Art installation serves as a reminder to children

Last updated 13:51 31/10/2012
Moana Lee1

BIRDS ON DISPLAY: Sections of Moana Lee’s exhibition Romance of Birds, going on show in the Elma Turner Library in Nelson.

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Golden Bay artist Moana Lee sings the praises of Abel Tasman founder Perrine Moncrieff in her latest art installation, Romance of Birds.

After finding an old copy of Moncrieff's book New Zealand Birds and How to Identify Them, which included a poem by the author, Lee applied successfully to Tasman's Creative Communities for funding to create the installation.

Lee has sewn images of all of the New Zealand native birds in Moncrieff's book, displaying them from small to large on individual prayer flags at the Elma Turner Library in Nelson.

She used darker backgrounds for the birds that were either extinct or no longer in the area because they had been relocated to sanctuary islands.

"I added the moa and the Haast's eagle [which weren't in Moncrieff's book] because I wanted to remind children of the amazing large birds that used to live in this area."

The Abel Tasman became a National Park 70 years ago, while this year was the 370th year of Abel Tasman's visit.

"I thought it was a good year to do the project."

But for Lee, the poem was the catalyst.

"To know birds intimately is to plunge into the pages of never-ending romance . . . Once the Romance of Birds has opened its pages, the readers will never let the book down. For the study of Nature's Feathered Children leads to the greatest wisdom in the world," wrote Moncrieff in Lee's favorite part of the poem.

A copy of the poem that inspired Lee to create the installation is included as part of the exhibition.

  • Romance of Birds will be exhibited in the children's section of the Elma Turner Library for two weeks from this Saturday.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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