Fanfare takes shape15 April 2015

One of the largest sculptures in New Zealand is starting to take shape on the edge of Christchurch and could be complete by the end of May.

The 24-metre-high Neil Dawson sculpture, known as Fanfare, started construction near Chaney's Corner north of Christchurch in February. Fanfare is a spherical grid covered in 360 revolving pinwheels, which will turn in the wind, reflect the sky during the day and be illuminated at night.

The sculpture, which was inspired by a dandelion head, will be very visible from the Northern Motorway when it is completed in May.

The stand for the sphere is now complete and a large scaffold has been erected to support the sculpture while it is being built.

Scape Public Art director Deborah McCormick said she was excited to see the sculpture taking shape.

"There have been a lot of models and plans and renderings and now it is coming together," she said.

"It is pretty big and needs a lot of space around it. It will be a real wow piece when you come over the bridge."

Dawson was commissioned to create Fanfare for Sydney's 2004 new year celebrations. The sculpture was taken by boat into Sydney harbour and then hoisted onto the bridge.

The $2 million sculpture was then gifted to Christchurch City Council and arrived in containers in 2007. The $1.3m upgrade and installation costs have been covered by crowd funding, corporate donations, a council grant and a Canterbury Community Trust grant. McCormick said about $47,000 was left to fund raise for the installation costs.

Project manager for Leighs Construction, Aaron Kibblewhite, said the sculpture had been adapated from a temporary artwork to a permanent landmark for Christchurch.

"Every piece of the structure needed work in one way or another to make it permanent," he said.

Joints have been strengthened and every piece of the complex artwork has been galvanised to make it rust proof.

The top half of the structure will be built on the specially erected support scaffolding and then craned into place and bolted to the bottom part of the sphere, which will be built on the support legs with some more support scaffolding.

Kibblewhite said it was hard to know how long construction will take as it was such an unusual job. He hoped to have the work complete by the end of May.

"If we tried to build it in place it would not really support itself. A sphere is not self supporting until it is complete," he said.

"It is a bit of an odd ball job, so we don't know how long it will take."

"I haven't worked on anything quite as unique as this."

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