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Public Art Group

Current Projects
Kuaka - Earlier this year we signed a contract with Dave Roy from Whakamārama to create a stunning kinetic sculpture featuring Kuaka (godwits), which should be completed by the end of October and will be installed near the beach at Cooney Reserve. Council are planning to further develop this reserve as an entrance to the cycleway/walkway from Ōmokoroa to Tauranga. The amazing journey taken by godwits will thus be echoed in the journey cyclists and walkers begin at Cooney Reserve. We are very grateful for funding from the Ōmokoroa Centre Trust and Creative Bay of Plenty in support of this project.

Mural – We are soon to commence the painting of a mural on the changing sheds at Ōmokoroa Domain (lockdown levels permitting), which will complement the upgrade of the playground area. The original concept design by Pam Robinson will be implemented by the Ōmokoroa Artists, led by Sue Dark and Stella Clark. Funding for this project has again been generously provided by the Ōmokoroa Centre Trust.

Planning for Future Projects
Wall panel in Ōmokoroa Library – We have commenced planning for the installation of a wall panel in the new Ōmokoroa library, from a black walnut log felled in the Crapp Reserve. The panel will be able to be re-located to the new, new library when that is finally completed as part of the new town centre.

Future Sculptures – We have begun conversations with WBOPDC about creating sculptures to feature on some of the new roundabouts/intersections as Ōmokoroa continues to be developed.

These are likely to include the intersection of Prole Road and Ōmokoroa Road, and other roundabouts in Prole Road and possibly Ōmokoroa Road. We have also initiated contact with the developers of the Ōmokoroa Village at Tralee Street, and the Ōmokoroa Town Centre to discuss possible public art ideas.

Working with Pirirākau – We have met with Julie Shepherd, Environmental Manager for Pirirākau, and we are committed to working with our local hapū and engaging with them early in the planning of all public art projects. We look forward to some exciting possible co-design opportunities. 

Membership and Community Engagement
Current Group Members - We said ‘goodbye’ this year to Catherine Christie, with special thanks for her many and varied contributions to the group over a number of years, and we welcomed Natalie Rooseboom and Sue Dark to our group. Our Community Board representative is now Teresa Sage. 

Community Engagement – As part of the inaugural group involved in the development of The Old Library (TOLO) we have created a display board there to let the community know more about public art projects and the work of the Ōmokoroa Public Art Group, and we have contributed features to the Lizard News. We are working on ways to create greater public engagement so that members of the community can easily contribute ideas, and we can invite expressions of interest from a variety of creative artists and groups in the development of new projects.

Alie Henderson,
Ōmokoroa Public Art Group

OPAG members, August 2021
Alie Henderson, Chairperson
Chris Wright, Secretary
Ashley Grant, Treasurer
Teresa Sage, Community Board representative
Pam Robinson
Stella Clark
Natalie Rooseboom
Sue Dark

Our major achievement in the last few months of 2019 was the installation, in October, and public unveiling and blessing, in December, of He Punga: The Anchor Stone, a stunning sculpture by Ashley Grant, on the foreshore of the Omokoroa Domain.

It is fitting at this point to acknowledge the leadership of Janine Birch, as Chairperson of OPAG since its inception in 2010. Janine has been tireless in leading the planning and overseeing the implementation of three significant public art works in the Omokoroa community: The wrought iron panels at Western Ave, The Omokoroa Lizard, and He Punga-The Anchor Stone.

Janine continues to be a member of OPAG in 2020, with Alie Henderson now taking the role of Chairperson, and we welcome two new faces to the group: Ashley Grant, and John Evans.

Current projects include a replacement for our Lizard, which was sadly stolen last year. We have consulted with all those involved in the original sculpture, and we are currently working on a new design for a replacement sculpture. We have had generous offers of sponsorship and support from the local Omokoroa community, and we hope to have a new Lizard in place as soon as possible.

We are actively working on two other projects, in association with Western Bay of Plenty District Council: a sculpture which we hope will be placed at the entrance to the new Cycleway in Cooney Reserve, and a mural which we hope will be painted on the changing sheds at the Omokoroa Domain, as part of the new playground development.

We have now completed a Strategic Plan for Public Art in Omokoroa, which will inform future projects, and we are working with Western Bay of Plenty District Council staff to ensure that public art works are an integral part of the planning for the continued development of Omokoroa.

Alie Henderson, Chairperson, Omokoroa Public Art Group

This year has seen slow progress towards the completion of our third sculpture along Omokoroa Road.

We found and engaged sculptor Ashley Grant to develop our idea of an anchor stone at the point of the peninsula, and turn it into a reality. However, finding a suitable stone proved very difficult and we finally decided on a chunk of Hinuera stone. This met with the approval of the local iwi. There was then a long wait before Hinuera Natural Stone Ltd excavated to the level of dura stone, which is extra hard and best suited to our needs. In February Ashley took delivery of the stone, already cut to basic shape, with generous and free help from Omokoroa Carriers.

At this stage, the carving is almost finished, some rope work will be done around the hole, and all being well, a possible installation and unveiling by Aug/Sept. (I do note I anticipated at last AGM completion by the end of 2017! Good things take time!).

We have received several grants, including a generous one from Legacy Trust, and have up to $3000 from WBOPDC if needed. We held a cake stall recently to raise money for miscellaneous expenses such as repairs and maintenance, Council levies etc.

Major repair work had to be carried out on the Lizard. It had developed a patch of rot on it's left forelimb. This was very ably taken care of by local man Peter Passfield. A closer watch will be kept on the Lizard from now on.

We wish to note the death in March of valued committee member, Margaret Hooton.

Janine Birch


On the 31st of May Omokoroa's Lizard was reported stolen, apparently overnight All efforts have been made by many to find it, with no results so far. The carver Warwick Lilley has suggested a steel cutout using the same pattern and design. This idea is being investigated now.

The site for the installation of the Anchor Stone sculpture has been decided upon, to the satisfaction of OPAG, sculptor Ashley Grant, and Peter Watson and Ashley Hall from the WBOPDC. It will be near the revamped children’s playground, on the seaward site of the path.

The Council has agreed to accepting ownership of all Public Art in Omokoroa, with OPAG maintaining a supportive and advisory role. Therefore progress on both the Lizard and Anchor Stone will be directed through the Council. No more fundraising, installation concerns or maintenance by OPAG.

Chairperson Janine Birch

The committee has progressed steadily this year towards the completion of our next piece of Public Art on the Omokoroa Peninsula. This is to be an Anchor Stone sculpture at the end of the peninsula, near the Omokoroa Boat Club.

We have several applications for grants in the pipeline at present and hope that if they are successful we will have enough money to cover this project. We are trying to avoid going to the Omokoroa community for funds as local residents were very generous previously, with donations towards the Lizard sculpture. However, we would not say no if any private individuals would like to contribute!

It is our hope that the sculpture will be in place before the end of the year.

Janine Birch