Mount resident opens up over sculpture

Mount Maunganui's Gareth Morgan had hoped to locate a new, landmark sculpture on public land outside his Marine Parade home, and recently took his proposal to Tauranga City Council.

Papamoa arts blogger Rosalie Crawford interviewed Gareth, who saw his proposal narrowly defeated by just one vote.

Rosalie Crawford interviews Mount Maungnaui's Gareth Morgan. Video: Supplied.

Launched in Perth on Australia's Indian Ocean coast in 2005, David Handley's Sculpture by the Sea has a captivating backdrop of long horizons and sunsets and has become a majestic sculpture-packed coastal walk.

I totally get it when David writes: 'I have always loved large community arts events like ‘Opera in the Park' and ‘Symphony Under the Stars' – especially the way total strangers sit next to each other listening to music while enjoying a picnic dinner.”

This sense of community also happens we have the Night Owl Cinema at Mount Drury, when we watch Jamie Harkins create his 3D sand art drawings, or when people wander along the Pilot Bay boardwalk and listen to my piano playing while watching the sun set.

We pause in these moments, and experience something powerful – participating and immersing ourselves in a human expression of art which has in turn immersed itself into the natural beauty around it.

The next day the tide has come in and washed the sand art away, the sun has set, taking those moments into yesterday, or the piano has been wheeled home.

We don't need to ask what it was for, or what it meant. It just is. We were in the moment where it happened, the stars sang, and we knew who we were.

There are few opportunities to enjoy cultural activities that are free.

Recently, I was asked by various members and representatives of our community whether I thought the council should accept Gareth Morgan's offer to pay for a 9.9m high million-dollar sculpture, made by New Zealand artist Phil Price, to be located on the corner of Pacific Ave and Marine Parade.

I happened to meet Gareth, so I asked him what he thought about talking on video so we could present it to the Mount community to hear from him direct about his proposal. He was more than willing, so here's our chat about it.

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whatever Gareth

Posted on 03-12-2015 12:58 | By Tgaboy

How stupid do you think we are!? Your sculpture was little more than a thinly veiled atempt to purchase more sea views from the deck of your McMansion. Leave us the beautiful, natural trees and accept you brought the property with those trees already there.

Thank you

Posted on 03-12-2015 12:59 | By GlenH

Looks like a cool idea. I vote yes. Would love to hear the other side of the story - from those who voted no. Sure there are two sides to this, maybe a video response from those involved? Cheers


Posted on 03-12-2015 13:08 | By rastus

Again the arrogance of man thinking that he can produce anything that is better than mother nature.

Mount Resident

Posted on 03-12-2015 13:17 | By Really

Great new angle calling him a Mount resident.

Glen H

Posted on 03-12-2015 13:51 | By Colleen Spiro

The rate payers would have to foot the bill to re-align the road....also the art would be on Public Land, but privately owned by Mr Morgan....If he sells his property, would he leave the art?


Posted on 03-12-2015 14:02 | By bettie

Replace a beautiful tree with a fake metal one, no doubt just so the cats can't enjoy climbing it!

No Class

Posted on 03-12-2015 14:12 | By Gigilo

We should celebrate the success of hard working kiwi's who set the bar of achievement far higher than many of us dare to dream. Furthermore being prepared to gift an object that could be easily hidden from view in a large estate where the masses would never experience the alluring beauty a fine piece of kinetic art. You haters need to pull your heads in and think what you can do for your community to show the multitudes of visitors that keep this place on the map.

Cheers Colleen

Posted on 03-12-2015 14:17 | By GlenH

Good question regarding sale of house, would like to hear that one explained. We the rate payers fund lots of road projects, None with this sort of return. Love to read healthy (positive) debate.Cheers

The other side ...

