And a new sculpture is unveiled in Hastings to celebrate its reopening in Warren Street, Hastings. The sculpture, ‘Prunus Awanui’, was commissioned Landmarks Trust and constructed by Hawke’s Bay sculptor Philipp Meier, whose work is found in private collections and sculptural playgrounds across Australasia.

The popular inner-city pocket park has been extended, providing space for a stage, a centrepiece sculpture, more seating and a new toilet facility all on an all-weather surface. It is one of the 23 projects in the Hastings City Centre Revitalisation Plan; the tenth to be completed.

To celebrate the opening, Wil Sargisson and Margot Pierard were the first to grace the new Landmarks Square stage when they played at its re-opening on Friday March 12.  Margot and Wil are much loved for their jazz/soul style, the Hawke’s Bay duo regularly play to sell-out crowds in venues across the Bay and beyond. 

As well as providing a serene space to relax, enjoy lunch or meet friends, Landmarks Square is a place that honours the Hastings mayor who introduced the Landmarks philosophy to the district; the late Jeremy Dwyer. A story board mounted in the park explains how, in the 1980s, he was elected mayor of a city that was struggling after a number of economic shocks, and the philosophy he put in place to bring it back to life.

His wife Marilyn Dwyer, who unveiled the sculpture in his honour at the opening, said she sometimes wished he could have seen the progress over the intervening years, “but then I realise he saw it in his vision and I know he would be absolutely delighted and proud,” she said. “My family and I are grateful to the Hasting District Council for honouring Jeremy in this way, and my admiration goes out to the wonderful people in the community who have carried his vision for Landmarks forward to 2021.”

Mrs Dwyer said her husband was driven not only by his desire to bring Hastings through difficult times “but by his vision for the Hawke’s Bay region as a whole. He often said he was a person who refused to be defined by man-made lines drawn on a map”.

‘Prunus Awanui’ is a representation of a cherry blossom, reflecting the district’s long-held position as the fruit bowl of New Zealand, the hundreds of cherry trees which adorn our streets, and the significance of the Hastings Blossom Festival.

“I was really inspired by Jeremy’s vision,” said the sculptor, Phillip Meier. “I wanted to create a piece that would be a tribute to both his dream of a bountiful, prosperous community, a region rich in growth and beauty, and celebrate the Hastings we have today as a result of that vision.”

Photos: Simon Cartwright

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