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New group seeks creative kiwis to save the world

New group seeks creative kiwis to save the world

Kiwi creatives are getting together to tackle one of the most serious issues of our time – climate change. And they're doing it with a grin on their faces.

A small group of designers, comic artists and art enthusiasts have set up a collective called High Water which aims to get creative New Zealanders producing work that deals with global warming.

High Water’s first event puts a comedic spin on a traditionally serious topic, a climate change comedy night which reignites the issue, and promises an injection of the best medicine of all – laughter.

“We wanted to do something different to what activist groups usually do,” says High Water founder, Lisa Waldner. “And to the best of our knowledge, no one else in the world has tried something like this – climate change and comedy – together at last!”

The group have convinced some high profile comedians to get involved, including Michele A'Court (Female Comedian of the Decade 2010) and Jeremy Elwood (Best MC 2007), Mark Scott, Tim Batt and Maarten Idema. The show, named Hot Air, will run at the Classic Comedy Bar on Queen Street in late March.

“The whole event sits perfectly with our ethos,” Lisa says. “It's about creatives getting an important message out there by doing what they do best – in this case, comedy – and getting paid to do it.”

High Water wants artists to benefit from the work that they do with the collective. “We're keen to help promote artist's profiles as well as the subject matter of climate change. If door sales at an event earn the artist money, all the better,” Lisa says. “We want High Water to empower artists as
well as getting the message out there in new creative ways.”

High Water co-founder, Damon Keen hopes that artists will embrace the idea. He believes that the media have failed in their duty to deal with the issue of global warming. “Traditional media channels, like newspapers and TV have been compromised by the corporate media companies that own them. It's in their best interests to pretend that there is still controversy around the science of climate change, even though that was resolved years ago.

“In 2013 we saw a raft of extreme weather events globally, and yet reporting on climate change in the media is at a seven year low. Frankly, if the media aren't going to do their job, then it's up to us to create new ways to look at the issue. Heck, if you don’t laugh about it – you’ll cry!”

“Artists – be they musicians, performers, designers, photographers, illustrators, or film makers – are natural communicators,” Lisa adds. “And I think a lot of them are concerned about the complete lack of progress on global warming. I really think – and hope - that by creating a new platform to work with, we can get climate change back onto the public agenda.”

High Water have a number of exciting projects planned for the year, including a climate change poster competition, a hard cover comic anthology and a play. But their first event is Hot Air – and they hope creatives – and everyone else – will come along to find out more about the collective – and have a good laugh while they’re at it.


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