Trees fun hive for group's busy bees

By Meg Liptrot

Meg Liptrot shares an interactive project to engage community, art and nature.

A Moreton Bay fig will be taken over for a tree-top Walking in Trees experience.
A Moreton Bay fig will be taken over for a tree-top Walking in Trees experience.

I think most of us can identify with trees as a source of fun in our childhood, whether as something to hide behind in a game of hide and seek, or a climbing frame of the natural kind from which to spy or escape.

Some trees are made for fun. They are also the best way to connect with nature. Now we have a chance to reclaim the magic of being in a tree thanks to the inventive work of artist Richard Orjis.

A Moreton Bay fig tree in Auckland's Albert Park is being taken over for an exhilarating tree-top experience for the young and those young at heart to enjoy. A scaffold staircase will be built to wrap around the tree, allowing visitors to climb into the sub-canopy for a bird's-eye view.

Even the idea of climbing into one of these majestic trees triggers childhood memories of Enid Blyton's book The Magic Faraway Tree and the fantastic characters living there.

Walking in Trees is among public art projects with an ecological or sustainable focus that come under the "Pop" umbrella. The Pop concept was devised by Alt Group as part of an artists' collective supported by the Waitemata Local Board and will run until June. Events are free and some workshops are targeted at school or tertiary students.

Another Pop project is The Roots: Pollinate, in which school students will participate in a hive of activity helping produce 20 pollen hotels for the winter season when bees are short of food.

The Roots collective selected 40 Year 12 and 13 students who had put up their hands to be involved in the workshops.

They will be getting creative with waste materials, making something useful and beautiful out of 500 bottles, 20 tyres, 120m of repurposed wire and rope, 10 wooden pallets and 20m of bamboo.

Flowering plants will be grown within these artistic creations, akin to hanging baskets, to provide nectar and pollen.

An initial design workshop earlier this month was held at the University of Auckland's School of Architecture to explore design ideas and decide on materials to be used during this weekend's workshop.

Workshops in which the public can take part, co-ordinated by The Roots, will be held at the Auckland Art Gallery.

Pollinate is described as "an art project with environmental outcomes".

The pollination hotels can be viewed as they are created in Albert Park from today and open until May 4. It is one of many educational projects The Roots Creative Entrepreneurs have developed since their inception in 2012.

The Roots is a collective of young Pacific and Maori creative industry professionals with architecture, planning, urban design, fine arts and education backgrounds.

They are keen to inspire young people through creativity with a sustainability focus.

In March last year The Roots Garden Project involved working with the community and students from four Auckland primary schools.

Activities included building colourful raised garden beds from tyres, planting seedlings, building sculptural bamboo fences and making imaginative plastic bottle windmill sculptures for the gardens.

The Pop concept links individuals and groups with good ideas under the one banner. The idea is to generate creativity, fun and new experiences in Auckland.

Roots member Petelo Esekielu says Walking in Trees artist Richard Orjis is a "creative inspiration for students and local community members involved in the pollination event".

He says the team are envisioning that his practical art piece will be "an arresting framework that marries the Roots event participants' artwork with the larger idea of the Pollinate event theme". The public can check out the work of these busy bees this weekend in Albert Park.

Info

• For more info on The Roots' activities visit theroots.org.nz

• For info on other Pop events, including The Park, Bee Jam, Pasture Paintings, and Hikoi - native walks of Auckland - go to pop.org.nz

Walking in Trees will be open until May 4 in Albert Park.

- Herald on Sunday

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