Wendy Statue

King Edward Park, Hawera

  • Wendy Statue, King Edward Park, Hawera.
    Copyright: South Taranaki District Council. Date: 9/11/2012.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Able to Visit
List Number 7469 Date Entered 15th June 2000

Locationopen/close

City/District Council

South Taranaki District

Region

Taranaki Region

Legal description

Pt Sec 36, Hawera Town

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. This report includes text from the original Historic Place Assessment Under Section 23 Criteria report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Historical:

The Wendy Statue has historical significance as a memorial to James Campbell, Mayor of Hawera (1933-39), and for its wider connections with other statues of the literary figures of Peter Pan and Wendy.

James Campbell's wife, Marion, left money in her will for erection of the statue as a memorial to her husband and as a gift to the children of Hawera. It was commissioned by the Trustees of Marion's estate in 1944.

A competition for design of the statue was arranged by the Royal Society of British Sculptors, London. In 1944 photographs of four proposals were sent by the Society to the Trustees' solicitor. Visitors to the council offices in Hawera, office staff; the Mayor and the Trustees' solicitor chose the final design, On 9 July 1951 the Wendy statue was unveiled in Hawera's King Edward Park.

The ultimate inspiration for erection of the statue is the Peter Pan Memorial (1910), Kensington Gardens, London, gifted anonymously by James Barrie, author of the stories of Peter Pan. There are, however, a large number of other statues illustrative of the stories of Peter Pan around the world and, more specifically, in New Zealand;-

They are:

- The Wonderland Sculpture, Oamaru Public Gardens (unveiled in March 1927).

- Two sculptures in Queens Park, Invercargill, one a Peter Pan fountain (1966), and the other a statue of Peter Pan and Tinkerbell (commissioned 1960, installed in Queens Park, 1968).

- Peter Pan, Tinkerbell and the Lost Boys, Botanic Gardens, Dunedin (unveiled in 1965).

- Wendy and her two brothers flying to Neverland, Botanic Gardens, Dunedin (unveiled in 1968).

- Peter Pan, near Lake Virginia, Wanganui (unveiled in 1967)

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. This report includes text from the original Historic Place Assessment Under Section 23 Criteria report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Aesthetic:

The design of the Wendy Statue in Hawera's King Edward Park was inspired by the Peter Pan Memorial in London's Kensington Gardens.

Both have a base modelled on a tree stump surrounded by birds, animals and fairies, representing the literary 'world' of Peter Pan. At Kensington Gardens, Peter Pan strides the tree stump playing a flute; at Hawera, Wendy is shown on top of the stump kneeling with a lamp, searching for Peter's lost shadow.

The Wendy statue was designed by a notable British artist, Ferdinand Victor Blundstone (1882 -?), an 'acclaimed sculptor of animal subjects in his early years, New Zealand art historian, Dr Mark Stocker, accords him a 'respectable place in art history as one of the second generation of 'New Sculptors'.

Sculptors associated with the New Sculpture Movement, known as 'New Sculptors', rejected academic classicism seeking to 're-establish sculpture in a dynamic relationship with painting, architecture and the decorative arts, and restore to it the propensity for a true expressive power'. Kensington Garden's Peter Pan Memorial was created by a leader of the first generation of New Sculptors, George Frampton.

By the time the Wendy statue was created for Hawera, the New Sculpture Movement was no longer at the radical forefront of British art. Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore and others had made an even more radical assault on conservative taste. However, the Wendy statue is an accomplished work in the style, and it is illustrative of the collective tastes of those in Hawera who chose the design in the 1940s.

Technological:

The sculpture is a well-crafted example of bronze casting using the cire-purde method, the commonest form of bronze casting.

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. This report includes text from the original Historic Place Assessment Under Section 23 Criteria report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Cultural:

The statue has cultural significance for its artistic qualities and for its association with the literary world created by Barrie. The large number of 'Peter Pan' statues in New Zealand attests to the enduring and universal popularity of Barrie's stories.

The decision to purchase the Wendy statue from England points also to a continuing reliance on Britain for works of public art in the 1940s and 50s (and beyond). While this illustrates the strong cultural bonds between the two countries, it could also be interpreted as a lack of public confidence in the quality of the work of New Zealand's own artists.

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. This report includes text from the original Historic Place Assessment Under Section 23 Criteria report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

(a) The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history:

The Wendy statue in Hawera is representative of the many other statues based on stories of Peter Pan that recall Frampton's model and were designed and cast in Britain. (Only one of New Zealand's 'Peter Pan' sculptures was cast in New Zealand, - Doreen Bricknell's sculpture of Peter Pan and Tinkerbell in Queens Park, Invercargill).

(b) The association of the place with events, persons, or ideas of importance in New Zealand history:

The statue has a commemorative association with James Campbell, a former Mayor of Hawera, and Marion Campbell, his wife. Both are notable figures in the local history of Hawera. James receives a brief mention in APC. Bromley's, 'Hawera District Centenary', Hawera, 1981. He is believed to be the first locally born Mayor, and as a grocer, optician and land agent earned a reputation as a 'self-made man'. As

Mayor during the Depression he also earned respect for his efforts to lessen the hardships of the unemployed.

(e) The community association with, or public esteem for, the place:

There is evidence that the community of Hawera values the statue; it is well cared for and the subject of an article by a Hawera resident published in Historic Places in New Zealand.

(f) The potential of the place for public education:

The statue is illustrative of James Barrie's acclaimed stories of Peter Pan and, with appropriate interpretive material, has potential to further disseminate knowledge of the stories.

(g) The technical accomplishment or value, or design of the place:

The Wendy statue is an accomplished example of the dramatic and sometimes sentimental realism that characterised the work of the New Sculpture Movement. It is also an accomplished companion piece to Frampton's Peter Pan Memorial, and a technically accomplished example of bronze casting.

(h) The symbolic or commemorative value of the place:

The statue has commemorative value for its associations with the life and achievements of a local Mayor, and symbolic value as a representation of the literary figure of 'Wendy'.

(j) The importance of identifying rare types of historic places:

Although there are a large number of statues based on the story of Peter Pan, there are relatively few representations of Peter Pan's 'Wendy'.

(k) The extent to which the place forms part of a wider historical and cultural complex or historical and cultural landscape:

The Wendy statue is one of two statues in the Hawera Gardens commemorating important public figures in Hawera's history. The other is the statue of Arthur Albert Fantham, an early European settler (registered as a category II historic place).

The Wendy statue is also a 'companion piece' to George Frampton's Peter Pan Memorial.

RECOMMENDATION: Category II, s23(2) (a) (b) (e) (f) (g) (h) (j) (k)

Linksopen/close

Construction Professionalsopen/close

Blundstone, Ferdinand Victor

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1951 -

Other Information

A copy of the original report is available from the NZHPT Central region office

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.