Artist knocks down barriers

There are many excuses out there for not pursuing one's dreams but for artist Ming Ming Edgar being born blind isn't going to be one of them.

As of today, Dargaville artist Ming Ming, who also happens to be blind, has fulfilled his dream of opening his first art exhibition.

He also hopes that having his artwork on display at the Muddy Waters Art Gallery in Dargaville will inspire others to not give up on their dreams in spite of whatever hurdles might come their way.

"I would just say well… have a look and see what you can do, just have a go, some things you might not have tried before and you never know you might be good at it, you might be Picasso."


The display aptly dubbed, My View of The World, showcases 45 of his canvases which is a culmination of his work from the past three years as an art student at the Quarry Gardens art class called Stepping Stones. A class which is designed to support those with disabilities.

Ming Ming said to create his work he basically just uses his imagination to bring it to life.

"I just do it in my own time and do different designs, I think about it in my head and just do it, yeah I just think about what I want to paint and it just comes out."

He is however provided with assistance from his tutor when it comes to selecting paints.

"My tutor, she'll say what colour do you want and I'll just choose a colour I think works and I'll just go from there and do the rest.

"I do brushes, I use brush rollers, I use sponges, sometimes I do just a bit of different designs and shading and patterns, glue things on and cuts things out, yep I do a bit of all sorts, abstracts, it's like different textured art, as well as some scenery such as beach scenes."

Ming Ming said he gets a great feeling of accomplishment each time he finishes a painting.

"I just, ya know, really enjoy myself and give it my best shot, because I'm up for a challenge and I don't say no and I'm part of really good group as well, and we all do our own things and it works."

Despite having a string of tutors over the years, Ming Ming said there was one in particular that kickstarted his passion for art,"my former Dargaville High School teacher Mr McDonald".

"He inspired me because he wanted me to do paintings on paper, sketchings and pencil drawings, he really just encouraged me.

"Oh yeah, he got me going with art and now more recently it's been my tutors at the Quarry."

Ming Ming said one of the things he loves about creating art is that it's a tangible thing that can be given away.

"You can give them to people, give them as presents, draw something up and wrap it up and give it away."

Ming Ming's art goes on display and for sale at the Muddy Waters Art Gallery from today starting at 10am until April 10.

Saving the Northern Wairoa River

An online fundraising campaign aims to restore the banks of the Northern Wairoa River by planting half a million native plants and trees.

Million Metres is an online fundraising platform that aims to restore a million metres of waterways throughout New Zealand and the Northern Wairoa, also known as the Southern Hemisphere's longest navigational rivers, is one of its projects.

Project organisers want to plant 100,000 native plants and trees annually along streams, rivers and wetlands in the Northern Wairoa catchment for five years. Photo/File
Project organisers want to plant 100,000 native plants and trees annually along streams, rivers and wetlands in the Northern Wairoa catchment for five years. Photo/File

Georgina Hart, Million Metres project lead said it's really easy for people to support the cause.

"They can go to the Million Metres website, read all about the Northern Wairoa River and its catchment project and make a donation online. Any amount big or small will help the project reach the fundraising target of $60,000 by the end of today."

So far the project had almost met its goal raising $56,094.00 at edition time.

Hart said with those funds, the goal is to plant 100,000 native plants and trees annually along streams, rivers and wetlands in the Northern Wairoa catchment for five years. Planting takes place over winter. There is currently a process under way to assign this year's plants to landowners and marae along the river.

"We know that New Zealanders have a strong connection to their rivers and are concerned about the health of these waterways. Supporting a river restoration project is a really tangible way to help make a difference and protect and restore our rivers for generations to come.

"Historic deforestation, unfenced streams and rivers, and the draining of wetlands have all led to erosion issues, and high levels of sediment and contamination in the Northern Wairoa River and ultimately to the Kaipara Harbour.

