This article I spotted in this months edition of Commercial Horticultre. A new and already popular attraction at the Auckland Botanic Gardens in the Stoneleigh Sculpture Trail, an exhibition of 27 sculptures form many of New Zealand’s top artists. Opening the sculpture trail on Saturday 3 November, the Prime Minister Helen Clark said, “The role of art is to give fresj insights and perspectives and that both art and gardens invite contemplation … Sculptures are a form of art which have authority, solidity and gravitas. They invite people to ask, ‘What does it mean to me?'” The McConnell Property Supreme Award of $25,000 was also announced with a happy Barry Lett of Auckland receiving the cheque for his Big Rock Dog, a huge scoria-covered creation. ABG curator, Jack Hobbs, anticipates that tens of thousands of Kiwis as well as overseas travellers will visit the three-month-long exhibition which includes well known sculptors such as Greer Twiss, Peter Lange, Paul Dibble, Jeff Thompson, Tanya Ashken, Samanatha Lisette, Virginia King, Barry LEtt, Jim Wheeler and Fred Graham as well as a number of emerging talents. In October, the sculptures were instaslled along a 1.8km trail which will also take visitors through many of the Gardens’ plant collections. The quality of the work, the general enthusiasm of people, already makes us sure it will be very successful. “We believe it will be the best sculpture exhibition ever held, ” says Jack. “A major aim is to make it so interesting that people venture further out into the gardens than they usually do. We expect to see kids climbing over some of the pieces – many will be tempted to get up close and feel the material, climb aborad or pose for photographs. Giant scoria and metal dogs, a sky whale, the endangered flax snail, a brick boat and ceramic tent, butterflies, startled birds flying from the a lake, baby buggies, a smothering plant, an intriguing installation called HE HE HE HA, corugated native birds, whitebait net and kowhai are among the pieces visitors will see, ponder over and discuss as they walk the trail. The sculptures are for sale and the Friends of the Gardens plan to purchase a piece from every show and add it to the Garden’s already impressibe collection.