Whanganui sculptor Angela Tier's Spook exhibition of a colony of small bat urns is to also help raise awareness that the mammal is endangered.

Tier says we may already have lost one native species of these tiny bats.

"The greater short-tailed bat was last sighted in 1965, and has been declared extinct - so we should do what we can to protect our remaining native species."

The pekapeka is our only surviving land mammal and threatened by habitat degradation and disturbance, as well as predation and competition from introduced mammals.

The ongtailed bat urns by sculptor Angela Tier
The ongtailed bat urns by sculptor Angela Tier

Around the world bats are as important to human survival as honeybees, pollinating forests and fruits, and eating insects that would otherwise need to be managed by harmful pesticides.

Tier's sculptural works are hand built using the coiling technique, in which coils of clay are gradually stacked and joined one on top of the other.

"I like working in the coils as it's a very old technique."

Measuring between 10cm and 16cm high, some of Tier's small bat urns are styled after existing bat species.

She has also created four large 'apocalyptic' bats, which will loom behind the 100 small bat urns, representing pestilence, famine, war and death.

Spook exhibition, March 1-31, Zimmerman Art Gallery, 329 Main St. Opening hours 11am-3pm daily.