Posted on 03-12-2015 14:56 | By Murray.Guy

This is NOT a gift to the community. This is an art work that Mr Morgan wishes to purchase BUT doesn't have the room for within his own property, which would require resource and building consents if on his property. Mr Morgan wants it to add value to his holiday home, NOT to add value to our community. Mr Morgan wants ratepayers to pay for road realignments ($40,000 plus) to accommodate 'his' art work and permission to leave it on our land for up to 20 years. Existing Council policy has to be ignored in regards the pohutukawa as do serious traffic safety considerations. The opposing Councillors did NOT vote against the art work, JUST the conflict with policy, location, cost to ratepayers and the precedent. Cruise ship tourists canvassed are aghast at the prospect of destroying trees and the potential impact on the most amazing natural coastline.

Go away

Posted on 03-12-2015 15:12 | By BJ

A wonderful old Henry ll quote comes to mind (slightly abridged) - "will no one rid us of this troublesome pest!"

John D

Posted on 03-12-2015 15:54 | By john douglas

I love Pohutukawas but there,s no shortage of them at the Mount! We should welcome Gareth Morgan's proposal and stop as a community being so negative about change


Posted on 03-12-2015 16:35 | By begesch

"David Handley's Sculpture by the Sea has a captivating backdrop of long horizons and sunsets and has become a majestic sculpture-packed coastal walk". It says in the article. Long horizons and houses would be more right. Why not put it on the dunes, or somewhere where it really looks great, without having to cut tress, change road curves and uncovering a not very nice looking house wall?


Posted on 03-12-2015 17:23 | By dgk

Why does he want to rip out existing trees? Is this metal beast so big that it doesn't fit without ripping out the natural art we already have? Why doesn't he want to gift it to the city, but rather retain ownership?

Mean spirited

Posted on 03-12-2015 19:33 | By Mount Resident

What is wrong with all you knockers with the huge chips on your shoulders. Why do you always have to see ulterior motives in people's generosity. You don't have to like the idea of a sculpture but do you need to get so personal just because someone has been more successful than yourselves. As if someone would want to gift a million dollar sculpture just to get rid of a couple of mostly pohutukawa trees. Gareth I would advise you to offer it to a city who would have the means to appreciate it . It is quite embarrassing to belong to such a mean spirited community who seem to take such pleasure in knocking successful people down.

Stop eulogizing this opportunist.

Posted on 03-12-2015 20:00 | By ROCCO

Morgan is not a permanent Mount Resident,he is not gifting the 'thing' to Tauranga Council but retains ownership in perpetuity,and he is not putting it on own land but on road reserve. On the other hand he is removing perfectly good trees and he is sticking TCC ratepayers with a road upgrade bill of $44000.Well he and his fawny mates can go take a hike their arguments are pathetic.


Posted on 03-12-2015 20:51 | By JohnMac

Not sure if Mr morgan has any other motive than good intention with his proposal. However the big problem with most art it will only appeal to some and not others. This one doesn't look that great as a sketch however it may be a lot better when erected. 9 meters high is huge so one would really hope it does appeal to the masses. I pass the art at the new motorway junction and the spinifex appeals and the other one on the hill I am adjusting to slowly. Some would like neither and others would like both. Pohutukawa trees are aplenty and one or two less will not make one iota of difference to our lives so that is not an argument, it is totally do we like the sculpture or not.


Posted on 03-12-2015 21:31 | By penguin

.. Morgan was sincere about 'donating' the artwork to the community, he would be happy to see it anywhere other than at his place. Doubtful motives.


Posted on 03-12-2015 23:28 | By Hunterway

Congratulations to the council on rejecting this visual polution and not alowing the mount to become a Disneyland


Posted on 04-12-2015 08:11 | By nerak

I really like the concept, but want to understand, if Mr Morgan is so keen to gift and see this sculpture in place in our city, why he has not considered placing it on the Strand??? Pilot Bay could also be considered, or perhaps it could replace one of the dying Norfolk Pines along Marine Parade. And with installation would go any/all and future (maintenance) costs involved, of course paid for by Mr Morgan. In my mind, that would be a sign of a true and genuine gift.


