Tasman Leader : February 26th 2015
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2015 WALKERS FOR STABILITY AND COMFORT Home Healthcare Equipment and Mobility Products Visit our showroom at: Cnr McGlashen Ave & Croucher St, Richmond, Nelson Ph: 03 544 7717 www.accessmobility.co.nz maintain your independence 6512031AB Transporter walker: Side Folding Rollator: Adjustable Walker: : Tri Walker: Converts from a walker to a wheelchair with ease Compact side folding walker for easy storag Both seat and handles are height adjustable to meet your specific needs Very light weight three wheeled walker • SALES • SERVICE • REPAIRS • RENTALS The man behind the Cricket World Cup page 7 Sculpture park’s last gasp End of era: Woody Woodward of Arts Unique Gallery and Sculpture Garden is moving on after nearly 18 years at Marahau. He is standing with Moa and Child sculpture. Photo: MARION VAN DIJK By ALASTAIR PAULIN Woody Woodward is sitting in his rocking chair working on a jade carving in his Marahau gallery and sculpture park. He has his tools at his feet, his computer by his side and a cider on the floor. ‘‘Look, I have everything I need right here,’’ he says, gesturing around him. But not for much longer. As he looks around, nearly everything his eye lands on was made by him: his rocking chair, the Arts Unique gallery perched across the road from the start of the Abel Tasman track, and the 40 tonnes of huge wooden sculptures that draw up to 400 visitors a day into the sculpture park and, eventually, into the gallery to talk to Woody. The gallery has come a long way from when he made his first carv- ing at the park 17 years ago. He had been washing dishes at the Park Cafe, across the road from where the gallery sits, and one day in 1997 saw that the structure now housing the gallery was about to be bulldozed. He rushed across the road and struck a deal with the landlord. For $75 a week, he would live onsite and work on his art. He talked with some locals about who he should sculpt and originally intended make his sub- ject Perrine Moncrieff, the woman who conjured the Abel Tasman National Park into being, but instead, after a year, produced a huge carving of Dutch explorer Abel Tasman. ‘‘But after that I wasn’t really satisfied because people would just want to talk about Abel Tasman’’, he says. What he really wanted was to honour the history of the people that had been in the area for hun- dreds of years before Tasman and so over time he created the sculp- ture park that is now dotted with 16 large wooden sculptures of the figures from the Maori myths he loves. ‘‘I didn’t have a plan, it evolved’’, he says. Over the years many other artists have joined Woody and worked on sculptures at the park, as well as being artists in resi- dence who sold their work at his gallery. This summer Woody’s gypsy caravan studios (on wheels so they can be moved when it floods, as the low-lying property does regularly) have been occupied by, among others, a German weaver, a French masseuse, a Canadian clothes maker and an English traveller who Woody is teaching how to make rocking chairs. This is the last full summer the international cast will weave its magic at the sculpture park as Woody’s current 10-year lease comes up for renewal on Decem- ber 31. He’d like to stay but says the rent he is paying to landowners Wakatu Incorporation is already at the upper limit of what a ‘‘hippy-like set-up like mine’’ can support. Woody has bought 10 acres of West Coast rain forest at Whisky Creek, just south of Charleston, and intends to take his beloved giant sculptures – all 40 tonnes of them – there with him. The land in Charleston has old mine workings on it and it is that history that now excites him. He envisages carving more giant sculptures, but these will tell the stories of European pioneers on the West Coast. ‘‘This place has a bit of magic in it and I hope I can create that on the West Coast too,’’ Woody says.
February 19th 2015