Palmerston North Public Sculpture Trust

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The Palmerston North Public Sculpture Trust was formed in 2006 by members of the local arts and business community who saw an opportunity to enrich the central area of the city.

We had seen the impact that high quality public sculpture makes to cities both in New Zealand and overseas. Our intention is to create greater public access to sculpture in Palmerston North, raise the profile of the arts, and ultimately add to the vitality of our city centre.

It is encouraging to see both locals and visitors, photographing themselves alongside the sculptures we have installed; sitting on them, touching them, walking through and underneath the works; taking an interest in and making them a part of the Palmerston North experience.



Funds for the project are raised by donation and matched with a contribution from the City Council. On completion, each sculpture is gifted to the city of Palmerston North, creating a collection of significant high quality contemporary artworks that can be enjoyed for many years to come.

The Trust thanks all of those who have already been involved, donated, supported, advised and engaged with this project, and looks forward to continuing our work in the years ahead.

This website records our sculpture installations to date.

1 Numbers Thumb
2 Returning Column Thumb
3 Cityscape Thumb
4 United Divided Thumb
5 Body Language Thumb
6 Whos Afraid Thumb
7 Giants Amongst Us Thumb
8 Ghost Tower Thumb
9 Huruhuru Thumb



1 Numbers Detail


by Anton Parsons

First sculpture commissioned by the Palmerston North Public Sculpture Trust

On Sunday September 9th 2007 the first sculpture commissioned by the Palmerston North Public Sculpture Trust was formally unveiled in its site in Coleman Mall.

The sculpture is by artist Anton Parsons, who lives in Auckland but grew up and went to school in Palmerston North. He has had extensive experience with large works in Wellington and Auckland as well as numerous works in public art collections. It is titled "Numbers" and is a joyful, celebratory piece made up of a series of stainless steel cubes joined in a loop with random numbers in sheet bronze riveted on. The numbers could portray anything from secret codes to mathematical formulae to ordinary things like the first building blocks of a child's learning with no particular intent asserted by the artist.


2 Returning Column Detail

Returning Column

by Greg Johns

Located on the round-about on Main Street and the Square.

March 30th, 2008 saw the unveiling of the second sculpture by the Palmerston North Public Sculpture Trust. Located on the round-about on the junction of Main Street and the Square, it is titled "Returning Column" and was made by South Australian based artist Greg Johns, who has a significant history of sculpture practise.

The work is five metres high and is made of Corten Steel and has a thin layer of rust that makes up its orange-brown colouring (although it rusts very slowly, at a rate of about 1 mm every 100 years).

Johns work is influenced by a range of sources including Buckminster Fuller, a philosopher who studied patterns in the universe for use as structures, sub-atomic particles and cultural symbols, in particular the circle. In 1980 he adopted the use of what he called the "wave column" which we can see in the work here, based loosely on electromagnetic wave patterns and the heat shimmer of Australian arid landscapes.


3 Cityscape Detail


by Guy Ngan, 1980

Cast aluminium, 6 metres long. Located on the library wall by the George Street steps, Palmerston North

Cityscape by sculptor Guy Ngan was originally made for the Eastern and Central Savings Bank for their premises in Broadway. When the building was sold, at 6 metres long, it was too big for the re-developed interior so was put into storage as an asset of the building owners, the Waldegrave family. It has now been generously donated to the City and is re-installed on the City Library wall next to the George Street steps.

Guy Ngan has had a significant impact on sculpture in New Zealand. Born in Wellington in 1926 of Chinese parents he attended the Royal College of Art in London and returned home to pioneer the modernist movement. He made sculptures that were colossal in size, mainly sculptural murals on external walls, the most significant from the late 1970s on the Reserve Bank, Wellington and the Newton Post Office (which has now been moved from its original site and was shown at a retrospective at the Wellington City Gallery in 2006).

Cityscape is made from cast aluminium by a process involving carving units in polystyrene which are then set in the refractory and cast. The pieces are assembled by careful interlocking and bolting together. On the library wall they have been mounted together on a structural support and back lit with LEDs, replacing the original light bulb fittings used interiorly.

A formal "viewing" of the sculpture occurred on April 20, 2008. It was attended by the artist, now in his 80s, the Wellington curator Heather Galbraith, library staff, the Palmerston North Sculpture Trust members and interested town residents.


4 United Divided Detail

United Divided

by Phil Price

United Divided is the fourth sculpture installed by the Palmerston North Public Sculpture Trust

The work, outside the Convention Centre in Main Street, was unveiled on February 28, 2010.

The piece consists of a powder coated steel pedestal on which four quarters of a glass fibre disc are mounted. The work is kinetic; the bright blue quarters dipping, rolling and rotating; sometimes coming together and then dividing in a continuous, seemingly random, wind driven performance.

Born in Nelson, New Zealand, in 1956, Phil Price was educated in Christchurch and as an adult specialised in sculpture at the Canterbury School of fine Arts, graduating in 1990. He worked initially as an artists' technical assistant and then in a variety of positions in art education and composite engineering.

Since 2005, Price has focussed on his sculpture practice, working principally on large scale works for the outdoor environment. His name is synonymous with elegant wind activated kinetic sculpture. He is represented in numerous public and private collections throughout Australasia.


5 Body Language Detail

Body Language - Spirit of Place

The fifth work by artist Terry Stringer was installed in October 2010

A bronze, three metres tall, Spirit of Place is situated on a paved area close to an underpass in front of the Palmerston North City Council Administration Building so making it possible for both pedestrians and motorists alike to view it from all sides.

