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Stone sculptures at Wainui Reserve approach 10-year anniversary

Atop the hill looking down on Wainui Beach among the flax and landscaped gardens sits the Four Directions Sculptures – four sculptures carved out of Hinuera stone – and 2012 marks ten years since the sculptures were placed at the reserve in January 2002.

A project that was originally coordinated by Deborah Fenton along with Jenny Rhodes, Andre Te Wheoro and Wayne Morris from the Raglan Community Board, the sculptures were born out of the Community Employment Group’s initiative to provide opportunities for unemployed people in Raglan.

Te Aturangi Clamp, a Maori sculptor who has received accolades for his carvings both in New Zealand and overseas, primarily tutored the group as well as serving as an inspiration.

“I guess the main inspiration was my love for the area, quite oddly the idea came from a dream actually and working with Te Aturangi — it just seemed like the right thing to do,” says Deborah.

While the tutors were there on hand to teach the necessary technical skills, Deborah says that the ideas for the Four Directions themselves arose from a brainstorm the group had discussing their perceptions of direction and their experiences living in Raglan.

The sculpture represents different directions with each carving representing north, east, south and west. What some may not know is that underneath these sculptures lie four crystals, buried before the sculptures were placed — an extra guitar lies under the ‘North’ stone, buried there by Brian Ruawai, who took part in the course.

Ten years on, the sculptures are still standing strong if not a little weathered by the elements and the people that were involved in the course have also moved on to see various successes.

Tai Meuli, who participated in the course has gone on to become a much acclaimed stone carver, commissioned to produce work for the Vero Excellence in Business Awards and the winner’s trophy for the V8 Supercars.

Revisiting the stone sculpture site Deborah says, “After all these years it’s so nice to watch people enjoying the sculptures. Its crazy to think that we created them not realizing what a huge impact they’d have – I feel very proud.”

Maki Nishiyama

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