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Call For Sculptures For Hauraki Rail Trail

Call For Sculptures For Hauraki Rail Trail

The Thames Public Art Trust has launched an open design competition to choose one or possibly more sculptures for the Kopu to Thames section of the Hauraki Rail Trail.

Anyone can submit a design, or a concept, for either a piece of sculpture to sit along the trail, or propose something more utilitarian such as a bench for a rest stop or a shelter which could potentially double as an information stop.

The only limitation is your imagination.

The Thames Public Art Trust has a Thames Community Board grant of $15,000 to help pay for the making and installation of the winning design and a pledge of $15,000 from Smart Environmental Managing Director Grahame Christian.

The sculpture trail idea is the brainchild of Thames architect and art lover Rob Johnston.

"I went to York Sculpture Park in England in 2016 and I was really impressed," he says. "I've had a long-term interest in sculpture. It's something that needs a lot of space. I've cycled the Hauraki Rail Trail and thought we might be able to put something here.

"That was the germ of the idea," Mr Johnston says. "I was put on to the Thames promotion plan and saw the idea in that of leveraging off the Rail Trail with kinetic sculptures along the trail between Kopu and Thames - it goes to show you there are no original ideas!"

The Thames promotion plan is an ongoing work programme to optimise the attractions in Thames to encourage more visitors. A Thames-focused website promoting what's on offer locally is one result, and there has been much behind-the-scenes work going on to better integrate these offerings into a variety of cohesive packages and to educate business operators on the opportunities available.

Mr Johnston then teamed up with the Thames Public Arts Trust to apply for the Community Board grant to fund the first sculpture that will result from the competition.

The eventual idea is to have sculptures dotted along the trail that will act as "breadcrumbs" to draw people along. Down the road, they could potentially link up with the Michael Smither's installation,Harmonic Assembly (pictured above), which is on the Coastal Walkway near the foot of Burke Street.

Submissions to the competition can be for either a sculptural work, or a utilitarian item that fills the need for rest stops (eg seating, picnicking, bicycle stands, or rest stops and information points.

"That really opens up the competition to people who aren't artists but have a concept that we could then undertake," Mr Johnston says.

Entries should be delivered by 10 January 2018 to the Thames Public Art Trust in any format the submitter wishes, including drawings (freehand or digital), images, models or a completed work.

Deliver by hand or post to 501 Brown Street, Thames, or email to

Download the full competition brief here. Follow the competition on the art trust's Facebook page.

"If we get a number of good submissions we will be seeking additional funding from other sources to install more than one sculpture," says Mr Johnston.

The judging will be done anonymously - all the judge will see is the design itself, not the name of the entrant.

The entries will be exhibited to the public after the competition closes on 10 January until 31 Januaryat a venue to be determined, and there will be an opportunity for all to vote for a people's choice winner during this time.

Our Mayor Sandra Goudie thinks the competition and the bigger sculpture trail idea is great.

"We have a plethora of talent on the Coromandel that we can tap into for ideas like the sculpture trail," she says. "This will really add value to what's going on in Thames, both for locals and visitors alike."

"As Mayor I'll keep on telling everyone I meet about the wonderful work being produced on the Coromandel. Our Community Boards support the different arts activity in their areas in different ways, including grants, like this one to get the sculpture trail idea up and running."


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