Giant erection: Shiva statue sparks a spat
A religious row between two neighbours in rural Auckland broke out this weekend after one erected a 6.4m statue of the Hindu god Shiva on his land.
Ravin Chand, above, said he installed the 30-tonne Hindu figure so that he and his family could pray to it.
But neighbour Bryce Watts, a Catholic, said the marble statue was “bizarre” and “offensive”. He huffed:
Religiously and culturally it’s a bit insensitive to us and I can’t believe they’re able to do this. Part of our property looks at it and it’s part of a religion we don’t agree with. I don’t see why we should have it poked down our throats in such a big way.
Chand, who had obtained the necessary planning permission for his huge erection, hit back:
Everybody else who has gone past has stopped and admired it. [But Watts] compared it with ‘me putting up a [Nazi] swastika next door to you’. I said, ‘Well if you want to put it up, feel free to put it up. Nobody can stop you from doing that, it’s your property.’
I’m not bothered. I haven’t got time for people like that.
It took Chand – who commissioned the carving of the marble statue from a sculptor in China in June last year – more than a week to assemble Shiva.
He would not reveal what the statue cost, saying only:
It cost me an arm and a leg. I don’t want to put a price on god.
It was so large it had to be mounted on solid concrete foundations. Workmen with diggers were still working on the finishing touches this weekend.
Watts complained he was not informed about the proposed statue, and said it was “bizarre” it could be erected without any consultation with neighbouring properties.
They’ve let it go ahead to be built without consulting us, and we’re probably the most affected here because everywhere we go on our property it’s kind of there.
I’ve been to the council and asked about it and evidently it was within their rights to do it and it doesn’t need a permit, even though it’s a 6.4m-high concrete statue. It’s 10m from our boundary which is within the rules where you can build a building.
It’s like, ‘bad luck, if you don’t like it, it’s your problem’. I find it really hard to believe in this day and age that this can happen.