The downhill run – Hairy Maclary and Tauranga Farmers Market


The Hairy Maclary Waterfront Sculpture Project has received a great deal of territorial authority, commercial and community funding. The Project is now making its final fundraising push to complete installation of the nine beautiful, bronze storybook characters on the Tauranga Strand waterfront.

Every Christmas the Tauranga Farmers Market selects a local charity, project or organisation to be the beneficiary of the Farmers Market Christmas Hamper Raffle. This year they’ve chosen the Hairy Maclary Sculpture Project.

It’s 7am and Tracey Rudduck-Gudsell has pulled onto the grass playing field now the Market carpark. Out of her car boot comes signage, chairs, Garden & Arts Festival promotional booklets and promotional material for the Hairy Maclary Project. Trixie Allen the Market’s wonderful co-ordinator organises a gazebo, two tables, promotional material for the raffle and, the raffle tickets and floats. And out of the boot comes…..Slinky Malinky; that sleek feline friend or Hairy Maclary.

Creative Tauranga Charitable Trust trustee, Marcus Wilkins, arrives (twice). He returns on the second occasion with a box of tools and “stuff” to stop the wind blowing everything all over the place. He puts metal weights on the advertising stand; invents a tie down system for the signage and puts shell weights on the papers on the table. Then he’s out into the crowd selling raffle tickets as if Hairy Maclary’s life depended on it.

And to a certain extent it does: the Project needs to raise the final installation costs. It’s less than $100,000. most probably got down to about $60,000. left to find. (Remember all the sculptures are paid for and what’s being raised now is the cost of the actual installation).

Everyone seems to know about Hairy Maclary and are happy to donate or buy raffle tickets. But what’s more important are the behaviours and comments of everyone. How they were read to; how they read these books to their children and grandchildren and…then there’s the really little children who want to stroke the cat, know the stories and whose young Mums and Dads start straight in with the words and rhythms… “out of the gate went Hairy Maclary of Donaldson’s Dairy”. Photos are taken. Jenny does the stallholders’ raffle run and comes back with a box full of notes and coins. Jill Best the Manager of the Tauranga City Library is set up in a story corner underneath a large Library banner!

The following week it’s Schnitzel Von Krum (with a very low tum). Who would have thought Tracey could lift this weight on her own! Same crowd behaviours. Same engagement and joy at seeing Herr Von Krum. Same clink in the tin. And this week there’s a little crowd waiting for Stella the storyteller. People laugh when we hit them up again to buy tickets. This week there’s a Jenny and Ethan team doing the stallholder ticket walk-around. And, Marcus is there again!

Why am I there? Well ARTbop supports two activities: the free bus to take children to art lessons at the Tauranga Art Gallery and The Hairy Maclary Waterfront Sculpture Project. ARTbop can’t do it with cash but it can do it with words and practical support. So at 7am I’m there too. I’m a rural girl so it’s not an “early” start. Apart from being part of this fundraising effort it’s huge fun. Hot chai, yummy foods, meeting great children and adults and stallholders and being part of a fabulous Tauranga Farmers Market experience. I meet people from round New Zealand (including a bus tour from Whangaparoa) and “the world” including someone from Greece. I also get to walk around the market reading from a Hairy Maclary book and directing people to our “stall”. I read one story to the little crowd on the mat; I make sure I tell them I’m only the pretend storyteller!

The Farmers Market is on at the Tauranga Primary School every Saturday morning until mid-day. There’s a great range of produce, plants, baked goods, drinks and food. The first morning I was there I was astounded by the intensity of the stampede towards the free range egg vendors and I never knew we ate so many strawberries. The raffles are drawn at the market at 9am on 13th December 2014 and if you’re not able to be there on the day you can send a friend to collect your prize!!!!

(Note: Stella the Storyteller came all the way from Auckland to read stories and support The Hairy Maclary Waterfront Sculpture Project).

Rosemary Balu


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