The Kauri Project was initiated in June of 2013 to research and develop community engagement exhibitions, events and activities, using art as a tool alongside science and other cultural activity and knowledge, in order to promote awareness of kauri dieback, kauri biodiversity and the significant role kauri plays in the ecology, history, economy and cultural landscape of Aotearoa/New Zealand.
The main object of the trust is to: “educate and encourage the awareness of the public, in respect of the preservation, protection and conservation of kauri, and it’s associated ecosystem including associated fauna and flora, through engaging with Iwi, artists including international artists, indigenous artists and communities, scientists educators and the general public and the development of exhibitions, installations, hui, seminars, symposium, film, music, written word, publication, workshops, alternative media, and, by any other means, in New Zealand and overseas, to advance knowledge and understanding of this taonga in order to facilitate protection of the kauri species and to advance environmental knowledge and understanding generally.”
Our belief is that a creative cultural engagement engenders a deep emotional connection essential for the public broadly to understand, and respond to, the messaging around kauri dieback, including the important necessary behaviour change of hygiene (cleaning shoes and equipment when entering the forest) and respect for track closures, etc. We recognize the valuable role of artists and creative people as communicators, influencers and community activators, and work with the goal of utilizing these abilities in the cause of kauri preservation.
A Charitable Trust was established in September 2014, with a seven member board of trustees including: Jack Craw, Eamon Nathan, Will Ngakuru, Hamish Coney, Sophie Jerram, Ariane Craig-Smith, Chris McBride. The Trust’s public activities are undertaken by co-curators and co-producers Ariane Craig-Smith and Chris McBride.
Art, creativity, mātauranga, science
The Kauri project recognises the valuable role of artists and creative people as communicators, influencers and community activators. An important intention of The Kauri Project is to foster the role of art and creative practice as a tool for individuals and communities to understand and respond to an environmental issue, by exposing them to high quality artwork that addresses the issue, made by nationally and regionally recognised artists, and alongside this providing and encouraging opportunities for local creative practitioners, schools and students to address the topic.
The Kauri Project researches and develops community engagement exhibitions, events and activities, using art as a tool alongside mātauranga Maori, science and other cultural and research activities, to promote awareness of kauri biodiversity, kauri dieback and the significant role kauri plays in the ecology, history, economy and cultural landscape of Aotearoa/New Zealand.
Our belief is that a creative cultural engagement engenders a deep emotional connection essential for the public to understand, and respond to, the messaging around kauri dieback. Artists and creative people as communicators, influencers and community activators, play an important role as communicators. An important intention is to foster the role of art and creative practice as a tool for individuals and communities to understand and respond to an environmental issue, by exposing them to high quality artwork addressing the issue, and to provide and encourage opportunities for national and local creative practitioners, schools and students to address the topic.
Our activity has been widespread across the kauri region, including forming networks and promoting the subject to galleries, artists, community organisations; talking to scientists involved with kauri research; working with scientists to deliver field-trips with artists and general public; commissioning artwork and curating exhibitions; producing giveaway educational posters and other diverse activities.
Speaking, Networking, Influencing
We have been fortunate to attend and be invited to contribute to diverse gatherings and events, in order to gather knowledge and to spread awareness of kauri dieback and the work we are doing, including:
Creativity Summit – Putting the HeART into Business
University of Auckland 5–6 September 2017. The Kauri Project – using creativity to lead projects of revitalisation
Kauri Dieback Matauranga Maori Hui
6 September 2013, Ngā Pai o Te Maaramatanga / University of Auckland. Invited to attend and speak briefly on the project and kaupapa.
Kauri Dieback Symposium
November 2013, University of Auckland. Including meeting visiting Phytopthora expert Dr. Giles Hardy.
Kokiri Putahi Indigenous Artists Hui
Kaikohe, January 2014 where we met with New Zealand and international artists.
Kauri Dieback Symposium
January 2015, Omapere, Hokianga, including exhibiting and sharing our first poster series.
Pacific Arts Association Symposium
March 2016, Auckland Museum. Māori artist Charlotte Graham, who has contributed to our poster series and exhibition programme, and become a key ambassador for our programme and kaupapa, spoke about her work with The Kauri Project and shared posters to audience including other leading Māori and Pacific artists and visiting international artists and academics.
Kai Mārika Indigenous Food Sovereignty Workshop
November 2016, University of Auckland.
Brick Bay Sculpture Park – Artwork launch event
January 2014. We produced an event for the launch of artist Tiffany Singh’s sculptural installation The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way at Brick Bay Sculpture Park, near Matakana. Stacey Hill (KDMP) spoke about kauri and dieback alongside Tiffany Singh and a performance from artist Phil Dadson. TKP liaised with Brick Bay management and KDMP to establish a crate station at the entrance to the grove. The grove and sculpture walk have over 10,000 visitors a year, and a permanent cleaning station has since been installed. Education and prevention of transference was the key factor in initiating this response.
Image: Tiffany Singh The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way, 2014, Brick Bay installation.
