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3 NZ artists awarded Wild Creations residencies

Three New Zealand artists awarded Wild Creations residencies

An Auckland musician, an Auckland photographer and a Christchurch theatre performer and puppeteer have been selected by The Department of Conservation and Creative New Zealand to take part in the second Wild Creations artist-in-residence programme.

Wild Creations is a partnership between The Department of Conservation and Creative New Zealand. It aims to foster links between conservation and artists by encouraging them to create work inspired by New Zealand’s unique places, people, stories and natural environments.

More than 84 artists applied for the 6-week residencies which take place at a range of conservation sites throughout New Zealand. DOC provides accommodation and logistical support for the artists, and Creative NZ, a stipend of $5,000, plus up to $1,000 for travel and materials to each artist.

Musician Jordan Reyne will create music based on the relationships that New Zealanders of different cultural backgrounds have with the land. She intends to spend time in the Karamea area on the West Coast, gathering sound from the site and composing music.

Photographer Fiona Pardington, of Ngai Tahu descent, will visit pounamu (greenstone) areas at the head of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown. She specialises in large format black-and-white photography and her work was included in the Te Puawai a Ngai Tahu, one of the major inaugural exhibitions at the Christchurch Art Gallery earlier this year. Theatre performer and puppeteer Rebekah Wild wishes to create a puppet theatre work, based on the environment in the Franz Josef Glacier area. She has recently returned to New Zealand after having spent time in Europe for over five years.

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Creative New Zealand Chief Executive Elizabeth Kerr said that the selection panel were impressed with the high standard of entries.

“The panellists were looking for applicants who demonstrated a connection to the natural and cultural values of their chosen areas, and whose proposals indicated they would create work in direct response to the site they chose.”

The Wild Creations programme was inaugurated in 2002, with three successful applicants taking up residencies this year.

Wellington writer Jo Randerson stayed at Te Angiangi Marine Reserve and Cape Kidnappers, writing short stories and a solo theatre performance.

Auckland sculptor Christine Hellyar headed for Egmont National Park, where she collected sculpture, photographs and drawings for an exhibition. In particular, she worked with the idea of vegetation as the cloak on the body of the land.

Christchurch film-maker Zoe Roland recorded a documentary on video at Tiritiri Matangi Island in the Hauraki Gulf on the island’s native flora and fauna.

DOC senior conservation awareness adviser Anne McLean said that the success of the first three residencies had had a resonance with this year’s applicants. “The quality of this year’s entries shows that artists see great value in these residencies, which is good for conservation awareness.”

Ms McLean said that the residencies were an ideal way of promoting New Zealand’s natural heritage.

“This partnership is an example of the way in which government agencies can work together for mutual benefit,” she said. “The residencies foster links between the conservation and arts communities, provide a valuable opportunity for artists to work in these protected places. They also help promote a wider understanding of conservation values and awareness of conservation issues in New Zealand.”

DOC is New Zealand’s leading central government agency responsible for the conservation of New Zealand’s natural and historic heritage. Its vision is to ensure that, “New Zealand’s natural and historic heritage is protected; people enjoy it and are involved with the department in its conservation”.

Creative New Zealand is the country’s leading arts development agency whose purpose is to encourage, support and promote the arts in New Zealand for the benefit of all New Zealanders.

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