Further delays to Hemo Gorge sculpture install

Te Ahi Tupua, the Hemo Gorge sculpture, pictured on October 13 with bracing in place. Photo/Andrew Warner/NZME

There is still no end in sight for the behind-schedule, over-budget Hemo Gorge sculpture with the council unable to supply its updated total cost.

On Tuesday, a Rotorua Lakes Council spokesperson confirmed the installation of the sculpture - which is more than three years behind schedule - was not complete.

The spokesperson also confirmed a date has not been set for the controversial sculpture’s official opening.

However, a question regarding the updated cost of the sculpture was left unanswered.

On March 21 last year, the Rotorua Daily Post reported the cost of the sculpture had risen to $743,029 - an estimated $204,361 over budget.

The council's contribution had risen from $270,000 to $388,000 as a result and other project partners had helped with the funding.

The sculpture's base pictured on October 13. Photo/Andrew Warner/NZME 

The news comes as the council spokesperson provided answers to questions submitted by the Rotorua Daily Post under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act.

Asked if there had been any new challenges since the transferral and initial installation of the sculpture, the spokesperson says “...the challenge remains finalising of the installation [sic]”.

Asked how much longer the council expected the fitting to take, the spokesperson says the council was “working on finalising installation with Kilwell”.

There had been no additional costs as a result of the installation, the spokesperson says, which had cost a total of $388,000.

The inside of the sculpture pictured on October 13. Photo/Andrew Warner/NZM

On Wednesday, it had been six weeks since the sculpture was transferred from Kilwell to the Hemo Gorge roundabout, on September 12.

On October 13, Rotorua Residents and Ratepayers chairperson Glenys Searancke told the Rotorua Daily Post, in her opinion, the delays on the completion of the installation of the sculpture were “appalling”.

However, Evolve Rotorua chairwoman Kelly Shrimpton says at the time she believed the council was “just doing what they can to get it up”.

Questions regarding the installation of the sculpture were submitted by the Rotorua Daily Post to the council on October 13, but after requests for more time a council spokeswoman confirmed the council would not answer the questions, providing this response two days later.

“The council has nothing new or further to add to the story you have already published."

The council did not provide any new or additional information for the October 13 article.

The Rotorua Daily Post then submitted the questions formally under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act, which compels public organisations to respond to requests for information in no longer than 20 working days.

The council was also asked for the total updated cost of the sculpture and responded to the request on October 21 but did not answer the question regarding costs.

The inside of the sculpture pictured on October 13. Photo/Andrew Warner/NZME 

On September 15, Rotorua Lakes Council operations manager Jocelyn Mikaere said the sculpture's inner helix had taken "more manoeuvring than expected" to get it in place as the tolerances were "very tight between the helices".

The inner helix was temporarily fixed in place within the outer helix to restore traffic flow on the day of installation, she says.

At the time Mikaere confirmed parts of the sculpture had been temporarily removed to finish installation of the inner helix to the base plinth, and it was expected that “These tubes and the additional post-installation inner to outer tubes will be installed over the next few weeks”.

Last week, deputy mayor Dave Donaldson said he was “keen as to see the finished product - lights included - and of course, have another official opening”.

The council was asked on Wednesday for further clarification on the answers supplied and for attribution for its comments but did not respond by deadline.

Subscribe to our daily Newsletter


You may also like...


There are no comments on this article.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to make a comment. Login Now