Cat was sculpted from a two-tonne block of Oamaru stone by former Miramar artist Kerk Taylor as part of the Tareitanga Sculpture Symposium in Frank Kitts Park in 1997.
The sculpture was temporarily displayed outside the Miramar Library after the Symposium, but was so popular a successful community campaign resulted in the artwork becoming part of the Wellington City Council’s Public Art Collection.
Local Miramar artist Kim Beaton contacted Council offering to undertake repair work on the worn and weather-beaten sculpture. A quest to find the artist for permission led to discovery of his death in 2016, but his son Inia, a sculptor, was interested in collaborating with Kim on the restoration.
Inia Taylor (Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Toa, Te Āti Awa, Ngāti Koroki) is a highly regarded tā moko artist and sculptor who has also created public artworks.
“Being able to repair this artwork made by my father means the world to me. The idea that Cat can survive and live on as an integral part of the community serves as a really good memory of my father and the beautiful art that he made.”
Inia says that as an arts educator, his father would have loved the fact that children enjoy Cat so much. Kerk once held an exhibition called ‘Please Touch’ where visitors were encouraged to physically interact with the artworks.
The artists are seeking to retain the qualities and appearance of the original artwork while also making the artwork more robust and durable, ready for future generations of children and locals to enjoy.