Wellington is to be given a second rugby statue. It is a gift from France, and it’s to be inaugurated on Saturday by the French Ambassador, Francis Etienne.
Wellington’s first rugby statue, created by Weta Workshop, was destined for the city waterfront till a decision was made that this would not be a relevant position for it. Instead, it was placed on a corner of Jack Ilott Green below the City to Sea Bridge.
The French sculpture is to be placed in an even less accessible area – on Hinemoa Street, off Waterloo Quay north of the Customhouse. Motorists may glimpse it as they drive past – it weighs two tons and is 3m60 in height.
It depicts two rugby players in a scrum against a wall of words, and is the work of Stephane Cipre, a sculptor living and working in Nice. He created the work in collaboration with his friend Jeff Tordo, a former French rugby representative. They say that it shows the spirit and the values of rugby – the two players are seen to be fighting against racism, drugs, selfishness and cheating.
The new statue, gifted to the New Zealand Rugby Union, was shipped to New Zealand from Marseilles. It will be inaugurated this Saturday at 3.30 pm at 1 Hinemoa Street on the Wellington waterfront.