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Ascension lights up

The lighting design by Courtney Norman makes the sculpture appear to be “ascending”. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV



The Ascension sculpture was unscathed by gale force winds which struck the region on last week, passing a major test.

And the sturdy Masterton public artwork has been taken to new heights with a lighting setup that will see it illuminated every night of the year.

Four stationary computer-controlled lights were installed by Laser Electrical around the roundabout last week.

The Neil Dawson sculpture valued at around $340,000 was raised last month, above the town’s northern roundabout on State Highway 2.

It was commissioned by the Aratoi Foundation which raised the funds, mainly through community trusts, over a three-year period.

Masterton lighting designer Courtney Norman said the intention had been to add a sense of fluidity to Ascension after dark.

It now would appear as if it was “ascending”, and the lighting software allowed all colours of the rainbow to be used.

“I designed the lighting sequence to give movement and life to the sculpture at night.

“We wanted it to stand out and look as great as it does during the day.”

Aratoi Foundation chairman Bob Francis said this had been achieved, and the lights would come in handy at Christmas to give Ascension a festive feel.

He was pleased the artwork had stood up well to the short, sharp storm that swept over the country last week.

“It never missed a beat. From an integrity point of view, we are very confident.”

The foundation and the internationally-recognised sculptor, Mr Dawson, will retain responsibility of the sculpture for six months.

Then the management and maintenance will be transferred to Masterton District Council.

Mr Francis said most people had been “overwhelmingly supportive” of Ascension.

“People talk to me every day and 90 per cent of them are positive . . . there’s still a section of the community that don’t get it or don’t agree with it, but to be honest I’m pretty relaxed with that.

“People can have their views.”


Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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