Big Fruit Painter Found
Painters giving the faded Big Fruit sculpture a spruce up will soon add to the bustle of activity at Cromwell’s town frontage. Photo Supplied

An imminent $80,000 paint job of Cromwell’s iconic Big Fruit sculpture will soon add to the hive of activity at the town’s entrance.

A painter willing to take on the task has proved elusive but about a year after beginning the search, the Central Otago District Council(CODC) have engaged Naylor Love Ltd to spruce up the faded fruit.

The fruit was last painted six years ago at a cost of $37,000, following a gap of 12 years between paint jobs.

Without being lacquered for protection against the elements, the fruit had faded relatively quickly.

Last winter the Cromwell Community Board somewhat reluctantly agreed to a staff recommendation to increase the council’s budget for painting the 8m high fruit from $50,000 every five years, to around $100,000. 

This was to accommodate the only available quote at the time of $94,500 and enable the job to be done.

Staff later decided not to accept that quote and the work was tendered in February this year.  Two bids were received, CODC Parks and Reserves Manager, Gordon Bailey, said.

The Queenstown-based firm planned to begin work in early April.

It is expected to take about 10 days, weather permitting.

The area is a construction zone at present, as Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency(NZTA) work on building two roundabouts and a pedestrian underpass, while across the highway at the Wooing Tree subdivision, earthworks and the building of dozens of houses continues.

The NZTA roadworks are due for completion in May.