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Dog Art: New Zealand Dog Sculptures

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Edgar Degas once said that “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” Throughout history, artists have unleashed their talent through the medium of sculpture to help the public see the true beauty of our pals with paws. In the first of DogTipper’s periodic series of articles about fine art and our four-legged friends, we look at New Zealand dog sculptures, monuments that have carved a place in the collective heart of dog lovers.

Tekapo Dog Statue, New Zealand

Since 1968 a bronze depiction of a New Zealand Collie sheepdog has faithfully guarded the serene scenery surrounding Lake Tekapo. Commissioned by area farmers as an homage to the dogs who have protected their flocks over the years, a canine named Haig served as the model for the monument, which was created by sculptor Innes Elliott.

Huntaway Dog, Hunterville, New Zealand

Proud to proclaim itself Huntaway Capital of the World, in the town of Hunterville a bronze statue of a Huntaway dog has stood since 1999 in tribute to the four-legged best friends of farmers in the area. The close-knit community also celebrates their bond with working dogs each year during the Hunterville Huntaway Festival, which includes a dog barking competition and a person/pet obstacle course.

New Zealand dog sculptures-Hunterway-2

Paddy the Wanderer, Wellington, New Zealand

It’s been close to 80 years since Paddy the Wanderer’s paws promenaded along Wellington’s streets, but his memory lives on whenever a traveler or their tail-wagging chum take a sip from a drinking fountain that bears a likeness of an Airedale Terrier who gained nationwide fame in his lifetime.

His tale began as the pet of a young girl who passed away from pneumonia. Lonely after the loss of his friend, the dog made his way to Wellington harbor, where he became pals with seamen and dock workers. Although he saw the world as a four-pawed passenger aboard ships and a Gypsy Moth plane, Paddy always returned to the land he loved.

Paddy made his final journey on July 17, 1939, when his soul crossed Rainbow Bridge. Today Paddy is remembered with a both life-size statue at the Museum of Wellington City and Sea, where each year a ceremony is held to place a new registration tag on the sculpted Spot, and with a drinking fountain, which features a brass bas relief plaque of the famous Rover and stones from Waterloo Bridge in London.

New Zealand dog sculptures-360px-Paddy_the_Wanderer_Memorial_FountainBy Kiwichris – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50412979

Tongue of the Dog Sculpture, Hamilton City, New Zealand

A depiction not of a dog’s personal appearance, but rather the loving spirit of a faithful four-legged friend from a Maori legend, the abstract Tongue of the Dog sculpture was unveiled in May 2016. The story tells of the Waikato River’s creation by a servant dog who saved the life of his ailing human by cutting a path for the curative waters from the beloved land of her birth to reach her at her new home. Brought to life by Michael Parekowhai, the three-story sculpture is located at the entrance to Hamilton City’s Waikato Museum, which houses information regarding the ancient tale.

Hairy Maclary Sculptures, Tauranga, New Zealand

A dog walk along the waterfront in the city of Tauranga is a stroll down Memory Lane for New Zealanders as they promenade past four-legged figures that have seemingly leapt from the pages of their favorite childhood picture books, the Hairy Maclary series. In July 2015 fans got their first glimpse of all of best-selling author Dame Lynley Dodd’s beloved characters immortalized in bronze:

  • Whippet Bitzer Maloney
  • Dalmatian Bottomley Potts
  • Old English Mastiff Hercules Morse
  • Old English sheepdog Muffin McClay
  • Tom cat Scarface Claw
  • Dachshund Schnitzel van Krumm
  • Black cat Slinky Malinki
  • Duckling Zachary Quack
  • And of course, tiny terrier Hairy Maclary

Brigitte Wuest, a sculptor who has played a part in molding the minds of movie buffs, carved each canine and cat. Film fans have seen the big screen creations of Weta workshop’s head sculptor in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, and more.

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