Posted on 04-12-2015 08:52 | By penguin

...of road realignment etc., imagine the traffic chaos as people 'rubberneck' at this already tricky intersection. In fact, the chaos would begin some distance away since a 9 metre edifice would catch the eye well before the intersection. Another thought

@ Mount Resident

Posted on 04-12-2015 10:37 | By Colleen Spiro

He is not gifting the sculpture....It will remain his on PUBLIC land...If he moves, will it go with him? If it was a gift to the city, it wouldn't have strings attached....He could also pay for the road re-alignment...I can barely afford to pay my own rates


Posted on 04-12-2015 13:21 | By Theway

the tree is a magnet for cats!

Keep it

Posted on 04-12-2015 13:50 | By So

He's anti cats because of the birds. Now he wants to have a tree removed for his statue....... Maybe he thinks the birds will nest on his statue..... I can tell him what they will definitely do to it...:-) Not sure why he can't erect it on his own property and then anyone who may be interested in it can take a look.

Puss in Boots

Posted on 04-12-2015 15:30 | By penguin

Apparently the sculpture/artwork is too large for his property and/or doesn't suit, hence the 'need' to use public space. I wonder what Morgan


Posted on 04-12-2015 18:06 | By Kenworthlogger

Watching the video above you can plainly see that there is more than enough room in his back yard for the artwork. Put it in your own backyard Garath....


Posted on 05-12-2015 11:59 | By SeeSee

Remember all the complaints re the walkway along Pilot Bay. Now it is done and dusted it is a very popular walkway made use of by all ages. Even cyclist want to use it. Now all this sniping at a person who had good intentions. Wonder what they will be sniping about next. It must really make their day


Posted on 05-12-2015 20:32 | By penguin

Sadly you have missed the point of the whole issue. There is no relationship between what Morgan wants and the walkway.

They say paradise

Posted on 06-12-2015 20:06 | By DandP

then put up a parking lot. Hmmm, that could make a good song.


Posted on 07-12-2015 13:01 | By SeeSee

And sadly there is a lot of others who have missed the point, There is such a big difference between a stature that he has offered, and personal attacks on Gareth Morgan, in that case.

Politics of envy?

Posted on 07-12-2015 16:59 | By BullShtAlert

I don't really give a rats about the actual sculpture but the comments and mean spiritedness from some people is stunning. Poor Colleen can barely afford her rates, but that has nothing to do with this. But she rightly points out that he could also pay for the road, small change out odd the million dollar sculpture cost. Murray seems concerned about tree policy but how does that fit with his various views on trees over the years. Policy seems a load of nonsense and hope I don't offend Murray Guy but I'd prefer commonsense over policy any day.

No No No by the usual knockers

Posted on 07-12-2015 20:00 | By Annalist

The no to most things brigade win again led by the usual suspects. My guess is that these same knockers would have turned down the Eiffel Tower or the Sydney Opera House or the Statue of Liberty. But although we won't be getting this art at least we've got policy and bureaucracy and all the reasons for never doing anything. That should please Tga Boy, Rocco, Guy etc. Perhaps they should do something positive for Tauranga themselves? On second thoughts it's easier to moan.

Missing the point

Posted on 08-12-2015 15:05 | By Kenworthlogger

Annalist you have totally missed the point. Im sure that Rocco, Guy or Tga boy would love this artwork as would i if were given to the city to be put in an appropriate spot like the waterfront down the strand etc. Watch the video and you will see he has more than enough room in his own backyard for the scupture but chooses to put it on the public land to save soace in his backyard. Can i do the same with my washing line which i consider art?


Posted on 28-12-2015 13:15 | By peecee09

Morgan's problem is simple, the trees block his view of the Mount. Simple but he is wrong thinking that money will solve his problem.

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