Research collaboration – Cape Farewell Project
2015. A four-day visit to Whangarei, Waipoua, Hokianga and Aurere with David Buckland, Director of international arts project Cape Farewell, and Victoria University-based atmospheric scientist Rhian Salmond. This was a fact-finding research trip to discuss synergies between the two organisations, visit artist Will Ngakuru, and Hekenukumai Busby, the builder and navigator of Te Aurere, the first double-hulled waka built in Aotearoa in recent times. Cape Farewell is a UK-based art project initiated in 2001, to instigate a cultural response to the challenge of climate change. Working internationally, they bring together artists/creatives, scientists and informers in order to stimulate discussion and public awareness of climate change and related environmental issues. http://www.capefarewell.com/
Image: David Buckland (Cape Farewell), Will Ngakuru (artist and TKP trustee) with Te Aurere waka constructed from kauri.
The Kauri Project is building partnerships with organisations and individual supporters to engage with the Trust and its activities.
Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou katoa / The Kauri Project extends our thanks to the following organisations: Kauri Dieback Programme, Te Roroa, Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery, Chartwell Trust, Opticmix, Soar Print, Stout Trust, Creative New Zealand and the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO.
The Kauri Project Trust
Chris McBride is an arts manager/consultant, curator and designer/artist. Adviser/manager to the Hone Tuwhare Charitable Trust, former manager of McCahon House Museum and Artists’ Residency, co-curated the retrospective Wellington Media Collective exhibition and publication – We Will Work With You –Wellington Media Collective 1978-1998 for The Adam Art Gallery, St Paul St Gallery, Mangere Arts Centre. Govett Brewster/Len Lye Centre and Dunedin Public Art Gallery.
Ariane Craig Smith is an arts manager, curator, writer and mother who grew up in the wilds of the Bay of Islands and currently resides in Auckland. Formerly Programme Manager - Visual Arts for Auckland Arts Festival 2015, 2013 and 2011 programmes, previous curatorial projects include The Floral Show: Local Exotic at Fresh Gallery Otara, 2014, Julian Dashper: Professional Practice 2010 at Gus Fisher and You Are Here at ARTSPACE 2008, which was her graduate exhibition as the ARTSPACE 2007 Curatorial Intern.
Hamish Coney is a co-founder (2007) and Managing Director of Art + Object Auction House, which specialises in contemporary and modern art, photography and object, applied art and 20th Century design.
General Manager/director of Koru Biosecurity Management, providing services including planning, costing and implementing biosecurity programmes for exclusion, eradication and control/ management; risk management; liaison / persuasion at any level; people management. Before this he was Manager of Biosecurity for Auckland Council until February 2014, leading a dedicated team of staff who were instrumental in developing research and raising awareness of kauri dieback across the region. He is also the author of “Poisonous Plants and Fungi in NZ” 1995, and “The Good Plant Guide” 1996.
Sophie Jerram‘s work as a curator, artist and businesswoman has had a particular interest in issues surrounding sustainability and art’s examination of the relationship between business and the environment. A founding curator of Letting Space with Mark Amery, other curatorial projects include, Gaining Interest, Gift of the Artist (all Artspace, Auckland), Bombs Away (Adam Art Gallery and Physics Room), Posted Love (National Library Gallery) and The Concrete Deal (James Smiths Carpark). As part of Now Future, a partnership with Dugal McKinnon founded to instigate and realise arts-led projects that address key issues in sustainability and ecology, she has been running lecture series Dialogues with Tomorrow since 2010.
Te Roroa, Ngati Torahina, Ngati Rongo, Nga Puhi, Ngati Arera (Cook Islands). Currently Kaiwhakahaere-Programme Manager for Reconnecting Northland. Formerly Research Programme Coordinator for Nga Pae o te Maramatanga. As Wānanga Project Coordinator, Eamon Nathan coordinated the wānanaga programme in Waipoua. He has a Bachelor in Hapū Development from Te Wānanga-o-Raukawa. He spent four years working with ATTTO and Skills Active developing meaningful training programmes for Māori, and worked in the Māori health sector with Te Hotu Manawa Māori 2011. His interests include Tākaro Māori (Māori games) and studying Te Reo Māori.
advisor / retired trustee
Te Roroa, Te Rarawa, Ngapuhi.
Will is a carver/sculptor based on ancestral land at the edge of Waipoua Forest in the Hokianga. He is an iwi representative on the leadership team of the collaborative Kauri Dieback Management Programme between tangata whenua, the Ministry of Primary Industries, the Department of Conservation and four regional councils, and is also working with Te Roroa iwi on the proposed development of Waipoua Forest as a Kauri National Park. He is passionate about toi Māori and feels privileged that his journey has enabled him to return home and create work using stories, styles, patterns, and forms of his own whanau, hapu and iwi. He has exhibited his work in a number of galleries and festivals throughout New Zealand, including participation at Piko international artists gathering in Hawaii in 2007, and the International Indigenous Arts Festival in Khabarovsk, Far Eastern Russia, 2010.