An artists impression of the six miniature Len Lye wind wands set to be installed in just one month's time.

An artists impression of the six miniature Len Lye wind wands set to be installed in just one month's time.

Six waving wands to be installed along New Plymouth Coastal Walkway

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When six silver sticks appear on New Plymouth's Coastal Walkway, you'll be forgiven for wondering if the Wind Wand has had babies. 

The six Waving Wands will be unveiled at the East End Reserve in December as part of a joint effort between Art in Public Places Trust chair Terry Parkes and Len Lye Foundation chair John Matthews.

"This has been our biggest project yet," Parkes said.

As part of a funding agreement with the New Plymouth District Council (NPDC), the Trust must commission a new art piece every three years.

Though NPDC gives the Trust about $50,000 a year, Parkes said the Trust has a substantial number of fundraisers to assist with finances.

"We've raised about a third of the costs and we still have some more fundraising to do." he said.

The $150,000 paid for the Waving Wands did not include GST.

The wands will sit atop a small hill at the East End Reserve off the Coastal Walkway, next to outdoor cafe Paris Plage which opened its doors for the summer on Friday.

Five 12 metre wind wands will be set in a circular fashion, with a 14 metre wand in the centre.

They will be installed sometime in December. 

The "miniature wands" will look similar to the original 48 metre kinetic sculpture and will have LED lights underneath that will light up the wavering red bulbs in the night sky.

"They will be far more mobile than the big Wind Wand," Matthews said.

"It will seem as if they each will have their own personality."

Matthews said he could envision visitors having a picnic on the synthetic turf underneath the waving artwork.

And while the dancing wands may wobble about, Parkes was un-moving in his stance about the installation.

He said that while he expected some backlash from community members, he thought New Plymouth would come to appreciate the lit-up Len Lye work.

"I accept artwork isn't for everyone," Parkes said.

"At the end of the day, we have to have a Trust that can take criticism on the chin and I'm happy to do that."

He said it was vital for people to understand that the Trust does not judge artwork, rather entrusts other art experts to source the best for the city.

"We're just a Trust that makes things happen," he said.

And while "all of Len's work is location specific", Parkes said the six new wands would become a destination for walkway users.

"It will be a place that visitors could see Len Lye works when the gallery is closed," he said.

"We should be rejoicing."


- by Brittany Baker




"It will be a place that visitors could see Len Lye works when the gallery is closed" - Terry Parkes

Chair of Art in Public Places Trust Terry Parkes and Len Lye Foundation Chair John Matthews imitate what is going to be newest Len Lye installation 'Waving Wands' at the East End Reserve. Photo Simon O'Connor/Fairfax NZ

Chair of Art in Public Places Trust Terry Parkes and Len Lye Foundation Chair John Matthews imitate what is going to be newest Len Lye installation 'Waving Wands' at the East End Reserve. Photo Simon O'Connor/Fairfax NZ