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Source: Auckland Council

A community fundraising campaign has been launched on Waiheke to buy a sculpture installed as part of this year’s Sculpture on the Gulf.

The sculpture, Te Werowero, was created by Chris Bailey and was installed temporarily at Matiatia for the March festival.

Locals Dan Harrop and Barry Fenton are driving a fundraising campaign to raise money to keep the sculpture as a permanent fixture at the wharf. 

The artwork both welcomes and challenges those arriving on Waiheke to respect the island’s culture, wāhi tapu (sacred places) and its fragile environment.

The ‘wero’ – a questioning process by which the local people of an area establish the intent of their visitors – is the first stage of the formal Māori powhiri or welcome.

The figure in the artwork represents all people who choose to live on Waiheke. This figure is on guard acting as a Kaitiaki – a guardian for all on Waiheke.

Waiheke Local Board has given its support for the work to stay on the wharf.

Chair Cath Handley said she had spoken to Auckland Transport and the organisation was inspired by the community initiative. 

“Local board members are enthusiastic supporters of the crowdfunding,” Ms Handley said.

The total cost of the project is estimated at around $50,000 which includes the purchase of the artwork, a new stone plinth, foundation work, structural design and consents. 

Bailey has offered to leave the sculpture in place for the duration of the fundraising.

The Sculpture on the Gulf has forgone the commission on the work to reduce the cost for the community.

Anyone wishing to contribute towards the purchase of Te Werowero can make a donation at the Give a Little page.