Katherine Mansfield to be Celebrated with Sculpture in Capital

8 July 2009

New Zealand's greatest writer, Katherine Mansfield, is to have her position in world literature further recognised with a sculpture in her home city of Wellington.

The Mayor of Wellington, Kerry Prendergast, says the sculpture will both recognise one of the city's most celebrated citizens and reinforce the cultural depth and history of the Capital.

She says, "Wellingtonians are proud of Katherine Mansfield and what she achieved in her short life.

"She influenced a fundamental shift in the way stories are told and is recognised as one of the world's leading modernist writers. This tribute from the City will ensure that her recognition not only continues, but grows."

The sculpture, in a yet-to-be-announced location, will be a significant addition to the treasury of Mansfield sites in Wellington, which include the Birthplace on Tinakori Road and the Turnbull Library. Together these present the potential for a Mansfield trail for literary tourists.

Katherine Mansfield Society President, Emeritus Professor Vincent O'Sullivan, says "Mansfield's influence is still being felt by writers and readers today. We want the sculpture both to celebrate the influence of Wellington on her writing, as well as to recognise Wellington as her birthplace and home."

The project is a three-way venture between Wellington City Council, the Katherine Mansfield Society and Wellington Sculpture Trust. Neil Plimmer, Chair of the Sculpture Trust, says the Board immediately and enthusiastically embraced the idea and has taken on the role of managing the project.

"We intend this to be a stunning addition to the City, one that reflects Mansfield's unique style and lingers in the memory as much as her fiction."

To that end, he says, the next steps are to confirm a site location, then to put a brief out to artists. At the same time, fundraising will start. "We hope that Wellington businesses and citizens will embrace our vision, and add their support to the venture."

The project group comprises City Council delegates, Wellington Sculpture Trust representatives and Mansfield scholars: Jon Craig, Chair (Wellington Sculpture Trust), Neil Plimmer (Wellington Sculpture Trust), Martin Rodgers (Wellington City Council), Emeritus Professor Vincent O'Sullivan (Katherine Mansfield Society), Dr Sarah Sandley (Katherine Mansfield Society) and Dr Joanna Woods.