 Lights installed inside structure by Aotea.
June 3-8 On-site programming and testing of lights, Aotea/Night Lightning/Neil Dawson.
June 10 Site dedication by Aroha Reriti-Crofts, Ngāi Tūāhuriri Rūnanga; Dame Adrienne Stewart, Governing Patron, SCAPE Public Art; Mayor of Christchurch Lianne Dalziel and the Honourable Maggie Barry ONZM, Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage.
June 10 Fanfare’s opening celebrated.
Fanfare Questions and Answers
What is SCAPE Public Art?

SCAPE Public Art installs free-to-view large-scale contemporary public art in Christchurch City. SCAPE Public Art has been installing public works of art and sculptures for 17 years and is the most prolific producer of new contemporary works of public art in New Zealand. SCAPE Public Art is the Christchurch expert in the installation of public art.
What is Fanfare?

Fanfare – a bold, contemporary, public sculpture – is the creation of internationally renowned Christchurch sculptor Neil Dawson. It is 20 metres in diameter, 24 metres high, it weighs 25 tonnes and has 360 separate 1.5-metre-wide wind-powered “pinwheels” covering its surface.
The sculpture was kindly gifted to the Christchurch City Council by the City of Sydney in 2007 and has been installed by SCAPE Public Art Trust at Chaney’s Corner on the Northern Motorway entrance to the city. The work was originally suspended from Sydney Harbour Bridge for the City of Sydney’s 2005 New Year Celebration.

The sculpture, with its free-spinning “pinwheels”, will be lit in response to special occasions in the Christchurch calendar. At this time, when Christchurch has lost many of its landmarks, Fanfare promises to play an important role in creating a dynamic entranceway to the city, and will add a vibrant new identity to the Christchurch cityscape.

What is SCAPE Public Art’s role in Fanfare?
SCAPE Public Art’s is the producer, working with sculptor Neil Dawson and the Christchurch City Council to draw together all the threads in order to make the work happen. This has included site-selection, approvals, sponsorship and fundraising, production of a book, marketing, publicity, community engagement and project management.

What is the history of Fanfare?
Fanfare has had an interesting life. Originally commissioned by the City of Sydney for the celebration of the 2005 New Year, it was raised from a barge at midnight and suspended from Sydney Harbour Bridge, where it remained for a period of three weeks. In 2007, with the support of Dawson, the Lord Mayor of the City of Sydney, Clover Moore, gifted it to the people of Christchurch. SCAPE Public Art was approached by the Christchurch City Council to produce Fanfare for Christchurch later that year.
Who is Neil Dawson?

Neil Dawson is a Christchurch-born sculptor, who has produced many public sculptures throughout New Zealand, Asia, Australia and Britain.
Some of Neil's sculptures include Chalice in Cathedral Square, Christchurch; Ferns in Civic Square, Wellington, and Feather from Afar in the International Finance Centre, Pudong, Shanghai, China.

Neil was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2004.
Neil Dawson says, “Fanfare is a work that was designed as a celebration and a greeting to the city of Sydney. I am delighted that Fanfare has been installed in my home town at a prominent site. After six years of looking for a perfect site for this sculpture, the Chaney’s Corner site on the Northern Motorway is my favoured location. My aim is that Fanfare will become a celebration and an icon of the dynamic, cultural city that we are building.”

Visit for more information on Neil Dawson and his artworks.
Who has been a part of Fanfare funding?

The Christchurch City Council was gifted Fanfare in 2007 and approached SCAPE Public Art to take care of producing and installing this artwork in Christchurch. This $2 million gift from Sydney required a $1.3 million upgrade for Christchurch. The majority of funding ($950,000) has been provided directly by local businesses, individuals, local and national government and trust grants for which SCAPE Public Art is incredibly grateful. The Christchurch City Council made a generous contribution of $350,000 towards the installation of Fanfare. We know we have a low-maintenance structure that will last a long time.
What safety precautions have been put in place?

We have enhanced and improved the safety of the roading network in the area to accommodate the sculpture. Improvements include a perimeter fence, which has been road-tested to NZ Transport Agency standards, and directional signage. There are two lay-bys for parking to allow for safe public viewing.

Has the social and environmental impacts of installing Fanfare been considered?
Yes, several locations in Christchurch were considered for Fanfare before the final site at Chaney’s Corner was chosen. Numerous social and environmental factors were taken into consideration when determining this site as suitable, including sight-lines, impact upon drivers, the sound from the fans, long-term land availability, minimising risk of bird strike and traffic safety. The NZ Transport Agency and the Christchurch City Council agreed that Chaney’s Corner is the best location for Fanfare as it achieves the objectives set out for the sculpture and will not compromise the safe and efficient operation of the Northern Motorway approach to the city.

What are the engineering requirements of installing Fanfare in Christchurch?
Originally designed to last only 15 days, each of Fanfare’s 360 wind-propelled pinwheel fans has been re-engineered with a specialist braking system so they’re capable of withstanding 50 years of Canterbury’s nor’-west winds up to 180kph.

Why is Chaney’s Corner on the Northern Motorway the best site for Fanfare?
As Neil Dawson, the sculptor of Fanfare, says, “The Chaney’s Corner site is so good because it’s set in a landscape. Because of its size, the sculpture is not something you can put in the middle of a roundabout. It will be experienced by thousands of people every day because of this position at the Christchurch end of the Waimakariri Bridge.”

Neil Dawson also believes that the best vantage-point to view Fanfare is from 50 metres away, making this site ideal for viewing. To add to this, Fanfare on its Northern Motorway site at Chaney’s Corner, will have an average of 49,500 motorists a day passing by the sculpture.


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