Wild Creations inspired by nature

Conservation and Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry with Waitakere artists Fiona Pardington at the launch of the new Wild Creations initiative in Auckland on Friday. Photo: Facebook.

New Zealand’s unique natural heritage is set to inspire Kiwi artists through a new initiative being run in collaboration between the Department of Conservation and Creative New Zealand.

The Wild Creations initiative will offer a range of opportunities to connect Kiwi artists with the people, stories and challenges of our country’s distinctive natural culture.

Conservation and Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry says this will see artists get involved in a range ways, from spending  time alongside a threatened species recovery team and tracking native bird predators, to accompanying volunteers on conservation projects.

“Creative NZ will invest up to $36,000 (excluding GST) to support the initiative which will be used for artist stipends, travel and agreed costs associated with up to three proposals over one year,” she explains.

“It’s likely to represent a particularly good return on investment when cost is measured against outcomes.”

Maggie believes Wild Creations will present a good return on investment for DOC, which is not making a direct financial contribution but is supporting artists with accommodation at their sites and transport to get there.

The artwork produced will directly support several key objectives, including bringing our history to life, and connecting New Zealanders to conservation, adds Maggie.

“Not only will this programme inspire some of our most talented artists, the work they produce will help promote a wider understanding and awareness of conservation issues with New Zealanders.”  

Wild Creations is a revitalised version of an earlier collaboration which ran between 2002 and 2012, with this new programme offering a much wider range of opportunities for artists.

In total, up to three artists will get access to a range of DOC experiences between November this year and June 2018.

During Friday’s launch of the initiative at Fort Takapuna, a historic DOC site near Auckland, Maggie spoke alongside artist and previous Wild Creations recipient, Fiona Pardington, who talked about the value of her six-week experience in Central Otago. 

“I have one of Fiona’s artworks at home – huia feathers – to remind me of the cost of extinction. Once something is gone, it’s gone forever.

“Through the works produced by artists like Fiona, this programme will showcase the natural heritage of some of the wild places that many of us can’t or don’t get the chance to visit.”

The range of experiences on offer include:

  •   •  Experience of a place of particular significance to Māori

  •   •  A community group/volunteering/immersion experience

  •   •  An iwi engagement experience related to sites important to Tangata Whenua

  •   •  An experience involving a historic icon site managed by DOC

  •   •  A threatened species experience, such as working alongside the Kakapo recovery team

  •   •  An experience involving an island, such as being involved in tracking and trapping predators

  •   •  A coastal experience, such as being exposed to marine mammal monitoring

  •   •  An urban explorer experience, which brings people to the natural environment

  •   •  A remote experience such as staying in a warden’s hut over the winter.

To learn more or to apply for the Wild Creations programme, visit www.creativenz.govt.nz

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