Since its opening in 2002, the Wellington Writers Walk has become one of the showpieces of the city, honouring local writers and proving a fascinating addition to the urban landscape.
On Thursday 21 March, the harbour was sparkling, the waterfront was crowded with people enjoying the balmy sunshine - it was a perfect evening for the unveiling of Stage IV of the walk. Four new benchmark sculptures have now been added to the existing 19 works, making a total of 23 authors whose work is celebrated in this way.
Speeches in Circa Theatre included one from Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae who is joint patron of the Writers Walk with his wife, Lady Janine.
L to R: Sir James McNeish, Elizabeth Knox, Joy Cowley, Jack Lasenby
Invited guests and members of the public then walked to each new plaque in turn for its unveiling. First was Sir James McNeish, whose benchmark is situated on the bridge behind Te Papa leading to Waitangi Park and Chaffers Marina. Elizabeth Knox’s benchmark was unveiled at a temporary spot before being installed near the Meridian Energy Building, Customhouse Quay, in front of Michael Tuffery’s kina sculpture. (Breakfast TV did a live cross to cover this on Monday 25 March.)
Joy Cowley’s benchmark is on the lower walkway, quite close to the Katherine Mansfield plaque (you might need to lean over the fence to see it.) Reading out her quotation, Joy commented how people complain about the Wellington southerly, but forget to praise the gorgeous day that often follows it.
Joy Cowley with Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae and his wife, Lady Janine
Jack Lasenby’s quotation is placed sideways on a pole near the Wharewaka. Jack declared that he was sure the local seagulls – one of which obligingly came and perched on top of the pole - would now be flying around with cricked necks as a result.
Jack Lasenby in front of his vertical quotation that will prove a trap for literary seagulls
Sponsors of the new quotations are The Todd Corporation for James McNeish, The Deane Foundation for Elizabeth Knox, Mark and Wendy McGuinness for Jack Lasenby and Jenny Morel, Allan Bollard and Penguin Books for Joy Cowley.
This was a great event, bringing together many writers and members of the literary community to celebrate and enjoy what is a very special part of our city. It has been an exciting couple of years for the Writers Walk, which also featured at the Frankfurt Book Fair and launched a wonderful new website and Facebook page.
Thanks to Rosemary Wildblood (Chair of the Wellington Writers Walk Committee) for the lovely photos.