Waiheke artist has the WOW factor
Local artist Ann Skelly has scooped a third place award in the children’s garment section of the World of Wearable Art (WOW) show in Wellington.
This year’s theme for the children’s section, where the garments are made for children but designed by adults, was ‘My Imaginary Friend’.
Ann says inspiration for her entry, titled ‘Reel or Imaginary?’, hit when she unearthed a collection of old film reels at the Waiheke Cinema garage sale. While she was already working on an entry, Ann says her “imagination fired” at this discovery, and she knew that the reels would become an integral part of her design.
A bolt of fabric later discovered at the Waiheke SPCA shop and her husband’s cycle helmet completed the entirely locally sourced and made outfit.
‘Reel or Imaginary?’ is Ann’s 11th garment in the internationally reknowned show over the years.
She usually enters the children’s section and has previously been recognised with a second place award and has also been highly commended and received honourable mentions.
This year’s show is the last to include a children’s section so it was “especially nice” to get a placing, she says.
Along with the other designers, Ann attended a designer day hosted by the Wellington City Council.This included a tour of Peter Jackson’s Weta Workshop and the opportunity to mix with the other designers from the show who hailed from places as diverse as China, India and France, as well as all over New Zealand.
New chapter begins for learning centre
The new community education facility in the Artworks courtyard was officially opened last Wednesday with a blessing by Pita Mahaki and Maikara Ropata, on behalf of Piritahi Marae.
Chanting a karakia which cleared the way for the former library space to become the Waiheke Learning Centre, the pair led about 60 guests around the building in a moving ceremony that included staff, students and members of the public.
Waiheke Local Board members Shirin Brown and Beatle Treadwell spoke about the concept they had for the space to be open to the Waiheke community.
They also acknowledged Waiheke Adult Literacy for their promise to support this vision by welcoming people of all ages and backgrounds into the space.
Waiheke Adult Literacy chairperson Barbara Disley spoke of the organisation’s role in helping students gain confidence and important skills.
Rare shore plover spotted at Blackpool
A critically endangered shore plover has flown from Motutapu to Blackpool Beach in recent weeks.
Department of Conservation (DOC) biodiversity and biosecurity ranger Art Polkanov says the young bird was released on Motutapu in January.
Waiheke’s visitor could be seen as “a kind of a bird refugee which lost its home to urban sprawl,” says Dr Polkanov.
“The importance of the island shore habitats for some bird species is growing.
“Some territories on the mainland are becoming unavailable for birds because of the suburban development projects, in Albany, Coatesville and Whenuapai to name a few.
“Therefore I would expect more shore birds to be looking for a better life on offshore islands nearby,” he says.
Only about 65 breeding pairs of shore plovers or tuturuatu are known to exist in the wild worldwide.
Locals can help provide a safe habitat for the shore plover, which is closely related to the New Zealand dotterel, by putting dogs on leads, keeping cats indoors at night and controlling pests such as rats and stoats.
“New Zealand dotterel males are often killed by cats while incubating at night, because they don’t leave their nests,” says Dr Polkanov.
DOC is keen to hear about any sightings of shore plover or New Zealand dotterels on Waiheke.
“We need to know their distribution and nest grounds.”
Bird watchers can help identify when shore plovers visit certain areas, and record their interactions with other birds, such as antagonism at nesting grounds, aerial harassment, or predation.
Waiheke’s new shore plover has probably arrived in search of a mate and new breeding and feeding grounds, says Dr Polkanov.
Shore plovers were reported on Waiheke last year, but without photo confirmation or individual identification through leg bands.
Nineteen shore plovers were released on Motutapu in January and others have been released on the pest free island over the past three years.
Unfortunately, many of the birds disperse to other areas, where they are at risk from predators. • Rose Davis
Island doesn’t dig planting policy
Auckland Transport is again in the firing line, for considering banning fruit tree planting on roadsides.
Waiheke Local Board chairperson Paul Walden believes Auckland Transport’s draft policy on roadside planting is heading in entirely the wrong direction.
The draft policy states that planting fruit trees and vegetables on road verges would not be allowed.
This flies in the face of the local board’s fruit tree planting project this winter, which saw about 300 fruit trees planted by volunteers on roadsides and another 200 planted at other public sites.
“Fruit trees can result in squashed and decaying fruit being deposited on the berm or footpath.
“If left it can pose a nuisance to pedestrians and a health risk as it can attract vermin,” says the Auckland Transport draft policy.
The island has large areas which are zoned “bush residential”, and Mr Walden says planting native trees on roadsides in these areas should be encouraged because it would save thousands of dollars on roadside mowing.
However, Auckland Transport says outside of areas with standard suburban berms, it would only approve planting if Auckland Council parks staff took responsibility for maintenance of the planting.
In this situation, residents would need consent from council parks staff, the local board and Auckland Transport before planting could go ahead.
In standard suburban areas, Auckland Transport officials would decide which planting was allowed and give the local board a chance to confirm or overturn their decisions.
The planting policy was developed after several local boards asked Auckland Transport to adopt a more permissive approach to roadside planting because it “contributes positively to place shaping”.
However, the policy offers stringent rules for “permitted planting”, and people would have to pay $150 to apply to plant anything that grows outside the guidelines.
The policy only permits property owners to grow plants that reach no higher than 60 centimetres on the berm outside their house and encroach only 60 centimetres into the road corridor.
Plants under 30 centimetres in height can cover an area no bigger than two square metres.
Digging is only allowed to a depth of 20 centimetres.
Mr Walden says the local board will discuss the draft policy at its meeting tonight, and plans to oppose Auckland Transport’s direction.
“The policy has been drafted by a roading engineer looking through a very singular lens.
“It does not consider the amenity value of vegetation, the social values that can come out of having fruit trees providing an abundance of fruit for families, the potential for greater biodiversity in the road corridor through tree planting, or the value of vegetation in addressing pollution issues” he says.
Mr Walden accepts that Auckland Transport has valid concerns about visibility on roads.
It is also important to stop property owners encroaching on public land in a way that bars people from accessing the berm.
“There needs to be provision for people to walk and ride their bike or horse down the side of the road,” he says.
The draft policy states that residents would not be allowed to use chemical herbicides on verges, but concerns remain about whether Auckland Transport could return to using glyphosate sprays on roadsides. • Rose Davis