Dominion Post, Saturday, 3 September, 2005

Concrete duck has town in a flap

ONE big yellow duck has become the subject of a tug-of-war in Central Hawkes Bay.

Waipawa residents who want to see Pawa, a 400 kilogram orange-beaked concrete duck, back on the main street have petitioned Central Hawkes Bay Council with 369 signatures.

Others don’t want to see the duck’s smiling face ever again. Mayor Tim Gilbertson said a resident joked yesterday that they would kill him if the duck came back.

Mr Gilbertson said the town’s unofficial mascot, which has been in storage, should go somewhere but not on the main street.

The council prefers a riverside site, where the annual duck races are held.

“It’s an embarrassment,” he said.

“I just think it is not that suitable – Waipawa needs something but I don’t think it needs a duck.”

The town’s main strip had been revamped and modernized, and with plans to light up the town clock at night, the council is keen to see history featured rather than a duck.

The duck, created by local artist Jan Gosling nine years ago to be driven around on a ute during the annual spring festival, has been in storage for a year.

Most people spoken to by the Dominion Post yesterday had no problem with its return. Most of those opposed refused to be named.

PJ Povey thought the duck was a “bit of an icon”.

Waipawa Pharmacy owner Noeline Alcock said the duck put Waipawa on the map and was just a bit of fun.

“Some people don’t like it because it is not the most elegant or well crafted thing but its just fun – the town and the area benefit because they know the duck.”

One woman, Jacky, said the main street looked great now and the duck would add nothing.

Another resident was more scathing, saying the duck was an eyesore, that should be in a children’s park.

Waipawa chamber of Commerce president Stephen Jenkinson said the council was taking an “Aunty Helen knows best” approach. Its attitude was, “We will put it up whether they want it or not.”

The duck could go up on top of a private business if no agreement with the council is reached.
The council will confirm its position in a fortnight.

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