The wooden sculptures displayed in the South Waikato District Council building were commissioned for the opening of the Tokoroa Administration building in 1989. The sculptor was Rolly Munro, formerly of Whitianga, now Wellington.
The ideas for the work developed from a desire to highlight the relationship between the land of the South Waikato and its people. The swollen, hollow forms evoke the volcanic nature of the landscape. If you look at the sculptures edge on, they are reminiscent of the hull of a wooden ship or waka, indicating the method of both Maori and European settlement.
The carved motifs symbolise the land and its present use. The blackened, jagged perforations allow an interior view and are reminiscent of bush lines and crater edges.
What are they made of?
They are made of a wood common in the South Waikato, pinus radiata. The timber was donated by the local Pinex Timber Limited and NZ Forest Products Limited. They are coated with an epoxy resin then finished with a layer of black lacquer and tung oil polyurethane.
How big are they?
Each statue reaches 1.8 metres by 1.4 metres.
Pine sculpting has close local associations with rural agricultural and pastoral shows. Men demonstrating their chainsaws, tired of just cutting the wood in straight lines, would let their machines wander and see how creative both they and the wood could be.
About the Sculptor
Rolly Munro has been sculpting wood since the early 1980's. His work has been inspired by the land forms and coastal areas of New Zealand. Although he works mainly in native timbers that he finds washed up on beaches or along river beds, most of his large commissioned sculptures have been done in pinus radiata. The five pine sculptures owned by the Council took Rolly six months to complete and are probably among the largest turned sculptures in the world.
Rolly regularly demonstrates woodturning and woodworking tools internationally and his work is represented in collections all over the world.