Solace in the Wind, the iconic landmark on Wellington’s waterfront, is arguably New Zealand’s best-loved public art work. The two-metre cast-iron statue depicts a naked man with his arms flung back behind him facing out towards the elements of Wellington’s windy harbour. It is located on the waterfront outside The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Cable Street, Te Aro, Wellington

It was originally installed as a temporary loan to the city in February 2008. Personally funded and sculpted by Max the clay sculpture was created at the multi academy award winning studios of Weta Workshop where Max was working at the time as head of the sculpting department. It was later reproduced in iron at the foundry ‘Cast Components’ in Palmerston North. The sculpture was purchased by Wellington City Council after just 3 months into its 12 month temporary loan.

Further full size editions of the work can be found in private collections around the world from sculpture gardens on roof tops in Munich to nature reserves in the outback Australia.

Max celebrates the sculpture that launched his career with the release of 4 maquette size versions of the work

In February 2018 the studio released a limited edition ten year anniversary maquette of Solace in the Wind. The edition of 600mm sculptures were 100% New Zealand made and were an exact 1/3 replica of the original on the waterfront. The maquettes stand on a genuine piece of old Wellington wharf beam which the artist tracked down and purchased especially for the purpose of this sculpture.

Due to the overwhelmingly positive response to this series and the repeated requests for additional series of maquettes the Max Patté studio is delighted to release the details of further maquettes at various sizes. Each edition is unique. No two works will ever display the same patina or stand on the same section of old wharf beam.

Displayed indoors in dry conditions the patina of the sculpture should remain relatively stable. As with the original full size sculpture, that was intended to weather and change with the years, placing the work outdoors or in damp conditions will alter the colouring of the patina.

Read the original proposal for Solace In The Wind below




Through discussion, and with the generous support of Richard Taylor at Weta Workshop, I have instigated this sculpture that I believe would further enrich the already thriving and vibrant culture of Wellington’s Art world whilst encouraging calm contemplation and reflection in a dynamic city.

It is a piece personal to me both in terms of its subject matter and its chosen site.

This particular spot on Wellington’s harbour front is the place where I have come to sit and lose myself in thought and find solace through a year of distress and sadness. It is the spot where a large part of my soul has been healed and my heart has wept. It is here, alone, in ‘my place’ in what has become my city, with my face in the wind and back to the world that I have felt a sense of relief, comfort and homeliness. Free to let my tears roll unnoticed and new dreams form. Feeling the wind, the rain and the sun nurse my flesh and breath a new life into my body, cleansing my soul and washing away the pain of lost life and lost love.

The figure is not only an expression of this pain but evokes this desire to be alone with your thoughts. Lonely, naked and vulnerable its physicality reflects the psychological state that each of us experience at some time in our lives. Yet the expression on the face is deliberately ambiguous. Does he have his eyes closed in anguish or has he found calm? Retaining a classical sense of strength and control he leans almost precariously into the wind over the waters edge. It captures that moment before letting go, both physically and emotionally.

The edge of the sea offers a sense of serenity – where the world opens up and we surrender ourselves to the elements. Here we are able to find a place that offers peace and clarity, a place to re.evaluate life and find inspiration. At this spot, in these moments the world is literally at our feet. Our choices are open. The possibilities that life offers to each of us seem limitless. All we have to do is surrender ourselves to them, as the sculpture suggests, with the fall of the arms and tilt of the open palm.

With its arched back against a backdrop of glistening water the strong but graceful silhouette mimics the shape of a sail on a passing yacht or figurehead on an old ship. Its textured and corroded skin is intended to complement these ships and industrial nature of its setting. Steel, concrete, wood and iron, collectively an almost constantly evolving work with newly emerging patterns and colourations. It is as if the piece has a life of its own the physical effects of the elements becoming increasingly evident on the surface of the work with age. It is as if nature itself is lending a hand by creating its own art, doing the painting for us. Natural striations, colours and patterns that only nature can create over time.

Patterns of nature that leave a history of scars over which we have no control. Much the same way nature rules mercilessly over all our lives and loves. .

Max Patté