A Marlborough schoolgirl has created a buzz over her designer hat.
Miya Austin-Dobie, a 13-year-old Rai Valley Area School student, came up with a wearable arts hat that combined cicada shells, chicken wire and papier-mache.
This week she was flown to Auckland to collect her Supreme Winner award in the wearable arts category of the inaugural Youthtown Creatifs competition.
Miya, who lives on an off-grid lifestyle property in Marlborough's Wakamarina Valley, said she could still not believe her national success.
When she saw the competition advertised, with the theme "everything old is new again", she thought of the cicada shells she'd collected during summer. "The cicada sheds its skin and turns into a new cicada."
Miya got an old cap and some chicken mesh, shaped it to make a point, then papier-mached it. To stick the dozens of cicada shells on, she used a hot glue gun, which meant turning on a generator. Her home uses only solar and hydro power, with the generator used for the washing machine and a satellite phone.
Miya said she called her finished work Cicada City because the chorus of singing cicadas in summer sounded like a busy city.
She and her parents flew from Nelson to Auckland for a photo shoot, to meet the judges and to receive her prize package. It includes an iPad and $500 to spend on art supplies.
She said she had been to Auckland only once before, when she was 2. This time, she got to go up the Sky Tower and meet with AUT fashion and design students.
It is not surprising that she has artistic talent - her dad, Craig Dobie, is a jeweller and builder, and mum Jodie Austin has done pottery, stone carving and painting.
Youthtown chief executive Keith Thorpe said Youthtown was about inspiring young people to realise their potential, and he hoped its award winners had been inspired to express who they were, what they thought and what influenced them. Fairfax NZ
- The Marlborough Express