Festival flower blooms

Matahui School creates a sustainable sunflower.

Read the full article on the front page of Katikati Advertiser, Thursday September 16 2021 below.

Bursting into spring is giant sunflower – not quite the plant species – but a creative one made of upcycled plastics and reuseable materials, that will be displaying during Katikati’s Festival of Arts in October.

Matathui School’s giant yellow sunflower is one of 111 large wooden sunflowers that have been distributed to preschools and schools in the area, to be decorated for the Festival of Art, hosted every two years by Katikati Open-Air Art.

Festival organiser Jacqui Knight says is was a real gift to see the sunflower from Matahui School, iwth all the Covid uncertainty about what events can and cannot be run at the upcoming festival.

“I think it is absolutely amazing, I don’t know here people get their ideas from, this one is fantastic!”

“I can not wait to see the others too.”

Designed to reflect the bright community spirit that surrounds Katikati, the Matahui School community has been working as a team – staff, students, parents and community members – on the giant sunflower. The students played an active role planning the project aimed at utilising reusable materials and upcycling plastics.

Principal Mary Woods says the focus on upcycling was thought to be the best use of plastic, as no further resources are required to process or recycle the plastic, it goes directly into another use – the ultimate in reducing consumption.

“It’s incredible the things that can be created out of a plastic bottle, can or glass container if you put your mind to it.”

The students reached out to the community for donations towards the sunflower which was painted before lockdown. They took their investigation of sunflowers a step further by examining them in great detail, up close, to find and develop the aesthetic and design.

During the lockdown “MrsB”, Kathryn Burtenshaw, teachers of the year 7 and 8 class worked on the project while communicating remotely with the students about here parts were glued on. Each piece was strategically placed to add character to the sunflower.

Students and families from Kauri Point village donated an array of plastic items, some from children’s toy boxes, and adults delved into their plastic recycling. Mrs B often found packages of plastic bits in her letterbox during alert level 4, a contactless delivery from community members.

“Every time the students see the flower they try to hunt down and identify where their donated piece is glued.”

“it’s almost like a Where’s Wally activity – one can spend hours looking at all the parts of the flower, so many different items have been collected and used.”

Mary says it has been a huge community project bring people together. “It represents more that just an art project. It shines a brightness on our community as we move forward into spring and summer.

“A time of colour, vibrancy, abundance, fresh food and good health.”

The sunflower will join others, soon to be on display at the Katikati library showcasing the talented work of our local children.

Chris Steel, Katikati Advertiser.

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