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Whale Tales Comes Ashore!

80 Tails telling 80 tales debuts in Auckland’s largest public art trail of 2022.

From this Monday, over the next 12 weeks, an incredible immersive public art trail celebrating Aotearoa, art, and marine conservation will guide residents and visitors around Auckland. 80 Tail sculptures designed by 80 artists are telling 80 stories of a healthy ocean inspired by Hauraki Gulf resident, the Bryde’s whale.

Pronounced Broo-dus, Bryde’s whales are found in the coastal waters around the Hauraki Gulf/Tīikapa Moana/Te Moana Nui a Toi. It is one of only three places in the world to have a resident, year round, population. Unfortunately, they’re now nationally critical, with only 135 remaining.

“Bryde’s whales are, as I’ve affectionately dubbed them, the panda of the ocean. Despite being 15 metres long, they laze about close to the surface of the water and eat a lot. Unfortunately, this makes them vulnerable to plastic pollution, unsustainable fishing practises, climate change, ship strikes, noise pollution, and other human activities are also threatening the survival of this unique taonga. Together, we can do something about this,” says WWF-New Zealand’s CEO Livia Esterhazy.

By focusing the spotlight on the plight of the Bryde’s whales and the state of their home. These sculptures will help shine a light on this endangered species, their connection to the magically diverse Hauraki Gulf, and the critical role of conservation plays in saving our marine environment and the Bryde’s whale.

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“Bryde’s whales are an indicator of ocean health, if our whale populations are healthy and thriving, it is a sign our ocean is also healthy and thriving. Whale Tales is the story of a healthy ocean. Whales have been singing their own stories for generations and now is our opportunity to amplify their voices,” continues Esterhazy.

Whale Tales is an opportunity for New Zealand’s artists, businesses, schools, community groups, and individuals to create a marine-themed public art installation to capture the hearts of locals and visitors, while catalysing positive action to protect Bryde’s whales and restore our ocean’s health. This event is brought to you by WWF-New Zealand and Wild in Art and made possible through the support of Auckland Unlimited and, presenting partner, Harcourts.

Whale Tales is a stunning anchor to kick start our 2022 events calendar says AUCKLAND UNLIMITED CEO Nick Hill, “As Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland’s economic and cultural agency, this partnership gives us the opportunity to not only champion and support some amazing artists, but also highlight the importance of protecting our marine environment. Whale Tales will encourage Aucklanders and visitors to explore all corners of the region, learn more about our marine environment and help raise funds to support the work of WWF-New Zealand.”

From London to Melbourne, Wild in Art has hosted sculpture trails around the globe and raised millions of dollars for charity. Recently Wild in Art produced the Pop-Up Penguins Trail in Christchurch. Their 50 penguin sculptures raised over $1,000,000 for Cholmondeley Children’s Centre.

Charlie Langhorne, Managing Director and Co-founder of Wild in Art, says, “We are delighted to be returning to Auckland and working with our partners WWF-New Zealand and Auckland Unlimited to create Whale Tales - our second art trail in the city. Our events are designed to bring the enjoyment of public art to everyone while offering new ways for people to explore their local area, but we need the support of local businesses to make it happen. Sponsorship of a whale tail is an unprecedented business development, employee, and community engagement opportunity. There are many exciting ways to benefit from creative collaborations with us and it is an excellent way to support WWF-New Zealand’s vital work. Join us for a whale of a time.”

Incredible artists from around Aotearoa, the known and the unknown representing every culture, age, and style have donated their time and talents to bring these Tails to life. This includes the likes of Otis Frizzell, Gregory O'Brien, Cora Allan Wickliffe, Weta Workshop and Jeff Thomson, “The diversity and beauty of the Tails and tales brought to life by these amazing artists is truly breathtaking. When we imagined the project, we could not have begun to imagine the passion, creativity, and heart put into every single sculpture,” says Esterhazy.

Throughout the trail, there will be lots of new, exciting ways to be part of the fun. From the Vector Lights show at the harbour bridge, to science seminars, theme weeks, sponsor activations, and the launch of the children’s book, ‘Hauraki Broo,’ there are so many ways to get involved. Plus, Whale Tales is not just limited to Tāmaki Makaurau. For the first time ever, kiwis near and far, will be able to enjoy a virtual trail created by sponsor Pop That! The virtual trail will be available 1 February 2022. In March, our Pēpi pod, 80 mini tales designed by school children across Auckland, will also go on display.

Once the trail closes, we will have a final farewell weekend celebration at Silo Park before the sculptures are auctioned off. The proceeds will go towards WWF’s critical mission to protect and restore the mauri (life force) of our ocean, including – the endangered Bryde’s Whale.

The Whale Tales 2022 app, featuring the trail map, sponsor deals, activities, and a whole lot more is available. Download via the App Store or Google Play.



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