Bargains at sculpture auction

November 23, 2009

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.


Waitaki Dam’s 75th birthday

October 26, 2009

The Waitaki Dam was the first of eight to be built on the Waitaki River and the last to be to be built by the pick and shovel method .

Construction started in 1928. The decision to use labour rather than machines was a deliberate one to provide work during the Depression but it wasn’t easy work:

. . . working conditions were hard with cold winters, flooding, and earthquakes to work through. The work force often toiled in knee high water, and lived in temporary housing near the site. 

It was during these construction years that Kurow’s Presbyterian Minister, later to become Sir Arnold Nordmeyer, and local doctor Dr Harold McMillan, saw the working and housing conditions and the many who camped near the site hoping for work.  As a result these two men began the initial thinking around what was to become one of the world’s first social welfare assistance programmes – the Social Welfare Act (passed by Parliament in 1938).

The dam was commissioned in 1934 and Meridian Energy, which now owns it, hosted public celebrations for its 75th anniversary yesterday.

David Bruce  covered the dam’s history and interviewed some of the people who worked on it for the ODT.

Waitaki’s Deputy Mayor, Gary Kircher, blogs on yesterday’s celebrations.

This photo of the dam was taken earlier this year when Meridian was spilling water becasue the lakes were too full.

waitaki 09


Did you see the one about:

October 14, 2009

There’s a frickin’ elephant in the school room at Not PC – on being hooked on phonics.

Treasure hunting  at Waitaki Blog on the anchor’s away and back.

Pie eyed at Roarprawn where today’s taste doesn’t live up to yesterday’s memory.

LMNO Key  – goNZo Freakpower  s(p)ells out the (p)roblem of a missing letter.

Yes you have found us out – The Hand Mirror asks, Y?

Twas the night before the announcement – Cactus Kate spots Machiavelli in Auckland’s lab saga.

Science or magical thinking? at Sciblogs – Alison Campbell takes a scientific look at homeopothy.


Reasonable costs or ridiculous?

September 23, 2009

Individuals and businesses aren’t the only ones to have problems with the time and expense involved in negotiating their way through the resource consent process.

Over at Waitaki Blog, Waitaki District Deputy Mayor Gary Kircher posts on the difficulties the Waitaki District Council had with Environment Canterbury when trying to renew a water consent for the township of Otematata:

This is a township with approximately 450 ratepayers. It had a consent to take water, nothing substantive had changed and the consequences of the consent being refused was the death of a township.

The application was made in 2001. 8 years later and at a cost of $70,000, we have received a consent. $40,000 of that cost is the amount Ecan charged us for processing the application. The remainder is largely consultant fees, which I suspect should be largely unnecessary for a renewal where the environmental effects are known and fully understood.

If it takes 8 years and $70,000 to renew an existing consent where nothing substantive has changed, how much does it cost and how long would it take to process a new consent application or an existing one where there had been significant changes?

If this a reasonable recovery of costs, they need to look at what they do and how they do it. Incurring those sorts of expensives for processing something which should be simple appears to be nearer the ridiculous end of the reasonable spectrum.

On the subject of Ecan, the vote of no confidence in chair Sir Kerry Burke is scheduled for the council’s meeting tomorrow. The Press discusses that in an editorial.


Naked emperor wins Waikato art prize

September 9, 2009

There more than a whiff of emperor’s new clothes about modern art.

People are too scared to admit they don’t understand, or like it, in case they look stupid.

When I look at a work which bemuses me I ask a simple question: could I do it? If the answer’s yes then I don’t consider it’s art.

I’d have no trouble creating something like the pile of rubbish which won the Waikato National Contemporary Art Award and therefore have a great deal of sympathy for the artists who’ve rubbished the win.

Meanwhile, down here the Waitaki District Council is mulling over the membership of a committee which will be charged with the placing of art in public places.

Deputy Mayor Gary Kircher posted on the issue at Waitaki Blog  and the ODT reports councillors are concerned that the committee will be too arty farty.

It’s a vexed issue and as the judge in the Waikato competition has illustrated all too well, one person’s art is another’s pile of rubbish.

Arty farty or not, I hope the people who end up on the committee take care to ensure that public places in the district aren’t populated by a whole lot of naked emperors.


Did you see the one about . . .

August 23, 2009

Man vs Mutt – the Skeptical Doctor on why it’s better to be sick as a dog (Hat Tip: Not PC).

The Weldon Index – Cactus Kate’s CEO income assessment tool.

Hello Sailor – Quote Unquote spots a floating double entendre.

Another Day at the Office  – Waitaki Blog’s working view.

Competitive mothering, a non-contact sport, confessions from a real mother from Eleanor Black at Pundit.

A get-rich quick scheme – Lindsay Mitchell adds what just about everything is costing us.

So that’s how it works – In A Strange Land shows how the sewing machine works.

Truly Glorious – Laughy kate luaghs at a fancy dress party failure.


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