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Auckland Airport unveils revamped international terminal plaza with returning Jean Batten statue

written by Newsdesk | March 21, 2024

Auckland Airport unveils revamped international terminal plaza with returning Jean Batten statue

Auckland Airport has revealed a new welcome for customers at its international terminal, featuring the return of a life-like statue of renowned New Zealand aviator Jean Batten, as part of a significant upgrade to the outdoor plaza.

The old main carpark outside the international terminal has been transformed into a 19,500m2 outdoor plaza, aiming to deliver a smoother and more memorable experience for travellers. The revamped space includes the relocated cast bronze statue of Jean Batten, which was removed in late 2022 for safekeeping and conservation work.

The statue now occupies a more prominent position, welcoming and farewelling customers amidst extensive native planting, including 22 large Pōhutukawa trees and more than 4,000 new plants from local nurseries. The landscaping surrounds the new covered walkways linking the soon-to-open Transport Hub, long-term parking, hotels, and the terminal itself.

Mark Thomson, Auckland Airport’s Chief Commercial Officer, said the refresh of the international terminal’s outdoor area was designed to match customers’ expectations of arriving and departing from New Zealand’s main international gateway.

“Whether you’re a visitor to New Zealand or you call this place home, we wanted that first – or last – moment on New Zealand soil to be a great experience,” Thomson said.

The Batten statue, previously high on a stone plinth, is now at ground level, arm outstretched in a wave greeting and farewelling travellers. Thomson expressed the airport’s delight in having the statue return, noting that Batten was an accomplished New Zealander who deserved to be celebrated in the heart of the outdoor space.

Conservation work on the 35-year-old statue, created by New Zealand sculptor Anthony Stones, was undertaken by conservator Liz Yuda from Auckland-based Artefacts Conservation Limited over a 12-month period. Yuda aimed to preserve the artist’s intent and worked on the intricate surface details of the statue.

Batten’s original Percival Gull 6, in which she completed her pioneering journey, is another popular feature of the airport, suspended from the ceiling between the public departures and arrivals area at the international terminal.

The revamped plaza and the return of the Jean Batten statue are part of the seven and half hectare re-development currently underway at Auckland Airport, aiming to enhance the customer experience and celebrate New Zealand’s history and natural beauty.

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