Plans for 'The Dibble' sculpture in Wānaka revealed

by Kim Bowden - Jul 10, 2024

Plans for an artwork by renowned Kiwi sculptor Paul Dibble proposed for the Wānaka lakefront have been revealed.

For now it is being referred to as 'The Dipple' and members of the Wānaka-Upper Clutha Community Board are being asked to approve a suggested location for it beside Lake Wānaka, in-between the Wānaka Watersports Facility and 'That Wānaka Tree'.

The artwork, which appears to depict a woman seated, has been donated to the Lakes District Arts Trust.

A tree stump marks the spot and it would be removed and replaced with the artwork (Image: QLDC report).

Although the donor themselves wishes to remain anonymous, their family has specified the location as their preference.

The arts trust will foot the bill for the installation of the artwork, which it will retain ownership of.

Mr Dibble died in December, aged 80.

He was born in Thames and raised on a farm on the Hauraki Plains.

In 1967 he graduated with a Diploma of Fine Arts with Honours from the University of Auckland, before making a name for himself as a sculptor particularly skilled working with bronze.

Later in life, in 2000, he established his own bronze foundry to make larger works - many of which have become landmarks across the country.

His service to the arts was recognised by appointment as a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2004. 

He was commissioned to produce the New Zealand War Memorial in London, which was unveiled by Queen Elizabeth II at Hyde Park Corner in 2006.

Other works feature in the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, the Dowse Art Museum, Te Manawa in Palmerston North, and the Christchurch Art Gallery.

The Wānaka-Upper Clutha Community Board will meet on Thursday at 10am at the Lake Hāwea Community Centre.

Members of the board also have the option to direct the council to consider other possible locations in Wānaka for the sculpture.

However in a report presented ahead of the meeting council staff have advised the prominence of the proposed site "reflects the high aesthetic value of the artwork and the professional standing of the creator".

"The artwork will provide a creative and interactive addition to the Wānaka lakefront and be enjoyed by both residents and visitors," staff say in their report.

The Lakes District Arts Trust, formerly known as the Aspiring Arts and Culture Trust, was set up by Council in mid-2000 and its objectives are to develop, foster and promote the arts and cultural identity of the district.

The trust has a mandate from the council for the provision of public artworks for the district.

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