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Surprise angel brings peace

Lyn Kamo remembers her daughter Sue at statue ‘Grace’ in Masterton. PHOTO/HAYLEY GASTMEIER

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A large statue of an angel which is on trial at a Masterton park is bringing a sense of closure to people who have lost loved ones, the artist says.

Elaine Hurndell spent $15,000 making the sculpture, dubbed ‘Grace’, with the intention of placing it in a private, public space, where people could go to grieve.

In mid-December, Masterton councillors were surprised to find the nine-foot angel standing in Robinson Park, near the town’s northern roundabout.

Masterton Deputy Mayor Graham McClymont was behind the placement, which he earlier said was a two-week trial to gauge the public’s reaction.

He confirmed the decision had not been run past the council.

Lyn Kamo visited Grace yesterday morning to pay tribute to her daughter, Sue, who she lost five years ago to suicide.

“When you’re grieving it’s really nice to be able to come and sit and light a candle in remembrance, and just sit back and reflect somewhere quiet.”

Ms Kamo said the statue was beautiful and unique, and would help those in mourning find closure.

It took Ms Hurndell two years to complete the sculpture, which she moulded from her daughter, Montana, who works for the Department of Conservation.

She said she built the larger than life model to raise awareness about suicide and bullying.

And had been inspired, having made a number of headstones for young people who died tragically.

Ms Hurndell said Grace was proving popular, with dozens of people gathering around it on both Christmas eve and New Year’s eve.

“People lit candles for lost loved ones and everybody leaned on each other as a community, which is exactly what it’s supposed to be all about.”

The trial location of the statue ticked all the boxes, she said.

There was wheelchair access, it was next to a peaceful stream, there was lots of parking, and it was relatively private.

Ms Hurndell said “one in 100” people indicated they did not favour the angel.

Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson said she there was strong community support to keep the statue.

“I popped down there on Christmas eve and the angel did look great.

“There were a lot of people there and I have been overwhelmed by the amount of positive comments about it.”

She said the council would be discussing the topic at its next full meeting.

“We’ll bring it through council and see where we go with it.”

Late last year, council infrastructural services committee chairman Gary Caffell said he was miffed councillors had not been consulted about the trial.

Despite this, he thought the angel was “attractive”, and Churchill Park in Solway would be an appropriate location.

An online petition in support of making Grace a permanent fixture in a public space has so far collected almost 500 signatures.


  1. She’s so peaceful lovely lovely idear thank you. Makes Masterton a special place like angel in paraparaumu great
    Maree resident ?

  2. Beautiful sculpture with good intentions. I think she should stay in the park she is in. I have been there, it is serene. More accessible for people. Suicide is tragic for people, good to have somewhere natural that people can connect and grieve.

  3. I feel for the creator’s tragic loss, but it belongs in her garden. It has nothing to do with anyone but her. People dealing with this type of grief are supposed to be relieved that they now have this ah-hem “Meeting Point”.??… beyond me! The council certainly shouldn’t fund it, and certainly not pay her previous demands of over 10k that she wanted to be reimbursed for. Greif happens in life, you must move on and heal, not go on crusades to erect life like statues of your lost loved ones, and certainly not running a media campaign to get the MDC to fund it. Please don’t put it in a high profile location!… it’s an angel….. tacky..!

  4. Churchill Park in Solway is perfect… It’s very private and there is nothing much else appealing there?
    Although I would have thought the cemetery (or wherever the person is laid to rest) would be the appropriate place to visit and even light a candle…
    Why do we need other places around town to publically mourn our loved ones.
    To me it’s a private thing…
    Suicide is terrible and something no friend or family member should have to experience but I don’t think a statue will change bullying awareness, education does.

  5. It was so special on Christmas eve to go and for each of my children and I to light a candle for their dad, my husband after loosing him in March to suicide.
    It was so moving and seriously a feeling beyond anything else. Elaine really has put her heart and soul into grace and she has the support of so many.
    For those worried about vandalism, Elaine has offered her time if this happens. However, she won’t be alone as her followers will come together to make sure grace stays a picture of beauty ?❤

  6. With no family in Masterton, I now have a place to go when I need a quiet moment of reflection and a little word with those not here for me to talk too. Please leave Grace somewhere close to the CBD so everyone can visit.

  7. I think it is a wonderful idea. People need somewhere quiet and peaceful to go and grieve and remember. I say leave it where it is – it is fairly central there and the nearby stream adds to the atmosphere.

  8. Grace is a labor of love and was created for all the right reasons.. she is beautiful !!
    I think her presence will ‘ Grace ‘ the beautiful town of Masterton . I hope to see her on my next visit there.

  9. Although I am not in Masterton (my home town) I think this is a lovely idea. The statue itself is beautiful and it must be a lovely place to go and remember.

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