Always inspired by it, but having never experienced it for herself, Massey University design student Kate Cregoe took a trip to Kāpiti Island earlier this year, realising it was all she had imagined and more.

"I had always wondered what it would be like to explore it and although I have always reflected on the location when driving down the coast to visit family in Paraparaumu and Wellington growing up, I had never been there.

"Now that I have been there and experienced it, I realise it is better than I imagined.
"From this experience, I formed a passion to share my exploration with others through illustration and the experimental nature of different printing processes."

Studying a Bachelor of Design as a Visual Communication Design Major and graduating with honours this year, Kate has spent her final year working on an open-ended artist's book inspired by Kāpiti Island.

Kate Cregoe.
Kate Cregoe.

Now living in Reikorangi in Waikanae with her partner, Kate sees the island everyday and has put her thoughts and feelings about the island into art.

"Kāpiti Island has always stimulated my imagination and creativity and my love for conservation, flora, fauna, marine life and natural history led me to my ethnographic exploration of what makes the Kāpiti Island experience so magical.

"The island is iconic to the Kāpiti community and Aotearoa as a nation due to its resilience in its regeneration journey.

"Over two decades have passed since the major eradication of all pests and introduced mammals on Kāpiti Island.

"Within this time period, the environment has flourished and Kāpiti Island is now a story of growth and hope in regard to regeneration and the health status of Aotearoa's biodiversity."

The open-ended artist's book is filled with Kate's personal illustrative reflections and curated discoveries of her first visit to Kāpiti Island in March through the experimental nature of print and illustration.

The physical elements consist of multiple illustration cards that are colour coded to connect with the laser-etched handwritten notes and a contextual booklet.

The nature of the loose illustrative cards and booklet allows for the user to create their own unique narrative through creating grids or by simply interacting with the materials.


"I design aims to provoke the sensual and emotive qualities of my ethnographic experience.

"My central proposition for my project was 'How can illustration in the form of an open-ended artist's book be used to capture the experience of Kāpiti Island and generate empathy for the environment and the act of conservation through the imagination?

"From this, I hope to provide people with a glimpse and exploration into the felt experience of what it is like to visit Kāpiti Island for a day."

Massey's College of Creative Arts is holding its annual graduating student exhibition, Exposure He Kanohi Kitea, where you can view Kate's work on its Wellington campus from November 2-16.

Exposure showcases the work from undergraduate and masters students in design (photography, fashion, textiles, industrial, spatial and visual communication design), fine arts, creative media production and commercial music.