New sculpture greets arrivals to Thames 19 March 2018 A sculpture representing the past, present and future of Thames now takes pride of place by the Kauaeranga River Bridge near Rhodes Park, next to the Hauraki Rail Trail. (Photo: L-R: Local artists Jocelyn Pratt, John McKeowen and Darin Jenkins collaborated on this landmark sculpture at the southern entrance to Thames.) The sculpture is composed of stylised wooden figures embracing, old metal wheels and cogs from A & G Price foundry, and Katikati basalt. It is the work of Thames carver Darin Jenkins, who came up with the concept after Ngati Maru received a $50,000 grant from Thames Community Board to create a landmark sculpture at the southern entrance to Thames to help mark the 150th anniversary of the goldfields opening. The metalwork was completed by Thames artist John McKeowen and the basalt was carved in the form of a mussel shell by Tapu stone sculptor Jocelyn Pratt. "For us this represents the coming together of two peoples, the iwi and the immigrants, when the goldfields opened," says Thames Community Board Chair Diane Connors. Read more about the sculpture and the symbolism of its elements in Our Coromandel Magazine 2017-2018. The sculpture was installed the weekend before last and a dawn blessing was held last week. A public dedication ceremony took place on Wednesday, just before Thames celebrated the Heritage Festival on the weekend, from 16-18 March. The sculpture also serves as the first in the Hauraki Rail Trail sculpture trail. The Thames Public Arts Trust is working to establish a series of artworks to sit alongside the Kopu-Thames section of the Rail Trail.