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Bronzing Dog and Wal takes a step closer

28 Jan 2011

Bronzing Dog and Wal takes a step closer

A licence agreement allowing Gisborne District Council to commission a bronze statue of popular Footrot Flats characters was approved by Council on Thursday 27 January 2011.

The licence agreement with Diogenes Designs ltd, the company owned by Footrot Flat creators Pam and Murray Ball, also allows council to produce associated products.

Gisborne is the home of Footrot Flats which was created by local man Murray Ball between 1975 and 1994. The idea to erect a statue of Wal, Dog and their friends was floated by Mayor Meng Foon 2 years ago. Council supported the idea and the Art in Public Places committee has since progressed the project.

Now the licence is approved the committee can go out and source external funding from sponsorship and grants. Council has not budgeted to produce a statue. Once funding is confirmed a process to find the successful sculptor will be agreed upon. This may or may not be through tender.

Although several designs of statues have been mooted nothing has been confirmed. The final decision sits with Diogenes Designs Ltd which owns the intellectual property of the Footrot Flats trademark.

The statue must be cast in bronze and if possible cast in New Zealand.

The original idea was to have our favourite characters dotted around the district’s beaches, parks and walkways, says Mayor Meng Foon. “This would be a fantastic way to promote the district and attract visitors. Murray and Pam have been supportive of the idea right from the beginning. Now we are starting to see some progress. There is s a lot of interest in this project and people have contacted me to pledge their support.”

The right of council to produce and sell approved, associated products could be a windfall for the district or at least help groups like Tourism Eastland, and Keep Gisborne Beautiful to fundraise. The products may include souvenirs or images of the statues used for advertising and promotion of the district. Pursuing this option would require external funding.

The agreement anticipates that the statue should be installed by 30 June 2012.