Multifaceted designer and sculptor Dan Kelly, of Glenorchy, presents The Haast Eagle (2014), his third and most lifelike and life-sized metal sculpture of the extinct creature from New Zealand's past. Photo by James Beech.
The eagle has landed in Queenstown - a huge $55,000 sculpture
created by a Glenorchy artist from century-old fencing
standards recovered from Otago high country stations.
Designer and sculptor Dan Kelly melded his 30 years of
experience of designing three-dimensional signs with his
fascination with the great birds of New Zealand's pre-human
history and his self-taught artistry to produce The Haast
The striking metal sculpture of the extinct bird of prey
weighs 350kg, is 1.2m high and has a wingspan of 3.6m.
Installing it in Artbay Gallery earlier this month took four
people to carry the body chassis alone.
The 130 glider feathers are removable for ease of transport.
Reassembly and installation took all day.
''Getting it in the gallery was challenging,'' he said.
Kelly said it was the third bird in his series and was the
most lifelike yet.
The first eagle he created from discarded metal was slightly
larger was bought by a racehorse breeder in Canterbury.
The second eagle was bought by a winery and shipped back to
Work on the latest piece began in February in Kelly's home
studio at the top of the lake.
The artist worked from his knowledge of birds, their feathers
and muscles, to arc weld and gas-axe the metal into the shape
He worked from the 10cm-long talons up and said distributing
the weight, so it stood on its own two legs, was ''incredibly
''When I'm happy with it, it's done. You kind of make it for
Kelly said he hoped viewers of The Haast Eagle in
Artbay Gallery took away ''understanding of how much New
Zealand's changed in such a short space of time.
''We only had birds here and Haast's eagle was the No 1 bird
in the land. All other birds feared them, so it's amazing to
show their scale and grandeur to the public.''