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Increase in sculpture cost

A computer-generated image of the Ascension sculpture above the roundabout. PHOTO/FILE

By Jake Beleski
[email protected]
An increase of around $34,000 in projected costs means Masterton’s wait for the Ascension sculpture to be installed at the town’s northern roundabout is set to be extended again.
Neil Dawson’s sculpture, to be suspended on wires above the roundabout, is nearing completion in Christchurch.
The internationally acclaimed sculptor and former Masterton resident created the 10-metre high double helix sculpture, and is nearing the final stages of the building phase.
Originally it was hoped the sculpture would be installed in mid-2016, but delays pushed that date back towards Christmas.
The wait is set to be extended again after a significant increase in the project’s overall costs.
Aratoi Foundation chairman Bob Francis said the original cost estimate of $286,000 was now unrealistic.
“Costs have increased recently, up to about $320,000.
“We’ve got plenty of fundraisers planned, and we’re still confident of getting there.”
Trust House had already pledged $150,000 towards the project, along with $50,000 from Lands Trust Masterton.
A $5000 grant had also been received, but the other $115,000 would have to come from other sources, Mr Francis said.
“Off the top of my head we raised about $30,000 at our art auction last year, and we have money saved from previous years’ fundraising.”
A boosted campaign had been set up to try and raise what was thought to be the final $14,000 needed for the project, but fundraising had proved “a bit of a challenge”.
With more money now needed, further delays were inevitable.
“All it’s doing is just delaying the installation a wee bit, that’s all,” he said.
Despite the increase in costs, progress was still being made in other areas.
“I haven’t talked to Neil Dawson in the last couple of weeks, but the sculpture is nearly complete.
“The poles and the foundations are done, and then there’s a period of about three weeks while the concrete matures and then they’ll bring it through and put it up straight away — it’s a wonderful project and there’s a big commitment to get it finished.”


  1. Just seen the artist impression as to how this work will be suspended (in today’s paper). I’m afraid it does nothing to enhance the sculpture, just the opposite. Probably could have spent this money on something else. Disappointing!

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