Sculpture on the Peninsula raises $75,000 for charity despite cancellation

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Sculpture on the Peninsula Organizer Gil Hay with works by Hannah Kidd in January.

JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/Stuff

Sculpture on the Peninsula Organizer Gil Hay with works by Hannah Kidd in January.

Despite being canceled just five days before it opened, the latest Sculpture on the Peninsula festival has gone live to raise $75,000 for a Canterbury charity.

Money for the Cholmondeley Children’s Center was raised by photographing all the artwork that was ready for display at a farm in Teddington on the Banks Peninsula and auctioning it online within days.

The festival features dozens of new sculptures in a spectacular agricultural landscape every two years.

But this year’s event was canceled at the end of January with just five days’ notice after the country was moved to the Covid-19 red light setting.

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Event organizer Gill Hay said he took around 2,000 photographs and spent long days preparing the online auction for what was to be opening night.

“We were a little nervous about not going back to anything at some point,” she said.

“To get everything online was a colossal effort. It was one of those weeks you wouldn’t necessarily want to repeat.

Melissa Robinson-Cole's crocheted louses were part of this year's Sculpture on the Peninsula.

JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/Stuff

Melissa Robinson-Cole’s crocheted louses were part of this year’s Sculpture on the Peninsula.

The festival, which was started by the late artist Geoff Swinard in 2000, was due to hold its final event from January 28-30 after more than two decades of bringing unique works of art to the Canterbury countryside.

But the final event never happened.

“It’s so sad that it didn’t go as planned, but it was a pretty amazing rescue,” Hay said.

Sculpture on the Peninsula has raised more than $825,000 for the Cholmondeley Children’s Center since the event began in January 2000. This year’s donation is expected to be increased later this year once the festival trust is liquidated.

The final sculpture on the peninsula was canceled by Covid-19 pandemic controls, but thrived online.

JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/Stuff

The final sculpture on the peninsula was canceled by Covid-19 pandemic controls, but thrived online.

Hay said in November that the event had come to a natural end after 21 years.

“We are getting old,” she says.

“It was run by volunteers, and that’s a huge demand. Volunteers tend to be friends and family members and must come from all over New Zealand and some from Australia.

She said the decision was also influenced by the fact that the owner of Loudon Farm in Lyttelton Harbour, where the event is taking place, wanted to make changes to the property.

The Covid-19 pandemic had already taken its toll on the event before it finally had to go live. The festival was postponed from November to January due to the pandemic.

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