This 4.4 metre-high bronze sculpture was commissioned by the Manawatu Art Gallery Society, using bequest funds from the estate of Palmerston North citizen Gertrude Raikes.
According to the Palmerston North-based artist, Pacific Monarch is “a monument to all the people who have settled in Palmerston North and who have brought aspects of their culture with them.” The figure’s headdress is intentionally ambiguous – it could be a ceremonial Pacific crown of leaves, or the headdress of the green men of Celtic Europe.
The figure’s blindfold represents the way people immigrate to a new country without knowing what they will find there or what the future may hold. The long voyage made by many settlers is represented by barnacles on the figure’s stern-like thigh, and also by the globe balanced in one of the figure’s hands. In the figure’s other hand is a plumb-bob (a builder’s tool for vertically lining up framing), demonstrating an intent to settle and make a home. But first efforts can be rough and ready, using whatever comes to hand, and so the figure is propped up like a fencepost by two spindly sticks.