An attempted prank on the unveiling of a new sculpture in Nelson last week was averted just hours before the ceremony began.
Before the statue – Dance to the Music of Time – was put on its plinth at the corner of QEII Drive and Trafalgar St, an unidentified man was photographed on it apparently acting out the name of the new statue.
In a letter dropped off to Nelson Weekly, containing the photos, the supposed author “Bucchus” wrote that the sign, erected near the sculpture to explain its meaning, was taken down and to the author’s home where the photos were added before it was re-hung.
“I snuck the sign down, took it home and modified it a bit (looked bloody good in my digs). Re-hung it, covered it up and waited in anticipation for the ‘reveal’ at grand revealing on Thursday lunchtime,” the letter says.
It then goes on to say: “Some bugger pooped it! And removed my photos!”
The prank is similar to those performed last year before and during the Rugby World Cup and it is believed to be the work of the same group of people.
Arts and heritage adviser for Nelson City Council, Debbie Daniel-Smith says the attempted prank was tasteless.
“I think there were a bit of shenanigans going on but I am disturbed about this kind of thing. We do have an urban arts policy and we are tolerant apart from anything that is offensive, tatty or in poor taste and I think the council is pretty good. Urban art can be clever and really add something to a city but I wouldn’t have thought that trying to alter a sign is necessarily clever.
“Signs are there for information and I don’t know what they would be trying to acheive.”
The photos were removed during the set up for the ceremony.
The letter to the Weekly finishes with: “I reckon it [the photo] was a vast improvement on the shark-like serpentine creature – and a damn lot cheaper!”
NCC deputy mayor Ali Boswijk, who was at the unveiling, says she didn’t see the photos but wasn’t too concerned.
“They clearly haven’t marked it permanently, if they had it would have been sad really. But if it’s just for a bit of fun then clearly they think a lot of themselves. I’m fairly relaxed about it but people do put a lot of work into these things and they should be respected.”