About five years ago Kaiaua suffered major flooding as
a result of storm surge and wave action, a metre of the
beach frontage was taken from the high tide interface
and placed on top of the fore shore area resulting in
approximately half a metre of fill being placed around
the Bird Sculpture and indeed down most of the western
shore of the Firth of Thames. This has changed the
proportion of plinth to bird; buried the egg- shaped nib
wall built with the help of community service workers,
and reduced the height of bolsters that were placed in
the wall to limit vehicle access to the bird.
Because of this I think the bird has improved in visual
proportion but has lost out in vulnerability by being half a
metre lower and therefore more prone to graffiti type
paintwork damage to the extreme underside.
However, the area surrounding the sculpture has been
designated suitable for Recreational Vehicle overnight
parking by the Hauraki District Council and this has
changed security of the area rather markedly, enough to
encourage me to give the sculpture (with the help of the
above-mentioned council in supplying scaffolding for the
taller part of the job) a more intensive new paint job to
go on top of the preparation and primer coat already

I am currently in the process of painting the bird in a
basic black acrylic gloss but picking out a pattern in red
acrylic from the lines I carved into the body to relieve
surface tension stress caused by the plaster topcoat and
concrete body expansion rate difference.

A whistle will be placed in the small bird on the beak of
the sculpture.

Circular ceramic tiles around the bird’s steel legs,
something along the lines of the 2 photographs below
are being made and will cover both steel legs of the bird
thus thickening the legs further improving the Sculpture’s
new overall proportions. These tiles will show the names
of people who have helped me along the way as well as
assorted esoteric statements. I am trying to get people
who qualify to make their own tiles but will make them if
that is not possible.

The section of plinth between the existing tiles and the
new ground level will be tiled to carry on the narrative
from the north west face of the plinth.

My plan is to have the whole project completed by the
end of this year and if time permits there may be some
type of ceramic/concrete cap work to go on top of each
of the sixteen bolsters.

These two photos are of prototype circular tiles that will be cemented around the high strength steel pipe legs of the sculpture. The tiles on the left are earlier models that may be incorporated with later fatter decorated ones as shown in the photograph on the right. These tiles have been fired higher than recommended glaze temperature which has resulted in losing the rather intense red that should have occurred (the old trap of trying to do too many things at once).