Creative Arts

Channel your love for the environment through art!


Each year we open the invitation to children and schools, to respond to our annual Eye on Nature theme, through visual arts.

Kindergarten, primary and intermediate age students are supported to learn in-depth on the theme and are rewarded with a professional exhibition at Auckland Botanic Gardens Gallery Space. The programme is driven by interactive learning outcomes and offers over $2,500 in total prize money.

The theme for 2021 is:
Mai nga maunga ki te moana, ko te wai te oranga. From the mountains to the sea, Water is Life

Eye on Nature encourages tamariki to instigate more sustainable solutions everyday, everywhere. Through Creative Arts, students are encouraged to think holistically about their project. They not only have to align their creation with the theme contextually; they are also asked to consider the materials they use, whether they can reuse or repurpose resources or if what they’re using is harmful to the environment. Research of the theme and how a student’s artwork relates to the theme is also heavily weighted by the judges, to encourage further environmental investigation.

Save the dates for the 2021 competition!

Entries due:  31 March - email
Exhibition Grand Opening and Prize Giving: 17 April
Exhibition closes: 26 April

Information and Entry Form

Judges 2021

To be advised. If you'd like to be considered as a judge, please get in touch!

Judging Criteria 2021

Interpretation (20%) Demonstrate a strong interpretation for the theme ‘Mai nga maunga ki te moana, ko te wai oranga. From the mountains to the sea, water is life’. Materials (20%) Creations can be made from any material but entries made predominantly from sustainable/recycled/repurposed materials will be given more credit. Material sourced from pest plants is discouraged. Artist Statement (15%) You will need to provide a short story formatted in an A5 paragraph (font size 14) stating the artist(s) name(s), the school name, the title of your entry, an explanation of how your design relates to the theme and how you came up with the concept and who worked on the item. 2 copies of the text will need to be submitted, 1 with your artwork and the other attached to your entry form. Originality and Innovation (15%) The judges are looking for an entry that will make an impression, an original art piece designed with a unique interpretation of the theme. Construction (15%) Your creation must not exceed 1m in length/width/height and must be easily transported by maximum 2 adults to the event site. Artist Effort (15%) While we do not mind some adult participation, the artwork must be primarily constructed by the student(s).

Timeline 2021

Entries must be delivered on Tuesday 13 April 2021 to the Auckland Botanic Gardens, Visitor Centre Gallery. Judging will take place on Thursday 15 April 2021. Grand Opening of the exhibition and Prize Giving will be held at 10:30am on Saturday 17 April, at Auckland Botanic Gardens, Visitor Centre Gallery. All entries will be exhibited at the Auckland Botanic Gardens Visitors Centre Gallery for the April school holidays. 17 - 26 April 2021. All works must be collected Tuesday 27 April 2021.

Resources 2021

'Water is Life' can be an overwhelming and broad theme, please feel free to look into these four focus topics as a starting point for beginning research. These topics align with the messages from the Eye on Nature School Day learning experiences. Sustainable Coastlines have a range of resources that also cover the below topics. Marine

  • Hiwi the Kiwi - These inquiry quests explore marine life, its conservation plus all aspects of the sea world including water safety, fishing, careers, kai moana etc.
Freshwater Human Impact
  • Humans and the Water Cycle - Information on how a number of human activities can impact on the water cycle: damming rivers for hydroelectricity, using water for farming, deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels.
  • Watercare Education Programme - Resources covering water, wastewater and the local environment.
Climate Change