The Art For Trees Project

On the 20th November 1769 Captain Cook ventured up the Waihou River, named by him that day the Thames. His journal entry tells of “ lofty trees which adorne its banks....” and a tree he measured “that girted 19 feet 8 inches 6 feet above the ground….its length from the root to the first branch to be 89 feet…as straight as an arrow…"
( J.C Beaglehole, 1955).
His companion Joseph Banks described ...the finest timber my eyes ever beheld ….thick woods of it were everywhere upon the Banks, every tree as straight as a pine and of immense size…... (J.C Beaglehole,1962)

Today, if you were to follow in Cook’s wake up the river Waihou, your gaze would be met not with magnificent native swamp forest, but acid green dairy pasture stretching away between stop banks and macrocarpa shelter belts. Of the vanished giant Kahikatea there remains only a few scrappy fragments.

The Art for Trees Project pays homage to what Cook saw that day in 1769. To the giant tree he measured not far from the spot he went ashore. The artist, Fiona Garlick, has made a forest of 400 ceramic bottles representing some of the native trees and shrubs which once adorned the banks of the Waihou, and which have been displaced by the introduced species associated with farming.


For every bottle sold, a tree will be planted across the river from Cook’s Landing site. This restorative planting program will take place in partnership with Environment Waikato with the aim of establishing an area of self sustaining native wetlands.

When will planting take place?
Planting date confirmed for Saturday 25th July 2009.

At Ferry Road Pond, on the banks of the Waihou River near where State Highway 2 meets Hauraki Road. See map.

What will be planted?
Seedlings of the plants and shrubs represented by the artwork plus many more varieties that will help to establish the complex wetlands ecosystem.


Forest of bottles

Best in Show at Object Space

Best in Show at Object Space


kahikatea 36
puketea 26
maire tawake 22
rimu 22
matai 25
tororaro 22
whau 22
makomako 20
kowhai ngutu kaka 26
putaputaweta 28
pohuehue 24
kie kie 30
upoko tangata 20
harakeke 20
ti kouka 20
kauri 16


Sunday, February 21, 2010


Thanks to really good crowds at Stoneleigh Sculpture in the Gardens at the Auckland Botanic Gardens ..I have sold out of bottles. Yep finito! All 400! A part of me is a little relieved that its all over as I feel I can move on to something new, and another part of me is a little sad. Just three little bottles sitting on my sideboard..... to remind me of my endeavour. Oh and a future Kahikatea forest let us not forget! I can't wait to do a drive by of our little seedlings when I am up in the North Island next to see how they are getting on. And of course I have to make plans re the next planting. So its not really over ....just at another level. Thanks to all my purchasors! Tree girl

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Hey there, just to let any interested parties know... the remainder of my bottles are exhibited and on sale at Stoneleigh Sculpture in the Gardens at the Auckland Botanic Gardens in Manukau. See the link You will also be able to see my latest outdoor sculpture "Skipping Stone" exhibited in the gardens and a wonderful show of small scale sculptural objects in bronze by NZ artists called "Garden of Delights" in which I have four w0rks. I anticipate doing another planting for the Art for Trees Projects in autumn this year. Tree girl

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


It happened! Last Saturday dawned a beautiful day and at around 10am there gathered in a somewhat muddy field, a group wearing both gumboots and smiles. Rien Van De Weteringh and Michelle Hodges from Environment Waikato had laid out all the plants in our "Kahikatea Corner" of the Ferry Pond site. At first sight it looked like a daunting task, but 20 adult volunteers and 7 kids (entertainment) soon made short work of the nearly 400 plants. Everyone just got stuck in and started digging, whilst a few just got stuck in (the mud). We had a break at about 11 for morning tea ( lovely home baking thanks to my Mum, my sister Karen and friend Kristy) and a wee chat about the project. I said a few words about The Art for Trees Project , and both Rien and Michelle spoke about how the regeneration of the Ferry Road Pond Site came about. Kevin Campbell gave us an insight into the history of the Waihou drainage area, and local Gary Blake talked about the Kahikatea fragments that remain in the area. We all then went back to planting, chatting as we did so, and it seemed almost no time before all the plants were in. What a great feeling it was to stand back and look at all those plants and to imagine how it will be in twenty, thirty, forty years time. A great feeling to have brought this project to this point, a simple idea that has now come to fruition. I feel like everyone planting on saturday now has a connection to this site and will maybe come and check on the progress of our trees in years to come. I know that I will! Thanks to all who took part; to my ever supportive family and freinds, who always come and support my sometimes madcap artistic pursuits. To Heather and her gang who built the planting into their weekend away. To Environment Waikato and of course to Rien who listened to my idea last year and helped to make it happen, Thank you!

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Just a reminder that the planting will be taking place in a couple of weeks time on Saturday 25th July. I will be posting a map and directions and a meeting time closer to the date. All you bottle buyers do come along and help to finish the real sculptural project here...a future forest!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sad news

I found out last week, belatedly and through convoluted means, about the sad passing away of Geoff Park, in March. I feel moved to talk about it because if I had not read his amazing book Nga Uruora: Ecology and History in a New Zealand Landscape, this project would not have come about. My research began with the botanists on the Endeavour, and a fascination with what their brief collecting forays stirred up in the journals of both Cook and Joseph Banks; their voyage of discovery became very much one of resource notation. But it was following Park's pilgrimage to the Hauraki Plains, to the landing place of Captain Cook, that inspired me to both make this work and to make it exist outside of the gallery, and into the future. I have always been frustrated by New Zealand's ecological history, how we (humans) have managed to transform the landscape in such drastic ways in such a short period of time. Park's writing both inspired great grief as to what we have lost, but also a determination to try to conserve that which we have left. I am sure he has inspired many people in this way, and I am saddened to think that there will be no more writings from this passionate thinker.

Friday, May 1, 2009


Hi folks, Well it seems like a long time coming but finally we have set a date for the planting. My original plan of autumn planting dates had to be pushed out because of duck shooting season which, from what I understand, gets underway tomorrow. I don't know about you but I'd rather not be ducking bullets so Saturday 25th July is our date. Because our seedlings will have been well seasoned (out doors) in the nursery they should, most of them, be hardy enough to withstand a mid-winter planting. However, those that are frost sensitive (like makomako) will have to wait to be planted at a later date. more details in the next few days... Treegirl

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Well the Objectspace Best in Show 2009 closed at the weekend after what seemed a very successful exhibition. My installation got a mention in the weekend Herald (see image) and I think it really helped to boost visitors in the last week. I haven't got final figures from Matt but think we sold at least 62 bottles, to add to the 150 sold previously . Fantastic! I needed at least 200 trees for the planting, so we have surpassed that target. I will be posting final figures and numbers of the specific trees sold soon. Thank you so much to all those people who passed the word around and sent their friends to buy bottles! Treegirl

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