Kauri and Art: A public seminar on a cultural icon at risk – Saturday 9 March, Titirangi

Auckland residents are invited to attend a seminar celebrating kauri at one of the most culturally significant spots for the tree in Auckland, McCahon House.

The seminar follows the removal of two dead and diseased kauri from the property, the former home of the renowned New Zealand artist Colin McCahon, who created dozens of artworks featuring the iconic kauri.

The event will discuss the influence of the environment on art and how art can play a part in helping to raise awareness of kauri dieback. The strong cultural connections between people and kauri will also be explored.

The seminar is organised by Auckland Council Biosecurity and the national Kauri Dieback Management Programme in association with the McCahon House Trust.  Subject experts and guest speakers include Naomi McCleary, Chair of the McCahon House Trust, and recent Artist in Residence, Regan Gentry.

Recently voted “plant of the year” in the New Zealand Plant Conservation Network poll, kauri is considered a New Zealand taonga by many New Zealanders.

Auckland Council Principal Biosecurity Advisor, Nick Waipara, says simple precautions can help contain the fungus-like disease, which is responsible for the decline and death of many kauri in Auckland and Northland, including trees in French Bay.

“Everyone needs to play a part by ensuring shoes, tyres and equipment are clean of dirt before and after visiting areas where there are kauri. Community events such as these are ideal to share this information and raise awareness of what we can all do to help contain kauri dieback,” he says.

Saturday’s programme will kick off at McCahon House, Otitori Bay Road from 1.30pm followed by a short walk to the French Bay Yacht Club for the remainder of the event. Refreshments will be provided and parking is available in French Bay. For more information visit www.kauridieback.co.nz

Editors’ notes:

  • According to the McCahon House Trust, until Colin McCahon moved to French Bay from the South Island he was unfamiliar with kauri trees, as they only grow naturally in the upper North Island. They subsequently featured in dozens of his drawings and paintings, including almost 50 works with kauri in their titles.
  • In 1998 the McCahon House Trust (with the support of the former Waitakere City Council) purchased the French Bay property where McCahon and his family lived from 1953 to 1960 in order to preserve the small house and establish an artists’residencyin his honour. The McCahon House is open to the public Wednesday/Saturday/Sunday from 10am – 2pm, with guided tours for special interest groups and secondary schools by arrangement.
  • Flyer images and programme details available on request

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