22 Jan 2017

Dusky Sound artwork to be showcased nationwide

11:30 pm on 22 January 2017

An art exhibition which showcases the beauty and fragility of Dusky Sound is set to tour the country.

The Tamatea/Dusky Sound project wanted to ensure the area, which was the country's first nature reserve, remains the most intact ecosystems on earth and New Zealand's largest 'biobank'.

Senior ranger Kate Hebblethwaite, who is based in Fiordland, said the art exhibition was trying to showcase the area.

"It's a wild and remote area, and the problem with wild and remote areas is that not many people get to visit them."

"What we really wanted to do was have a way of showing people that these wild spaces are relevant, are important to the whole of New Zealand and that their conservation really is as important as more mainland sites," she said.

DoC engaged 26 of the country's artists, ranging from well known names like Nigel Brown and Dame Robin White to more up and coming artists, such as Paul McCready.

Between them they produced more than 50 original works.

"Artists are natural story tellers and what we wanted to do was have a way of engaging people in an with Dusky Sound without all the heavy facts and heavy science," she said.

Proceeds from the art sales will go towards DoCs goal of making the area predator free.

"Dusky Sound has many, many offshore islands, from larger islands to smaller sites and the aim is to make them all predator free and to return native species to their ancestral home," she said.

Anchor Island is already home to a third of the world's Kākāpō population.

But she said removing the rats and stouts from a site took years and required constant monitoring and trapping.

The exhibition opened in Invercargill on December 16 and will begin a national tour after it finishes on 19 February.