The journey James Cook and his Polynesian navigator Tupaia made nearly 250 years ago is the inspiration behind the theme of this year’s Whangarei Sculpture Symposium.  The sculpture which best depicts the ‘journey’ theme will be unveiled as part of the region’s 2019 national Tuia – Encounters 250 celebrations in 2019 commemorating 250 years since Cook’s ship The Endeavour reached New Zealand.

The Te Au Mārie Trust are responsible for Northland’s Tuia – Encounters 250 programme of events and activities.  The Trust’s co-chair Jane Hindle said “the symposium’s theme ‘journey’ is based on first encounters and meetings, as well as the great traditions and history of exploring and navigating Polynesian and Europeans undertook in their journeys to discover Aotearoa.”

At the completion of the symposium, the winning piece is selected and awarded $6,000 with the sculpture to be installed in a public space within the Whangarei District. This year, the artwork which best interprets the theme will be awarded $4,000 and the artwork will be installed at the Bay of Islands Airport in Kerikeri where Mrs Hindle said it will “welcome not just visitors to our incredible region, but also those returning home.”

“Part of our kaupapa is to create legacies for our region that will remain long after the commemoration events are done. When the opportunity arose to work with Far North Holdings Limited to provide a statement piece of art for the planned upgrade of Bay of Islands Airport, it made sense to partner with Creative Northland’s Whangarei Sculpture Symposium for this significant piece of work.”  The sculpture will be officially unveiled in 2019 as part of Northland’s Tuia – Encounters 250 commemoration events.

Remaining artworks are auctioned off at the end of the symposium.

Sculpting commences after an official welcome on 12 March, with tools down at 1pm on Wednesday 21 March.  The symposium will be open to the public daily between 9am- 5pm.  It will reopen from 2.00pm on Thursday 22 March so the public can have one last look at the sculptures before the live auction commences at 5.30pm.