Sculpture and plaque unveiled


Homes are not the only structures taking shape on Luggate Heights.

The subdivision being developed in Luggate is home to a 1.3-tonne hand holding a poppy, created by local sculptor Josh Olley.

More than 100 people attended the unveiling of the artwork, named Let the Poppies be Tall, during a ceremony on Saturday morning.

The creation, which is made from a metamorphic rock, took Mr Olley six months to create using an angle grinder with a diamond blade.

Over time, the rock had been subjected to heat and pressure, which had caused profound physical change.

He described the rock as a “glacial erratic”.

“[The rocks] become altered to what they were originally – they become this very hard stone, which therefore, it sculpts and polishes up absolutely beautifully.”

It was deposited by a glacier after the last ice age and would have originated deep within the alps, he said.

The finished product was a piece that says “be the best you can be and support others to do so too”, he said.

Mr Olley, who crafted the artwork from a site near the Clutha Red Bridge, found the rock about 50m from where the sculpture now stands on Jackson Rise. It was a project that he was pleased to have kept local from start to finish.

The unveiling also coincided with the official opening of Jackson Rise and the unveiling of a plaque in memory of the late Jackson James (JJ) Aitchison.

Jackson (17), of Luggate, died when a car he was in crashed into a tree in Ballantyne Rd in October 2016.

His grandfather, Rob Aitchison, was among the many people who attended the unveilings on Saturday.

“It’s quite bizarre how it’s all fallen into place,” he said, of the sculpture’s new home alongside JJ’s memorial plaque.

He said the sculpture was not specifically put there for JJ, even though it stands near his plaque.

Mr Aitchison said he thought JJ would be “pretty chuffed” about the latest additions to Luggate Heights, an area where the youngster often rode his motorbike back when it was just bare land.

JJ, who spent much of his life in Luggate, moved away for about six years before returning.

“He always called this place home,” Mr Aitchison said.

The unveilings were attended by a wide variety of people of all ages and from places including Wanaka, Balclutha and the local Luggate community.

“There was a pretty big representation.

“The cross section of people that were here was absolutely mind-blowing.”

Developer Allan Dippie agreed the event was a success and well attended.

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