"These water quality issues impact the health of tuna, inanga and other fish in the Northern Wairoa River. They impact the habitat for Great White and Hammerhead sharks, stingray and snapper in the Kaipara.

"They also impact on kai moana beds, including pipis, scallops, mussels, oysters and more. They affect people and their ability to fish, gather food and make a living, and many places in the lower catchment are unsafe to swim after heavy rain due to faecal contamination.

"Riparian planting along waterways helps to stabilise stream banks and decreases the sediment (eroded soil) entering the waterways.

"Eventually, the plants will grow up and shade the water, lowering water temperatures and providing habitat and food for native birds and fish. Bringing back wetlands means they can filter nutrients and sediment and keep them out of the river and the harbour below."

Hart said funds will be used to prepare the sites for planting, the planting itself and maintaining the plantings over time to ensure the trees survive.

"Funds can also go towards co-ordinating the planting effort or monitoring our impact."

She also said the project wouldn't be possible without its partners.

The Million Metres Cycle Ride team which collectively cycled 1,080,000 metres in the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge in 2018 smashing their goal and raising $5000 for the Northern Wairoa River and its catchment. Photo/Supplied
The Million Metres Cycle Ride team which collectively cycled 1,080,000 metres in the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge in 2018 smashing their goal and raising $5000 for the Northern Wairoa River and its catchment. Photo/Supplied

"Million Metres is just one partner in this large scale collaborative project, working to restore the Kaipara river way."

Other partners include the Northland Regional Council and local iwi groups as well as the Integrated Kaipara Harbour Management Group.

"Field Partners work with our projects to give expert advice on the project planting plan to ensure that the restoration work will be effective and sustainable for the long-term."

"Many individuals and businesses, both Northland locals, and from around the country, have also come on board to support this project by making donations and spreading the word."

The Million Metres Cycle Ride team cycled a million metres in the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge late last year.

"They smashed their goal, cycling 1,080,000 metres and raising $5000 for the Northern Wairoa River and its catchment."

Furthermore an anonymous donor has agreed to match the funds raised dollar for dollar.

"World Class" speakers to attend digital breakfast

Experts from around the country and overseas are coming to the Kaipara to share their knowledge on increasing digital connectedness at a free community breakfast.

Kaipara District councillors Anna Curnow and Libby Jones are thrilled to get some world class speakers to Kaipara as part of the Northland Digital Enablement Group.

Anna Curnow said she was excited about the opportunity to hear about how other parts of the world address issues such as adequate internet access and Lara digital inclusion, especially for rural communities.

"We don't often get a chance to speak directly with people with this level of experience. Something not to be missed."

Libby Jones echoes said it was great to have such speakers in Kaipara willing to share their experiences on increasing digital connectedness, which is vital for all aspects of our economy, including agriculture, as well as health, education and building thriving rural communities.

Two speakers, Robyn Krock and Chris Pederson, are travelling from the United States to share their knowledge.

Krock, who joined Valley Vision in 2007 as a project associate and serves as project leader for Food and Ag Economy, will be discussing how increased access to broadband or other internet enabling technologies in rural communities can further educational, health and profitability of farms.

Pedersen, who serves as vice-president of Development and Planning for Connection Nation United States (an America wide non-profit focused on improving lives through technology), will discuss how bridging the digital divide, can help vulnerable populations, improving digital literacy and how public – private partnerships can help communities.

Other guest speakers include Emeline Paat-Dahlstrom and Eric Dahlstrom - who co-founded SpaceBase, an organisation co-creating a global Space Ecosystem to serve entrepreneurs in emerging space industries - and Ashna Khan, a customer manager with Callaghan Innovations Agritech team here in New Zealand.

The event is open to the public from 8am on March 26 at the Northern Wairoa War Memorial Hall.

A light breakfast will be served, with a Q & A at the end of each speaker's speech.

For more information, contact Jiveen MacGillivray: jiveen.macgillivray@northlandnz.com.

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