Visitors to this year’s NZ PGA in Queenstown will have a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity to get up close and personal with an outstanding sculpture collection.
Sir Michael Hill’s sculpture park at The Hills golf course showcases some of Australasia’s best works of art, including the magnificent The Wolves are Coming installation from China, the first non-Australasian exhibit.
The Hills is not usually open to the general public and the four-day PGA Tour of Australasia tournament, starting next Thursday February 28 and running to Sunday March 3, offers a unique opportunity for visitors to view the wolves and other stunning works of art.
Sir Michael said he wanted to share his love of art with everyone and encouraged people to come and view the exhibits.
''In New Zealand, people are not exposed to art and sculpture in the same way they are in Europe. If they’re aware of art by physically seeing and touching it, it tweaks the senses and creates ‘out of the box’ solutions to all sorts of things. Love it or hate it, art stimulates thought and creativity,” he said.
Sir Michael Hill first saw the wolves by artist Liu Ruowang at an outdoor exhibition in Beijing in 2010, and brought the complete set of 111 pieces, including a large Chinese warrior, to New Zealand.
The Wolves arrived at their new home along the 18th fairway in October last year. While visitors will not be able to wander among the main wolves exhibit as it is ‘in play’ on the fairway, two of the wolves are being moved to flank the entrance of The 19th entertainment area.
The first installation at the park was Schist Strata by renowned New Zealand artist Chris Booth. Commissioned to reflect the schist and moraine boulder deposits from the substructure of the land around Arrowtown, it is located at The Hills House.
Grant William’s Untitled sculpture is on the 15th fairway, and on the first tee is The Weta by Mark Hill, based on the artist’s childhood experience of turning over a log to find his first weta. Yellow Construction by Graham Snowden comprises six separate geometric forms -- located on the 14th green, the different shapes and orientations meld together to form a cohesive whole.
Other pieces on display include Max Patte’s Solace in the Wind, Paul Dibbles’ Through the Gap, Mark Hill’s Dragonflies and Grant Palliser’s Scribble, as well as others dotted around the course.
“The sculpture exhibits add another amazing dimension to the range of activities on offer to golf and non-golf lovers alike throughout the tournament,” said NZ PGA tournament director Michael Glading.
The tournament features celebrities such as Sir Ian Botham, golf sensation Lydia Ko and Olympic rowing champion Mahe Drysdale playing alongside pros including Hale Irwin, Japan’s Toshinori Muto, Brendan Jones and Michael Hendry.
‘The 19th’ entertainment area will feature the best Central Otago food, wine and entertainment, a highlight of which will be a special open-air concert on the Saturday night featuring local band The Lynch Mob and young Auckland musician Jamie McDell.
Transport from Queenstown and Frankton to the event, provided by ski area operator NZSki, will see regular services running throughout the four day tournament, including later services on the Saturday night to cater for the concert.