A howl in one? The Hills is alive

Wolf Coming, a sculpture of a huge pack of wolves, has arrived to grace The Hills golf course near Arrowtown. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Wolf Coming, a sculpture of a huge pack of wolves, has arrived to grace The Hills golf course near Arrowtown. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.

The wolves have arrived.

Weighing in at a tonne each, 110 cast iron wolves now stand at the 18th hole on The Hills golf course near Arrowtown - an intimidating sight for the proud new owner.

"They're frightening. The wolves are hungry - they had to come down from the mountain to eat," Sir Michael Hill said of the Wolf Coming sculpture, before last night's formal unveiling by Prime Minister John Key.

The cost of the sculpture is not known, but in recent weeks the pieces have been placed in front of the Remarkables mountains by Chinese sculptor Liu Ruowang, who was present during last night's unveiling at the clubhouse.

Sir Michael, owner of The Hills, said he discovered the artwork when in Beijing last year at the art district "798" and fell instantly in love with the snarly beasts.

"What really got me was the people actually interacting with them and that's one of the things he [Mr Liu] likes. A good sculpture is also something that people can interact with."

Sir Michael's love of art got the better of him and he had all 110, plus one giant 3m warrior, shipped over from China and then transported via Dunedin, each in a box of its own, to Arrowtown.

While keeping the golf course intact, he plans to form a sculptural park at The Hills for the public to view on occasions and "would like to purchase a significant piece each year" to add to it.

"This could be an enormous attraction for the South Island. It is about doing what we need to do to get tourism in New Zealand rolling."

He hopes to attract Chinese tourists to New Zealand and Queenstown through the use of art and the combination of golf and art.

The choice between golf and art was easy.

"I love art - I always love art. I would rather put art out there than play golf.

"Golf is a frustrating sport for me."