Bargains at sculpture auction


The two-week long stone carving symposium in Oamaru concluded with a silent auction yesterday.

Everyone we spoke to commented on the quality of the sculptures, most of which went for bargain prices.

Joy Harvey’s Wind Song, an Aeolian Harp in Oamaru Stone went for $4000, the highest price paid.

The top bid for Ruth Killoran’s Aegis (Protection) was just  $2100. ( I’m not sure if that reached its reserve).

Allen Harnett won the popular vote with Koru which sold for $1750.

Harnett’s Silver Fern went for $2000.

Many other works, including Trinity, which is in the background of the photo above, sold for only a few hundred dollars.

The stone was supplied by  Parkside Quarry which sponsors the symposium and several artists said how impressed they were with its quality.

Gary Kircher has some more photos at Waitaki Blog.

Playing tourists at home


Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to give the partners of conference attendees a taste of North Otago, the caller told me.

It’s not often I get to play tourists at home so I was happy to accept the challenge to occupy 10 people for three hours. The difficulty wasn’t what to show them but what to leave out.

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We started in Oamaru’s historic precinct where attractions include Lavish Soap,  the New Zealand Malt Whisky Company, and the Grainstore Gallery.

Donna Demente is one of the artists whose work is available in the gallery. She’d parked her car downstairs:


Our second stop was Parkside Garden a two acre testament to the creativity and energy of Linda Wilson and Bob Wilson, of Parkside Quarry where Oamaru stone comes from.

A 15 minute drive from the downlands to the Waitaki Valley took us to Riverstone Kitchen  .  Fortified by a sumptuous afternoon tea we then partook of a little retail therapy in the adjoining gift shop:

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Oamaru Stone “unsuitable” for Central Otago


The Central Otago District Council has deemed Oamaru Stone unsuitable for rural buildings under new planning rules.

Caution over bright colours unrelated to the natural environment I could understand, but Oamaru Stone?

It’s a popular cladding  for several reasons including its relatively modest price and the ease of working with it.

It may not occur naturally in Central the way it does over the hill in North Otago, but it has been used there for more than a century. Even if it hadn’t, people who consider these mellow tones offensive must have rocks for brains:


Parkside Quarry at Weston in North Otago is the sole supplier of limestone for building.

It is also one of the sponsors of the regular stone carving symposium which results in creations like this Rock Ness Monster:

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