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Source: Auckland Council

A new 5m sculpture with a water feature now sits in Ōrewa’s Moana Reserve.

Created by artists John Mulholland and Philipp Ripa, Airborne depicts a seabird in full flight with a child chasing in excitement, eager to also fly.

The artists say, “The work celebrates the magic and miracle of flight and the utter self-belief and exuberance of childhood.

“The child’s mirror finish reflects movement, while the bursts of colour on the wing tips show changing light and seasons.

“At the heart of the Ōrewa community there is uniqueness, a vision and preparedness to absolutely go for it. Birds fly so can I.”

A favourite spot for his late father, Mulholland holds the reserve dear and says the work upholds the connection between town and beach.

Open to sea views, sitting atop a podium on a 4-tonne foundation anchored by 32 huge bolts, the work is built from high-grade stainless steel that flexes and moves as it responds to the elements.

Hibiscus and Bays Local Board chair Gary Brown says people are enjoying the new sculpture which is becoming a selfie spot.

“Over time people will recognise Airborne and associate it with the Hibiscus Coast. People are interacting with it and that’s without the water switched on.”

Water spray from the top of the ring will be perfect for hot days but has fallen victim to Auckland’s water shortage and won’t be turned on until restrictions are eased.

Funds of $162,000 were allocated to remove the old fountain and replace it with the new sculpture and water feature. The funds had to fit strict criteria and were unable to be allocated to other projects.

The local board is looking at options to replace the old seats.

In 2019, 180 people gave feedback on five conceptual designs, with Airborne the most supported design, at several drop-in sessions and in an online survey.