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