CHB Mail, Tuesday, 11 November 2003

Letters to the Editor


It actually makes me laugh when I read the fuss that the big yellow duck has been causing in some quarters in Waipawa. I mean to say, some people can take themselves far too seriously ñ getting upset with this ëuglyí label and wanting to get rid of the one thing that makes Waipawa distinctive.

They donít seem to appreciate that it is the ëdifferent-nessí of the duck which makes it memorable and maybe even appealing. I have been to meeting in Napier, Hastings and even Palmerston North and have said that I was from Waipawa to immediately have someone say ìWaipawa ñ thatís the place with the big yellow duck ñ Why do you have a duck?í

At least the duck has registered and they show a curiosity even if nothing else, and it gives a starting point for some really humorous discussion.

I know, having talked to Jan Gosling (maker of the duck) recently, that she is a bit concerned with the duck issue taking up again now, when she is trying to embark on more serious art. She is worried that people will associate her art, not with the elegant and delicate work she does now in Oamaru stone, but with a big yellow duck she made seven years ago, and she worries that they wonít take her seriously.

But I would like to say that good art is something which makes people react to it in some way, whether positive or negative.

It is thought provoking and causes comment.

I think the big duck has certainly done that ñ And who cares what some radio announcer thinks up in Auckland. I mean in a way he has done Waipawa a big favour. He has brought Waipawa to the attention of a much greater audience and he may have caused people to rush away and find their maps to find out just whereabouts in New Zealand Waipawa is. These people may come to Waipawa and stop here to see this ëeye-soreí they have heard about. They may pose by the duck and have their photos take.

They might even go back to wherever they come from and tell their friends about it.

And who knows, it might start a trend.

So perhaps the duck is a good piece of art.

It catches the attention and causes comment.

I think Waipawa would be mad to lose that.

So donít get caught up in self-righteousness and that struggle for sophisticated snobbery.

Smile and have a sense of humour, and recognise that even a negative reaction is a reaction, and Waipawa at least isnít slipping into the obscurity of nothingness like some other small towns around New Zealand.

Keep the duck