Thursday, June 13, 2024

Tokoroa Pine Man back from the brink

Tokoroa’s iconic Pine Man is set to be reinstalled in coming weeks following a three-month restoration.

“We’re thrilled that the restoration has gone as well as it did,” said South Waikato District Council’s Parks and Reserves Manager, Phil Parker.

“Having the original artist Peter Dooley doing the restoration was extremely beneficial and Council is very appreciative for his time and care.”

The restoration and reinstallation is a large logistical operation involving multiple contractors, he said.

Raukawa kaumatua will bless the Pine Man prior to the re-installation.

“Our thanks to the following people and local businesses involved, including – Damel Traffic Management, Todd McPhee Crane Hire, Treestyle Ltd, Clothier Properties Limited, Tokoroa Firewood, ING Engineering, Triangle ITM, Sign Magic, Stihl Shop Tokoroa, Clifton Court Motel, Goldpine Industries, Holster Supply, Les O’Leary Ltd and local hardware stores. Many of those involved either donated or heavily discounted their involvement as their way of ensuring the South Waikato community got its beloved Pine Man back,” said Mr Parker.

He said damage to the Pine Man was more extensive than originally thought.

Holes originally drilled for oiling had unfortunately become entry points for moisture that lead to internal rot, which required timber to either need replacing or filling and then treating. The Pine Man had also developed some significant cracks due to exposure to the elements. His left arm and shoulder, sections of his head, the rear of his torso and under his left boot had to be completely re-built during the restoration. The holes for oiling have now been filled and sealed, Mr Parker said.

Commissioned by the Rotary Club of Tokoroa, the Pine Man (sometimes referred to as the Chainsaw Man) was originally carved by Peter Dooley and installed in 2004. He has stood pride of place in Leith Place for 17 years.

Since the Leith Place upgrade project, he stands overlooking the newly developed Talking Pole Forest.

“Once he is installed, for those wondering about the green colour… it’s not because he’s still feeling a little off-colour – he’s quite healthy! It’s because he has been re-tanalised to ensure he is protected into the future and can stand pride of place in our Talking Pole forest for another 17 years,” said Mr Parker.

“The green will fade over the coming months and, once the tanalisation has been absorbed, he will be given a fresh coat of brown stain.”

The restoration cost was just under $29,000. Council staff are currently working through a review of its Talking Pole Strategy to capture maintenance and condition assessments of existing poles, development of new poles, removal of older poles and end of life options as poles reach the end of their natural life.

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