You can thank Sir Michael Hill’s knighthood for the impressive horse sculptures at his Arrowtown golf course, unveiled last Sunday.
Hill was in Wellington for his investiture at Parliament in 2011 when he came across sculptor Max Patte’s Solace in the Wind figurine on the waterfront.
“I thought, ‘God, that looks incredible’,” Hill recalls.
Hill caught up with Patte at Wellington’s Weta Workshop where he’s head of sculpture and ordered a second edition which now sits by a bridge on the 10th hole.
The two then discussed ideas for a commissioned work.
Patte suggested 16 miners wielding pick-axes but when Hill saw some sketches he thought they looked a bit ‘Iron Curtain’.
Hill then planted the idea of horses.
Patte sculpted five cast-iron horses entitled The Frolic and the Fancy which now sit by the 7th tee.
Though there’s talk of more, Patte thinks that could be overkill: “He’s already got 110 wolves.”
Hlil, who bought The Wolves are Coming installation from China last year, says: ”In fact, a lot of people like the horses better than the wolves, so it gets better each time – it’s bloody amazing.”