Artists home on the ranges

Last updated 05:00 21/11/2013
Waitakere Artists

SOOTHING SOUNDS: Award-winning sound designer Tim Prebble is tuning into the sounds of Waitakere Ranges’ wildlife

Waitakere Artists
GOING BUSH: Denise Batchelor is relying on solar energy to see her through eight weeks in the Waitakere Ranges.

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The gentle melody of birds in the Waitakere Ranges could be the next big musical hit for an award-winning sound designer.

Wellington's Tim Prebble is undertaking an artist's residency in the Waitakere Ranges National Park alongside film-maker and photographer Denise Batchelor.

The pair were chosen for the Auckland Council's Artist in Residence programme which is held in a different place every year.

Mr Prebble is basing himself at Barr Cottage in Little Huia for the next eight weeks and will have access to the entire ranges and a park guide for help.

He has worked on about 70 documentaries, shorts and feature-length films including 30 Days of Night and Bridge to Terabithia.

He's also shared awards for film soundtracks and sound design for The World's Fastest Indian and Black Sheep at the New Zealand Film and TV Awards, and the New Zealand Screen Awards.

For the next two months Mr Prebble is taking a break from the sound studio and immersing himself in the range's wildlife for his residency, he says.

"My first challenge is to record the kokako, ruru (morepork) and tui, isolate their vocalisations and extract melodic and rhythmic elements.

"These will become the seeds from which my new orchestral and electronic compositions will grow."

Fellow resident Mrs Batchelor is staying in Craw Homstead near Anawhata and says she'll be using the time to live simply and quietly while relying on just solar and gas energy.

"Without power, television, internet or dependable phone connection, time has taken a more natural rhythm that revolves around the tides, the dawn chorus and sunsets," she says.

The results of both of the artists' works will be shown over summer at free events.

Follow Mr Prebble's journey at or visit

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