The Sculpture Walk, Part 2

We took a quick look, last issue, at the sculpture walk from the Railway Station to Oriental Bay. Given the gorgeous summer we enjoyed this year, it wasn't difficult to find a fine day to walk another section — the Meridian Energy Wind Sculpture Walk, near the airport.

If you're energetic and/or a fitness freak, go the whole hog and walk the long trek beside Evans Bay waterfront towards the airport. (The more leisurely could catch the Nos 14 or 24 buses). No sculptures along this Evans Bay section, but the vivid mural on the right-hand wall near Balaena Bay jumps out at you. This bright'n'bubbly bit of street art is by the students and staff from Wellington Polytechnic.

Further round, also on the right-hand side, pause at the row of wooden poles, once part of the Evans Bay Patent Slip. Here ships of all shapes and sizes were pulled up on a cradle from the water for repair or maintenance. The slip gave almost a century's service (1873-1972). On the six old pillars are historical and pictorial accounts of the history of the Patent Slip; whom it operated by and for; and how it actually worked. Intriguing.

The corner of Evans Bay Parade and Cobham Drive is where Meridian's spectacular row of wind sculptures start. Or should start. But where is the kinetic sculpture — the 'Zephyrometer'? Only a sad and shortened trunk remains. It was damaged by a sudden bolt of lightning. At time of writing it is being fixed by artist Phil Price in Christchurch and should be installed sometime in May.

'Urban Forest' by Leon van den Eijkel in collaboration with Allan Brown, is the next wind sculpture along Cobham Drive. Consisting of five spinning cubes, its maker calls it an 'urban tree'. Engineer Brown overcame the challenge of enabling cubes on a pole to spin in response to the wind. The artist-sculptor, van den Eijkel, came to New Zealand from war torn Holland when all the trees in his city were cut down for heating.

Next along is 'Tower of Light' by Andrew Drummond. It uses the wind speed and converts that into light by very simple technology. The stronger the wind speed the more neon rings are lit. Says the artist, "I have used colour as a measuring element and so the sequence goes from green through the spectrum to red. As a result the viewer is able to read wind speed through colour."

My favourite are the glorious windsocks which pay homage to our wind. Their maker, Phil Dadson, a sound artist, calls them 'Akau Tangi' which translates as the sighing sound of the wind. There are eight poles with highly-engineered cones surmounting them. As well as the visual impact, they create a soft keening or flute-like sound on a windy day — a good reason to walk this section rather than always whipping past it in a car.

The final wind sculpture is situated on the roundabout where you turn right for the airport —'Pacific Grass' by Konstantin Dimopoulos. His works focus on relationships between natural forces and their impact on the landscape and 'Pacific Grass' does this to perfection. Given a certain amount of breeze, it's a dance tribute to the wind and, like all these spectacular wind sculptures, it is especially beautiful when lit up by colour at night.

JCD, Bay View newsletter 65, May 2015