Lantern workshops forerunner of parade

23:00, Mar 06 2014

A series of free community workshops on lantern making starts in Palmerston North tomorrow, with just a fortnight to go to the city's annual lantern parade.

The workshops at Downtown on Broadway Ave are to be run by Bridgette Murphy of Rangiwahia Environmental Arts Centre Trust (React).

Ms Murphy is the creator of Tianma, the Heavenly Horse that Runs in Space, the centrepiece of this year's parade, made from electroluminescent wire and programmed to appear as if it were running.

She said the idea for the horse, representing the Chinese year of the horse, came after last year's parade.

"It took me most of the year because I started off really big."

However, logistics forced her to scale it down to its current length of 4 metres.


Ms Murphy said Tianma was a collaborative effort, as she enlisted the help of several specialists in Manawatu to help with different aspects of the construction, including an aluminium frame and programming.

A bicycle ridden by Ms Murphy tows the horse on a trailer made from bamboo and mop handles.

Although conceived for the parade in Palmerston North, Tianma has been on the streets of Auckland as part of the Auckland Lantern Festival, and Ms Murphy said feedback had been overwhelmingly positive.

She said that came about because she had funding from Auckland's Art in the Dark and Kiwiburn Festival.

"I got funding for it, because you have these great ideas and then, oh, it's going to cost money to do this. She's an expensive bit of kit."

She said the lantern workshops were aimed at "anybody who wants to come, make a lantern and be involved in the parade".

Past workshops had drawn a solid response.

"We get lots of families, lots of new migrants, people who have moved to the city and want to meet other people and other families, and want to be involved in the community."

She said an increasing number of younger people, especially young couples, had taken part in previous years.

She said participants did not have to bring anything, although they had to provide their own torches.

Manawatu Standard