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


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!

1 comment:

HMS said...

So who manages the project from here? Who will be releasing/weeding the site?

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