Lister Garden extension going well

On the way to feed the ducks at the Dunedin Botanic Garden, Brooklyn Spedding (11) and her...
On the way to feed the ducks at the Dunedin Botanic Garden, Brooklyn Spedding (11) and her brother Caiden Spedding (5) walk past the spot where the city's latest contentious piece of public art is soon to be installed. Photo by Linda Robertson.

An extension to the Dunedin Botanic Garden's Clive Lister Garden is well under way, and a hole has been left for a most controversial worm.

Botanic Garden team leader Alan Matchett said all of the landscaping preparation, including drainage, had been completed on the new extension to the garden, and the team was only awaiting delivery of paving stones from Christchurch.

Depending on the pavers' arrival, they would be laid by the end next week, after which the $100,000 sculpture Ouroboros could be installed.

The process by which the sculpture was chosen earlier this year was the subject of intense criticism from Dunedin sculptors, who threatened to take legal action.

They claimed the sculpture chosen was outside the Dunedin City Council's brief for proposals, which indicated a firm budget limit of $60,000, a budget they believed most artists would have stuck to, thereby disadvantaging themselves.

After a panel chose the $100,000 project, council staff argued the brief had been a guide only.

Mr Matchett said the installation of the 15.5m polished steel sculpture, which will be suspended on three poles and internally illuminated with LED lighting, was not expected to be complicated.

The artist, Julia Morison, of Christchurch, would be in the city to oversee the work.

The plan was, all going well, to officially open the new garden extension and sculpture during a Gala Day in the garden on October 20, also the opening day of the Fifth Global Botanic Gardens Congress, this year hosted by the Dunedin Botanic Garden.

The garden extension and sculpture will use up most of a $230,000 bequest to the garden from the late Prof Clive Lister.

The mythical ouroboros, a snake eating its tail, is an ancient symbol of regeneration.


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