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Howick College and Papatoetoe Intermediate win big at Eye on Nature Wearable Arts

Updated: Jun 27, 2022

Howick College and Papatoetoe Intermediate have even more to celebrate for Matariki, coming away as the big winners at the Eye on Nature Wearable Arts competition in Auckland.

Auckland school students wowed the sold-out crowd at the Vodafone Events Centre on Thursday night with a spectacular show of eco-friendly wearable art. The youngsters were challenged to design their garments around the theme; ‘Incredible Kai’; exploring the food cycle and how it impacts the environment.

Year 9 students Casey Ferguson, Eva Malez, Sophie Hunapo and Kayleigh Thistlethwaite from Howick College won the coveted first place in the Secondary category with their garment, ‘The Witches Garden’.

Using foraged, found and recycled materials, the young designers created a magical showcase of kai growth in their back garden. The judges were blown away by their beautiful execution, style impact and representation of the various stages of growing kai.

Papatoetoe Intermediate’s Kulraj Singh and Suega Poutea formed an impressive duo to take first place in the Primary category, with their twin garments ‘Rongo – The Hero and the Alter Ego’.

The pair made their garments to represent two sides of Rongo, the Māori god of cultivated and underground food, with recycled materials. According to the judges, the construction effort and incorporation of contemporary New Zealand and Māori tradition made them a stand-out.

The Beautification Trust hosts the annual competition for Auckland schools as part of its award-winning children's environmental education programme, Eye on Nature. This year there were 78 entries, with the winners taking away a total prize pool of $3,500 for their schools.

Young designers took inspiration from a wide range of social and environmental issues around the Incredible Kai theme, from rainforest destruction, to the cultural importance of kai and the impact of food waste on our planet.

“Reducing and diverting food waste from landfill and lowering the environmental impact of food production is a vital part of solving the climate crisis,” said Beautification Trust Community Manager Dawn Crispe.

According to the World Food Programme, food waste accounts for over 3 billion tons of greenhouse gases per year. If it were a country, food waste would be the third largest producer of greenhouse gases after the US and China.

“It’s wonderful to see young people learning about food sustainability and expressing their knowledge creatively,” said Crispe. “We hope this experience will inspire them to continue making more sustainable choices every day and bring their whānau on that journey too.”

As well as originality, effort and interpretation of the theme, the artistic creations were judged on the materials used and the impact they have on the environment.

“The end goal wasn’t just creating a garment,” said Crispe. “Students had to consider where the materials came from and what will happen to the garment afterwards. Can it be recycled? How will it break down? It’s all about encouraging tamariki and rangatahi to make sustainable choices.”

The showcase at the Vodafone Events Centre gave students the unique and exciting opportunity to model their eco-friendly creations on a fashion runway in front of a packed crowd.

“With all the hard work they put in, they’ve definitely earned a long weekend!” said Crispe.

The event was sponsored and supported by Waka Pacific, Auckland Council, and the six southern local boards.

Primary/Intermediate winners:

  • 1st place, $1,000 prize: Kulraj Singh and Suega Poutea from Papatoeote Intermediate – ‘Rongo – The Hero and the Alter Ego’

  • 2nd place, $500 prize: Simrat Kansray and Angad Mehta from Mission Heights Primary School – ‘Honouring Ranginui the Sky Father and Papatūānuku the Earth Mother, provider of Incredible Kai’

  • 3rd place, $250 prize: Noah Hehepoto from Papatoetoe Intermediate School – ‘Kai Moana’

  • Merit, $100 prize: Alexandra Stuart-Burton, Lakota McKenzie, Mikayla Carr and Sienna Kilburn-Griggs from Glenbrook School – ‘Hangi: Sustainable, Renewable, Healthy, Collaborative, Māori’

Secondary school winners:

  • 1st place, $1,000 prize: Casey Ferguson, Eva Malez, Sophie Hunapo and Kayleigh Thistlethwaite from Howick College – ‘The Witches Garden’

  • 2nd place, $500 prize: Briana Hoy, Lily Brown and Leya Skinner from Rangitoto College – ‘Coffee Waste’

  • 3rd place, $250 prize: Olivia Gu and Arna Vincent from Howick College – ‘Razzeling Ramen’

  • Merit, $100 prize: Suhani Kumar and Hayley West from Ormiston Junior College – ‘Incredible Chocolate’

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