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'Wild Creations' - artists with a conservation connection

Ministers’ release: 19 May 2017

Our unique natural heritage is set to inspire New Zealand artists through an initiative announced today by the Minister of Conservation and the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Maggie Barry.

“Wild Creations will offer a range of opportunities to connect New Zealand artists with the people, stories and challenges of our distinctive natural culture - from spending time alongside a threatened species recovery team and tracking native bird predators, to accompanying volunteers on conservation projects,” Ms Barry says.

The programme is a collaboration between the Department of Conservation (DOC) and Creative New Zealand.  The Minister made the announcement at Fort Takapuna, an historic DOC site near Auckland.

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

“Wild Creations also represents a good return on investment for DOC, which is not making a direct financial contribution but is supporting artists with accommodation at DOC 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.”

 “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.”  

Up to three artists will get access to a range of DOC experiences between November this year and June 2018.

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

Minister Barry 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,” Ms Barry says.

Fiona Pardington: Davis Kea Wings 2015. Courtesy of Starkwhite. Archival inkjet print on Gessoed substrate or Hahnemuhle paper With thanks, Department of Conservation, Arthur's Pass National Park Visitor Centre.

“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.

More information on Wild Creations can be found on the Creative New Zealand website.

Updated on 30th May 2017