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Crowd Funding brings back the Bull!!!

News: 3 October 2013

A six-week ‘Back the Bull’ crowd funding campaign, run by the Christchurch Art Gallery Trust, has raised $206,050 – the largest total ever pledged for a crowd funding project in New Zealand.  The campaign, to buy internationally renowned New Zealand artist Michael Parekowhai’s Chapman’s Homer for Christchurch, officially ended on Monday 30 September.

Image courtesy of Christchurch Art Gallery.

Gallery Director Jenny Harper (right) shared a doughnut and a cup of tea with some of the key supporters to watch the final total come in.  

Westpac's South Island Head of Retail Banking John Brophy (left) was there to present 'the bull' (stored in the crate) with a ‘Best in Show’ rosette.  Westpac helped lead the campaign charge and partnered with the Christchurch Art Gallery Trust to match (and therefore effectively double) the Pledge Me total.

The first supporter to write a letter to The Press Pat Unger (middle) was also there to celebrate the purchase.  Commenting on the 'power of art', her letter expressed the powerful response to this work, and suggested the city should buy it.

Westpac Director of Corporate Affairs Sue Foley says “We are delighted to be the primary funder in partnership with the Trust and thank our own local Westpac staff who helped ensure the campaign was a success.  We also thank Gallery Director Jenny Harper for her drive, enthusiasm and belief that such a demanding target could be met."

The Chair of the Christchurch Art Gallery Trust Mike Stenhouse says "We are so re-enforced by this community which has, like us, backed the bull.”

“All pledges and miscellaneous donations – large and small – have given us the courage and support needed to commit to buying this major sculpture for the people of Christchurch.  All pledges will be matched by ours.”

As well as 867 Pledgers, there was media support from: The Press, RadioLIVE, iSITE, and Life & Leisure.  Leaders of the Charge,  who helped the overall campaign with $10,000+ donations, were: Chartwell Trust, The Press, Chapman Tripp, Colliers International, Friends of Christchurch Art Gallery, Dame Jenny Gibbs, McFadden Family, Tony Kerridge, PACE Project Management, Nati and Stewart Kaa, Andrew and Jenny Smith, Ben and Penny Gough, and Meadow Mushrooms.

Image courtesy of Michael Parekowhai and Michael Lett.

Chapman’s Homer, a 1.8 tonne bronze bull, was made by Parekowhai for the Venice Biennale in 2011. It struck a lasting symbolic chord with the people of Christchurch when it was brought to the city in July last year on its return to New Zealand.

Currently crated and stored at the Christchurch Art Gallery, conversations are underway about possible public locations over the next two years. Gallery Director Jenny Harper says, “There are a few leads we’d like to explore in the new year to make sure this popular work remains available to all who’ve supported it and taken it to their heart.”

“The artist loves the idea of his work bringing communities together as Chapman’s Homer clearly has. The sculpture is expected to be clearly visible to all when it’s located finally on the redesigned forecourt of the Christchurch Art Gallery in time for our re-opening in 2015.” 

For more information on ‘Back the Bull’, visit or Pledge Me.

Updated on 7th October 2019