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New artwork for Whairepo Lagoon


A new contemporary art installation Whai Repo (Eagle Ray) by Debbie Fish has been installed at the Whairepo Lagoon in Te Whanganui-a-Tara until February 2022.

Whai Repo poised as it dives into the lagoon looks to honour the eagle rays that visit over the summer months, reminding us to respect the inhabitants that come to the lagoon to breed. 

The artwork is made with a bamboo frame, a fishing net recovered from Kāpiti Island, and spots cut from aluminium cans collected from the nearby waters and surrounding coastal areas, individually threaded onto the bamboo frame to move and reflect the sunlight.

An online audio repository delves further into the whai repo with content created specifically for the project.

Collaborators include storyteller Moira Wairama, who has created a new myth Whairepo and Toroa accompanied by renowned harpist Karen Jones; ray & shark scientist Dr Helen Cadwallader who shares some of her research about the rays; and founder of Ghost Diving NZ, Rob Wilson, along with marine biologist Eddie Howard who share stories from their work removing rubbish from waterways to protect the habitat of the whai and other marine life.

Debbie worked with conservation groups Litter IntelligenceSustainable Coastlines and Ghost Diving NZ to collect the rubbish used in the making of the artwork.

Whai Repo has been created with funding from the WCC Public Art Fund, with additional support from CNZ Creative Communities Scheme, GoldFish Creative, and Hunza Lights.

The artwork will be installed from November 2021 – February 2022.

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