The Rotorua community may have started noticing something fishy around town while exploring and running errands in the city.

Thirteen uniquely decorated fish, created by local artists, are located in various shops and outlets in a trail around the CBD.

The Fish Out of Water Art Trail is an annual summer art event which Rotorua Lakes Council initiated 14 years ago as a creative way for local artists and the community to celebrate Rotorua's lakes and fisheries.

Co-ordinated by local artist Jill Walker, the trail features 13 fibreglass fish which are transformed each year by Rotorua artists.


The fish are then released into the inner city streets, where they are hosted by local businesses for six weeks over the festive summer season.

From fairy tales to treasure chests, plastic bags to space odysseys, this year's variety blew Jill away.

She says a number of the fish this year are reflecting concerns about the environment.

Jill says a range of mediums have been used, including beautifully painted fish and inspiring use of papier-mache.

She says it has been great to see more youth get involved and decorate the fish this year.

"The variety and quite a few of the fish being about the environment is wonderful because this is about celebrating Rotorua's fisheries and our beautiful lakes and environment."

Jill says the trail is also an opportunity to see other artwork throughout town, like murals.

Millie Kissling-Hemsworth, 16, and Crystal Yeoman's, 16, fish '2048'. Photo / Natascha Hartzuiker
Millie Kissling-Hemsworth, 16, and Crystal Yeoman's, 16, fish '2048'. Photo / Natascha Hartzuiker

Millie Kissling-Hemsworth, 16, and Crystal Yeoman, 16, are taking part in the trail for the first time this year.

Millie says their fish is called '2048' because that is the estimated year for seafood to run out at the current human consumption rate.

The fish is covered with water, which is about to cover the fishes head, to symbolise the rapid loss of sea life, she says. It is also covered in cherry blossoms.

Millie says she is looking forward to people seeing their art and she has enjoyed meeting new people through the trail.

She encourages people to check out the trail because there are a lot of cool fish on show.

Sky Smale has taken part in the trail before, and this year has decorated her fish with a focus on some of the native flora and fauna present in our waterways.

"I have a long-standing interest in conservation and am aware that there's a lot that I still don't know, so it was a great opportunity to learn a lot myself and share that with others."

Sky says her 7-year-old son is art focused, so it was an opportunity for her to demonstrate to him that art can be part of the community.

"I'm looking forward to doing the trail with him."

Free trail maps are available from the Rotorua iSite on Fenton St or from any of the host venues.

Those who find all 13 fish can enter the draw for a prize. People can also vote for their favourite fish in the People's Choice Award, with the winning artist also receiving a prize.

For the first time, a smaller rogue fish named Captain Peggy Wetbeard will be visiting different locations over the summer.

Hints to the next location will be given so people can see who can find the Captain first.

This year's Fish Out of Water Art Trail will be in place until February 3 2019.

2018-19 Fish Out of Water Art Trail businesses host
- Artworks, Hinemoa St
- Atlantis Books, Eruera St
- Cafe de Paris, Hinemoa St
- McLeods Booksellers, Pukuatua St
- O'Keefe's Anglers Depot, Eruera St
- Rotorua iSite, Fenton St
- Simply Different, Tutanekai St
- Sole Outlet, Tutanekai St
- Sustain Vegetarian Takeaways, Tutanekai St
- The Arts Village, Hinemaru St
- The Living Room Collective, Amohau St
- The Rotorua Cycle Centre, Te Ngae Rd
- Trade Aid, Tutanekai St