30 Sep 2019

This content is tagged as Multi-disciplinary .


Wild Creations 2020 opens opportunity for artists to engage with nature

Hot on the heels of Conservation Week’s 50th Anniversary, the Department of Conservation (DOC) and Creative New Zealand are pleased to welcome submissions for Wild Creations 2020 – an initiative supporting artists to engage with nature and conservation.

Wild Creations offers artists the opportunity to spend time in New Zealand’s natural environment and to be inspired to create new work based on a DOC conservation experience and the places, people and stories of Aotearoa New Zealand. At least two projects will be selected for funding support.

Artists can choose from a range of DOC experiences to incorporate into their proposal, from visiting a place of significance to Māori, to getting involved in the protection of threatened species, to immersion experiences in island coastal or remote habitats.

Bridget Reweti, one of the Wild Creations artists from 2018/19 says, “The 2019 Wild Creations opportunity allowed me to become more than a visitor in a few small corners of our wondrous Conservation Estate. The value of this time is immeasurable and will be a constant source of inspiration in my practice.”

Lou Sanson, DOC Director-General says, “We’re lucky in New Zealand to have a rich natural and cultural heritage like nowhere else in the world. It’s exciting to provide artists this chance to connect with nature, and then see how they share their experiences and tell stories about what conservation means to New Zealanders.

“The artists who’ve been on the programme previously have produced amazing work, and I’m looking forward to seeing what applicants propose this year. Engagement with nature and heritage is critical, and we see this programme as a valuable way to inspire New Zealanders to do so.”

Michel Tuffery was one of the Wild Creations artists for 2017/18. His project involved research into pelagic birds at Taiaroa Heads and Te Punga o Te Waka a Maui Stewart Island, which resulted in multiple artworks and community engagement projects.

"The Wild Creations programme is the perfect vehicle to communicate and empower communities, by increasing our knowledge about our unique environments. Everything is connected," says Michel.

L-R - 2017/18 Wild Creations Artist Michel Tuffery, Taiaroa Head; Photo - Mollymawks, Rakiura; Painting - The Southern Wanderer, Toroa, Catlins Passover (2019). All images courtesy of Michel Tuffery.

Creative New Zealand Chief Executive Stephen Wainwright says, “Aotearoa offers stunning landscapes, unique flora and fauna and rich cultural heritage from which artists may draw to influence their thinking and practice.”

“Not only is being with nature fantastic for our wellbeing, it pulls us out of our day-to-day, encouraging a fresh perspective. In previous years, Wild Creations artists from a range of disciplines have developed fascinating and diverse work, highlighting the significance of our interconnections with our heritage and natural environment,” says Stephen.

Up to $36,000 is available towards supporting a minimum of two projects and covers a stipend, project material costs and travel costs.

Applications close 6 December.

Applicants will be notified on 14 February 2020.

For information and to apply visit: /find-funding/funds/wild-creations


2018/2019 artists and projects

Urban / Environment

Joel Baxendale & Oliver Devlin

Joel and Oliver will create an audio-visual led walk along the Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington harbour) waterfront. Their project aims to disrupt the boundary between urban and natural environments, challenging how we think, act and appreciate these spaces. Audio visual captured at Kapiti Island will be used on the smartphones which will guide the audience on their way. The kaupapa of their work is to explore and re-imagine the historical environment of Whanganui-a-Tara and see and hear how it has been modified by humans over time into the current landscape.


Terri Te Tau

Kōhuia is a visual art and speculative fiction project exploring how gene editing technologies might be used in conservation and biodiversity loss. Terri Te Tau will investigate the complex relationships between DNA, whakapapa, authenticity and possible interactions for Mātauranga Māori. The project will be conducted at the Pūkaha Forest National Wildlife Centre, a conservation reserve in northern Wairarapa.

A lens-based exploration into the alpine environments and communities of club ski fields

Bridget Reweti

Visual artist Bridget Reweti will engage with the active alpine communities of Aotearoa / New Zealand's 11 club ski fields, situated on diverse mountains in the North and South Islands. The fields are home to native flora and fauna, some of which species are endemic to only one area. Working alongside club members, Bridget aims to record and highlight the knowledge, passion and connection each club has with alpine areas.  Her work will also aid an understanding of current snow decline and what ‘above the bushline’ may look like in the future.

More about Wild Creations

The purpose of the programme is to:

  • foster links between conservation and the arts communities
  • provide new ways to connect New Zealanders to conservation
  • promote a wider understanding of conservation values and awareness of conservation issues
  • provide New Zealand artists with opportunities to experience the people, stories and challenges associated with New Zealand’s unique natural and historic heritage
  • enable artists to develop arts projects based on conservation experiences.

A minimum of two projects per year will be offered funding to create artwork based on proposals demonstrating an awareness of conservation and a wider understanding of conservation values.

Projects must demonstrate an awareness of conservation and achieve one, or more, of the following:

  •  contributing to the conservation story
  •  enriching New Zealanders’ lives through connection to our nature and heritage
  •  including a perspective of Mātauranga Māori, iwi engagement or telling the story of places of particular significance to Māori
  •  telling the story of historic sites through the work.

The artists must also achieve one or more of the following CNZ outcomes:

  • New Zealanders participate in the arts
  • High-quality New Zealand art is developed
  • New Zealanders experience high-quality arts.

The individual experiences are developed through discussion between the artist and DOC.

For more information visit:




Media enquires

Department of Conservation

Jessica MacKenzie
Communications Advisor
Department of Conservation
M: +64 27 295 8719


Creative New Zealand

Lauretta Ah Sam
Senior Communications Adviser
Creative New Zealand | Toi Aotearoa
Mob: +64 27 292 1589 | DDI: +64 4 498 0725 | Ext: 725
E: lauretta.ahsam@creativenz.govt.nz | W: creativenz.govt.nz