Creative Kāpiti Project:

Tohorā Community Art Project

Project Lead: Jenna-Lea Philpott
Project contact:
Project Status: Development
Start Date: November, 2021
Delivery Date: December, 2021
Sponsors: Sculpture Symposium Trust Kāpiti Creative Communities Scheme
Our oceans, rivers and waterways are clogged with rubbish and some of this washes up along the Kāpiti Coast and on to Kāpiti Island.  Art is a great way to create environmental awareness and spark conversation about how we as humans can change our habits, be they large or small, to honour our moana and the taonga of Kāpiti Marine Reserve. The oldest marine reserve in Aotearoa New Zealand, this community art project will also contribute to the 30 year anniversary of Kāpiti Marine Reserve.
Phase 1
We are inviting the people of the Kāpiti Coast to participate in a range of community art workshops upcycling:
  • some of the collected and sorted waste from the Kāpiti Coast beach clean ups and washed up on Kāpiti Island
  • 15kgs of plastic waste that has been sourced and cleaned from a Waste Free Kāpiti trial at Otaihanga Landfill
  • waste collected on site at the Kāpiti  Food Fair

Facilitated by artist Hamish Macaulay, elements of marine and seabird species will be be created, including a large tohorā (whale) to commemorate its journey along the Kāpiti Coast. Workshops will take place in a dedicated space at Kāpiti Coast Airport, adjacent to the Whalesong display of humpbank whales and also in the community at the Kāpiti Food Fair, schools and an elderly residential home. Hamish has a long history as an artist upcycling materials through his art practice. In 2021, his recycled, painted MIQ food bags were exhibited in Kiwibank Paraparaumu and were subsequently acquired by Te Papa for the national art collection.

Hamish Macaulay with his MIQ painted food bags, teaching a children’s workshop

Phase 2

The various elements will be brought together in five panels to be installed as a mural for exhibition at the Creative Kāpiti Gallery inside Kiwibank Paraparaumu from December 2021 – February 2022. This exhibition will be part of the Art for Everyone Programme, which is one of the Kāpiti Summer Series events. Accompanying the exhibition will be large detailed maps and other educational resources provided by NIWA and the Guardians of Kāpiti  Marine Reserve. Local photographers will also support the project by making underwater photography and video available to support the exhibition.
Phase 3
The exhibition will be toured to business and community spaces including schools, to continue the conversation about the effects of human behaviour and the small and large things we can do to reduce impact on the Kāpiti Marine Reserve .  This could also add value to the Enviroschools programme.

How can you be involved and support this project?

  • sponsor or donate to the project. We have raised just over half the $6,500 project costs and still need to raise the remaining $3,000. Contact if you can help. We would live to extend our family of project supporters and collaborators.
  • share this website page and/or share the dedicated Tohorā Facebook page
  • donate photos and video of our seabirds, coastline, and Kāpiti Marine Reserve to accompany the exhibition
  • become a community workshop volunteer to welcome participants and support the artist.
  • host an exhibition in 2022. The installation can be exhibited in its entirety or in sections.
We would like to acknowledge the generous financial support of the Sculpture Symposium Trust, and grant from the Kāpiti Creative Communities Scheme. Also the Kiwibank Paraparaumu team for being amazing project partners for nearly a year. This project could not happen without the input and support of a range of community groups including the Guardians of Kāpiti Marine Reserve, Whalesong, KEDA, and the Kāpiti Food Fair.