Pukeiti is preparing to host an exhibition by New Zealand artists, running alongside a series of events giving fascinating insights into Taranaki’s predator-free journey.
The inaugural PredARTor Free Showcase(external link) will take place from 16 to 30 April 2023 at the world-renowned rainforest and garden, which is owned and operated by Taranaki Regional Council.
The Showcase is a collaboration between Pukeiti(external link) and Towards Predator-Free Taranaki,(external link) a Council-led project working to protect and restore native biodiversity by removing introduced predators from the region.
Council Environment Services Manager Steve Ellis says the Showcase will shine a spotlight on the country’s Predator Free 2050 goal and predator control work across Taranaki, inspiring more people to get involved.
The predator-free themed exhibition will feature works by 50 established New Zealand artists, curated by Anna Scott. There will also be a display by local artists aged 5 to 18, with submissions closing on 14 April.
To complement the art, a programme of conservation and predator-free events will run over the three Sundays of the Showcase.
Highlights include a talk by Predator Free Miramar’s (external link)Dan Henry on the community’s mission to bring birds back to Wellington’s eastern suburbs and guided walks with the Taranaki Kiwi Trust(external link) to learn about the kiwi that call Pukeiti home.
Early risers can join a guided walk to take in the dawn chorus, or if mornings are not your thing, there’s a night walk to see what comes to life in the bush after dark. There’s also a speaker from Predator Free 2050 Limited(external link), information on kiwi aversion training for dogs, a chance to explore the high-tech trap barrier that forms the boundary of the Zero Possum area and a “back to basics” walk for those new to trapping.
A Conservation Hub on opening day will see Taranaki conservation organisations set up on the main lawn to share their work, ideas and chat to potential volunteers.
Council Regional Gardens Manager Stuart Robertson says Pukeiti is a spectacular setting and his team is excited to welcome both returning and first-time visitors during the Showcase.
“Pukeiti is a shining example of the difference predator control can make for our native species – the birdsong at the moment is incredible.
“The Showcase is a great chance for locals to come and enjoy some beautiful art, soak up the magic of Pukeiti and stick around for the cool events on offer.”
Mr Ellis says the community has embraced Towards Predator-Free Taranaki and is the reason for its success to date.
“We hope everyone who loves nature, loves Taranaki or is curious to find out more will head up to Pukeiti to enjoy the Showcase.”
The exhibition is free and open seven days a week from 10am to 3pm. All events are free however registration is essential, as numbers are limited. Register at eventbrite.co.nz. Pukeiti is at 2290 Carrington Road, New Plymouth(external link)(external link) – a 30-minute drive from central New Plymouth.