Western Leader : January 21st 2011
14 WESTERN LEADER, JANUARY 21, 2011 NEWS SUNDAY 13TH MARCH 2011 START TIME 9.30AM rOunD THe BaYs PORTS OF AUCKLAND www.roundthebays.co.nz ENTER NOW! SUPPORTING THESE GREAT CHARITIES JANUARY & FEBRUARY OPENING HOURS MONDAY -- FRIDAY: 8AM -4PM NEW ZEALAND GIFTS New Zealand Skincare Products, Soft Toys, Dolls, Badges, Keyrings, Adult & Child T-Shirts , Tea Towels, Sweets, Soaps, Stationery, NZ Flags, Flip Flop Footwear, Caps, Beanies, plus much more. Factory seconds, end of product runs. THIS SATURDAY (and every Saturday) 6PM -- MIDNIGHT 200 Amazing stalls • Food, Fashion, Fun 50 Authentic food stalls, cooking up tasty "street snacks" and delicacies from around the world Free live entertainment. (All weather fully undercover) Phone 09 576 5223 or 027 689 9520 www.aucklandnightmarket.co.nz From dinosaurs to pirates Egg shape: Alan Walker sculpted this dinosaur egg and when it's finished it will sit alongside one of the newest attractions at Rainbow's End, Riki the Raptor. Ever wondered where all the weird and wonderful characters at Rainbow's End sprang from? Reporter Jessie Colquhoun and photographer Shane Wenzlick satisfy their curiosity. Alien nation: This alien keeps Alan Walker company in his workshop. When it's finished, it will be displayed by The Invader ride. Skullduggery: This pirate skull will eventually be part of the log flume ride. The log flume at Rain- bow's End is an eight- minute journey that transports you into another world. Twisting and turning down the river in a log- shaped boat, you travel through a pirate town and into a dark cave where there are pixies, colourful gardens and a mountain of gold. As you eagerly await the steep plunge into the lake at the end of the ride, it's easy to miss the attention to detail engineered by the park's theme artist. Alan Walker is the man behind all the sculptures, signs, ideas and stories the theme park attractions tell. My job is all about kids extending their creativity and imagin- ation. It's all about mak- ing it more than just hopping on the ride and hopping off it.'' When he first started in the role only one min- ute of the ride was themed. He made it his goal to extend the thrill. It's not just about what's on the ride, it's about what they see as well.'' Mr Walker spends his days in a workshop in the company of pixies, aliens, pirate skulls and dinosaur eggs. The room is a scene of organised chaos but it's where the magic of Rainbow's End really comes to life. Being a theme artist is hardly a run of the mill job and Mr Walker says there's no such thing as an average day. I can be working on six projects at once, which can be very excit- ing. When you're doing a whole park you do a little bit, leave and then come back again.'' The jack-of-all-trades doesn't stick to one medium either -- he does everything from sculpt- ing to painting to sketching and t-shirt design. He even directed and filmed a short black-and- white western film that screens while people are waiting to ride the Gold Rush. I do a bit of every- thing. There's no one material I work with.'' Mr Walker's creativity started as a youngster building model air- planes. Then I thought I don't need to buy this stuff, I can make it.'' His foray into theme work was inspired 15 years ago by a trip to the holy grail of theme parks. I saw places like Disneyland and thought I'd love to do something like that here.'' Before starting at Rainbow's End two years ago Mr Walker worked on movies and television programmes. He's also used his skills at home and built his daughter a Disneyland-style castle in the backyard when she was younger. As long as Mr Walker stays at the park, log flume riders have a lot to look forward to. He has big ideas to help with expanding the thrill''.
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