Design captures native birds' fragility

A design depicting the fragility of native bird species has been selected to adorn The Redwoods' new public toilets.

Kereama Taepa's design was chosen after the Rotorua District Council held a design competition, encouraging local artists to design the "shrouds" which will envelop the toilet buildings being built next to the visitor centre.

The new toilets are between the Redwoods Visitor Centre and existing toilet block, weaving between the trees via a boardwalk. They consist of six unisex cubicles, including one family friendly compartment and one for disabled users.

Currently there are only three female toilets and one male toilet and a urinal at the visitors centre.

The council's Redwoods Forest and visitor centre manager Julianne Wilkinson said the Waiariki Institute of Technology art tutor's design was chosen over designs from artists from around New Zealand and even overseas.

"All concepts submitted were quite different and of such a high quality that it made judging an interesting but very difficult task.

"[Mr Taepa's] designs involve the use of cut corten steel, and fuse the traditional Maori kowhaiwhai pattern with imagery of birds incorporated into the design. The designs focus on the fragility of our native bird species and serve as a reminder to be careful when we go about our everyday activities as our actions affect the environment."

The new toilets will cost $390,000 and replace what have been described as dated and inadequate toilet facilities.

With more people visiting The Redwoods each year the new toilets are aimed to help meet the increased demand.

Around 220,000 people visited The Redwoods last year, an increase of 20,000 visitors over the previous three years.

Ms Wilkinson said the old toilets were likely to remain open during busy peak periods, but they would eventually be removed to make way for more of the new style toilet facilities.

The new toilets are due to open in May.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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