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Life-size whale sculpture park in Paraparaumu gaining momentum

Work on the high-profile Whale Song project is gaining momentum and is growing in scope.

The project aims to build seven life-size humpback whales in a prime Paraparaumu location.

The bronze whales, sitting on top of wind turbine type vertical poles, would range in size from 8.5m to 24m.

A 3D printer has been creating 1:10th scale models of the whales in the Whale Song information centre in Coastlands to give people an idea what the final project will look like.

The fifth whale, which took a number of days to print, was installed in the centre today.

Fundraising is well under way for the multimillion-dollar sculpture park.

Donations and grants are being sought and an application to the Provincial Growth Fund has been shortlisted.

A number of volunteers and companies are helping get the project over the line.

Some well-known people are part of the journey, including filmmaker Sir Richard Taylor, film editor Jamie Selkirk, Story Inc's Steve La Hood and former Fair Go frontman Kevin Milne.

3D printer operators Fern Campbell and Cees Bergenhenegouwen with the head of Whale Song's largest scale model. Photo / David Haxton

Marco Zeeman, who is spearheading the project, said the aim was to use a foundry in China, which Sir Richard had access to, to cast the life-size sculptures. It would take about a year to cast all seven.

The first whale, which would be a test one, was ready to be ordered.

The whales would be assembled in New Zealand.

Beca New Zealand was the project's sponsored engineers.

Planning was also under way to create a wharenui near the whales, where people could learn about the cultural history of the district.

The centre is being developed by Puketapu hapū Te Atiawa, who are represented by Ngahina, who are shareholders in Coastlands.

"We need to reconnect our communities and our cultural side is so important," Zeeman said.

Restoring part of the Wharemauku Stream was important too.

"We're calling it the Wharemauku Forest Nursery Project, which will involve planting and restoring the stream so it's more than a ditch."

And there's work examining the hydrology of the area to enable lakes and wetlands as well as realise commercial opportunities.

"We thought that while we've got all this green space untouched, let's look at a plan that works for everybody including the community.

"Our plan is to create a central park with the wharenui, the whales, and the forest nursery walk."

All going well the life-size whales would be up in two years.


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