Festival focused on the connection with the ocean

Connecting the city to nature is at the heart of Wild Dunedin, New Zealand’s nature festival, which runs from April 22-28.

Coordinator Suzanne Middleton said this year’s theme was “He wai ka rere ki te moana – To the sea”.

“So our theme this year is what you do on land affects the ocean, too,” she said.

Bookings are now open online and Ms Middleton is encouraging people to book early as many events could sell out.

With around 100 events this year, there was something for everyone, she said.

She was particularly looking forward to the project of Wanaka artists Martin Hill and Philippa Jones to create a large temporary sculpture on the beach at Lawyers Head.

“They’re going to create a giant sculpture in the sand out of kelp and driftwood and such that you find there.”

The message would focus on sustainability and the circular economy.

“So it’s created as the tide goes out and once the tide starts to come in, the artwork will be washed away.”

TV personality Suzy Cato would perform at Wild Music alongside local musicians at the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, and would also attend Wildlife ER at the Tuhura Otago Museum.

“Being during school holidays, we do so many things for the children.”

Many events were free, Ms Middleton said.

This year, the festival had negotiated discounted deals for families at Resistance Climbing Gym, Watercooled Sports and Esplanade Surf School.

Other events included a children’s scavenger hunt on Quarantine Island, Kamau Taura, a guided tour of Penguin Place at Harington Point, and foodie events focusing on wild foods from the sea.

Pacific Island Vaka craftsmen Papa Mata Taurarii (Ma’uke) and Papa Toni Tekie (Tuvalu) would talk to the Tuhura Otago Museum about their knowledge of marine craftsmanship.

A popular throwback event was the Seven-by-Seven Wild Talk, where seven speakers had seven minutes to talk about topics including science, art and culture.

A number of events would be broadcast live this year, allowing people who have had to self-isolate due to Covid-19 to participate online.

Festival programs could be picked up from places such as public libraries and cafes around the city. Visit wilddunedin.nz for reservations and more information.

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