Kāpiti's Tohorā Art Project joins art & science

A collaboration between art, science and community groups has led to the development of the Tohorā Community Art Project

The Tohorā Community Art Project

Reducing waste in our waterways in order to safeguard Kapiti Marine Reserve, Kapiti Island and the wide range of marine species that frequent the Kapiti coastline is the inspiration for a new community art installation. The Tohorā Community Art Project was developed by Creative Manaaki in the past 18 months using waste materials donated by the local business community as well as waste washed up along the coast and on Kapiti Island. Retail and hospitality businesses donated packaging materials such as large television boxes and a wide range of plastics such as pill bottles and takeaway coffee lids whilst trades businesses donated left over paint and packing materials.

Led by international environmental artist Hamish Macaulay, the installation was made in 10 community workshops, involving young and old. “Personally, I feel very strongly about the increased amount of waste we produce, and the lack of consideration for the impact it has on our environment” says Hamish.

The results of the regular Citizens Litter Intelligence Survey at Paraparaumu Beach reveal plastic to be the number one offender, well ahead of other waste items. “The scale of this project demonstrates that if we reduce the purchase and use of plastic in our daily lives, in our businesses and at home, then collectively and over time, it is one way that we can help to reduce the harm to our marine environment caused by plastic waste” says Jenna-Lea Philpott, founder of Creative Manaaki. “Phase 3 of the project offers businesses in our district the opportunity to get further involved in the project as the exhibition is designed to be toured, all be it in sections. We want the conversation about how we can work differently to protect our waterways to continue beyond the initial exhibition and we want to collaborate with businesses and their clients to ensure the art is widely seen.”

Supported by the Guardians of Kapiti Marine Reserve, Waste Free Kapiti and Whalesong from the outset, the project also commemorates the 30 year anniversary of Kapiti Marine Reserve. “It is the hidden jewel in the Kāpiti Island crown” says Ben Knight, Chair of the Guardians of Kapiti Marine Reserve. “It's one of our largest and oldest coastal marine reserves and supports a unique and diverse range of habitats and marine life which our community take great pride in protecting. The Tohorā Community Art Project is a fantastic opportunity for us to come together as a community to celebrate the Kāpiti Marine Reserve and the surrounding coastline, and the Guardians are delighted to have partnered with Creative Manaaki in this initiative.”

Exhibition details

Celebration event: Wednesday 5 October, 5:30 – 7pm
Open: 10am – 2pm, Monday – Friday until 4 November at the Creative Manaaki Gallery, Kiwibank Paraparaumu.