The sculpture is made up of fragments of body extremities, a head, a hand and a foot which blend together to make the shape of a figure, standing poised with its head quizzically tilted at the 'door of the city'. The head, with a winged temple, suggests thoughts taking flight and faces the learning institutions across the Manawatu River. The hand inclines toward the city’s cultural area and the foot, as seen from The Square side, holds a rose between its toes, reflecting the enjoyment of nature that flourishes in this central green space. The work serves to humanise the nearby architecture.

Sculptor, Terry Stringer, is a leading New Zealand artist with an established reputation. His works are exhibited in high profile sites throughout the country including Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. He has frequent solo exhibitions here and overseas. His contribution to the development of New Zealand Art was recognised in 2003 when he was awarded the honour of becoming an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit. (ONZM)


6 Whos Afraid Detail

Who's Afraid

by Paul Dibble.

Unveiled on July 3, 2011, "Who’s Afraid" is the sixth work commissioned by the Palmerston North Public Sculpture Trust. It is by local artist, Paul Dibble.

The site of the work, outside the Regent Theatre on Broadway, the city’s centre for performing arts, is the ideal spot for a work conveying a strong sense of drama; appearing to be an extension of the theatre itself.

A bronze of blue-green patina, the sculpture is in two contrasting pieces challenging each other, physically and metaphorically. The taller, the dancer, stands 3.5 metres. Closest to the theatre this smooth, agile, expressive performer meets the steely gaze of the inert, grizzled, impassive tuatara.

Paul Dibble has resided in Palmerston North since 1976, and has several other public sculptures in the city, throughout New Zealand and overseas. In collaboration with Athfeild Architects he was selected to design and execute the New Zealand Memorial in London, completed in 2006.

He was awarded the New Zealand order of merit in 2004 for services to the arts and an honorary doctorate from Massey University in 2007.


7 Giants Amongst Us Detail

Giants Amongst Us

The seventh sculpture in the collection, GIANTS AMONGST US, by Konstantin Dimopoulos, was assembled in place and presented to the city on May 12 2012.

The site on the corners of Cuba, Taonui and George Streets is part of a re-alignment of an intersection in this regenerating area.
Two vertical forms, diagonally placed on opposite sides of the road, are composed of the artist’s characteristic clustered rods , one group 6.5 metres high, the other of 8 metres.

Vibrant red, with a gentle kinetic quality allowing the rods to move in the wind, they may be perceived as trees or rushes, reminiscent of the original native cover. Kon said, “I wanted to create a work that would bring a sense of Manawatu’s natural environment (trees and pasture) into the urban space.”

The sculptures serve as a beacon, visible at a distance both day and night, drawing people into the rejuvenated quarter.
Kon Dimopoulos spent his childhood, student years and early practice in new Zealand where he still maintains contacts. Now living in Melbourne, he has many works in both private and public collections in New Zealand, Australia and North America. He is the recipient of numerous national and international awards.


8 Ghost Tower Detail

Ghost Tower

by Louise Purvis

The 8th work in the collection, Ghost Tower, standing at 9.4 metres was installed on 13th April 2014 on the East side of The Square, in proximity to the Hopwood clock tower and close to the i-site Information Centre

The tower itself sits on a frame that stands 3.5 metres high, constructed from square, hollow section stainless steel. It has a seat running along the side nearest the pavement and openings on two other sides, inviting people into the interior. On the base sits another structure suggesting a small dwelling with familiar architectural features: doors, windows and roof lines. Above this is a slim tower which has, just below the peaked roof, a square and a circular form, referencing the faces of nearby clock towers.

All structure above the base section is of stainless steel rods formed into frames, appearing as filigree against the trees and skyline. Depending on the light and the position of the bystander the tower seems to appear or to disappear.

Louise Purvis was born and schooled in Pahiatua. Early in her career she received a Commonwealth Fellowship which allowed her to travel and work in Europe and the United Kingdom where she focussed on foundry practices in Aberdeen. In New Zealand she has had numerous solo and group exhibitions. A resident of Auckland, her work has been sought by various public bodies; New Lynn (2008 -10) and Hobsonville Point (2014).


9 Huruhuru Detail

Nga Huruhuru Rangatira

by Robert Jahnke

A ceremony led by Rangitane iwi on December 11, 2016, marked the arrival of Nga Huruhuru Rangatira - Feathers of the Chief - onto its site in the eastern corner of The Square.

Nga Huruhuru Rangatira comprises five stylized huia feathers in the form of a 6.4 metre Gothic arch with two feathers on one side opposing three on the other. The use of feathers and huia bird cutouts recall the Tararua Ranges as one the last sanctuaries of the huia prior to its extinction in the early twentieth century. The tri-feather configuration references a motif commonly found on the base of rafters in tribal meeting houses symbolising rangatiratanga. In this instance it acknowledges the mana whenua of Rangitane iwi. The bi-feather composition references the introduction of literacy, the Treaty signatories and Palmerston North as an education centre that promotes both European and Maori knowledge systems.

Founder of the Bachelor of Maori Visual Arts at Massey University over twenty years ago, Professor Robert (Bob) Jahnke is an academic and pioneer in contemporary Maori art. In January 2017, he was acknowledged in the New Year Honors when he was awarded an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to Maori art and education.

Trustees and Acknowledgements



Inaugural Trustees

Bill Bendall          2006 -2017

Junne Bendall        2006 - 2017
Richard Garland 2006 - 2017 Sue Garland           2006 - 2017
Catherine Russ   2006 - 2017

Dallis Sturtevant   2006 - 2017

Barry Pilcher      2006 - 2012

Fran Dibble            2006 - 2010

Paul Dibble        2006 - 2010

Julie Catchpole      2006 - 2008 


Current Trustees

Simon Barnett - Chair 
Tim Mordaunt
Peter Sheldon 
Sue Weterings 
Bronwyn Zimmerman


Website construction: David Soong
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Images: Graeme Brown, Catherine Russ

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