Sculptures provide kiwi encounters

Kiwi trust volunteer Hannah Flatman holding one of the kiwi chick sculptures. Supplied images.

A display hosted by Te Kōputu a te whanga a Toi Whakatāne Library & Exhibition Centre is giving local residents their ticket to the next best thing to a kiwi encounter.

Ten life-sized and life-like bronze kiwi sculptures will be on display from October 6 - 31. 

The exhibit will be Whakatāne’s first chance to see the new sculptures which will form a scavenger hunt and education arts trail through the town. 

Artist Dr. Liz Grant delivered the sculptures to Whakatāne on at the end oflast month. 

She says she spent countless hours creating the new sculptures.

“I loved every minute of it; each of these birds is special to me – they are like my children!”  The artist and her taonga were welcomed to town by Ngāti Hokopū hapu members at Wairaka Marae. 

“The ‘Kiwi Wandering’ project aims to provide families, children, and people who aren’t able to go into the bush, an opportunity to interact with kiwi,” says Kiwi Trust volunteer Neil Hutton. 

The entire Kiwi Wandering trail will be wheelchair friendly and accessible for people of all ages and abilities.  Whakatāne has a high number of kiwi living very close to town; these new sculptures will help remind residents that Whakatāne kiwi are wandering into our urban areas and we need to protect them.

The statues are sponsored by the Whakatāne Ōhope Community Board, Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Air Chathams, Ngāti Awa Group Holdings Limited, Department of Conservation, and the Whakatāne Kiwi Trust.

This exhibition will be the only time you’ll ever be able to see all 10 kiwi sculptures in one place.  Once they are installed along the trail they will never be together again. 

The Whakatāne Library will also be running a kiwi themed colouring contest in October for kids so make sure to stop by and see Whakatāne’s 10 new kiwi.

Two kiwi chicks created by Liz Grant.

Ngati Hokopu welcomes artist to Whakatane at Wairaka Marae.

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