Creativity running wild in prefab art

19:06, Dec 10 2012

Fabulous prefabs of the model kind are starting to appear in New Plymouth's Puke Ariki as part of the just opened summer exhibition, Kiwi Prefab: Cottage to Cutting Edge.

Schoolchildren, families and creative members of the community have begun dreaming about baches by the beach, homes in the hills and cabins in the bush.

Their creations are becoming part of Prefab Village, a community installation that will form the third prong of the Kiwi Prefab exhibition. The partnership between Puke Ariki and Victoria University also includes Prefab Landing on the New Plymouth foreshore and Prefab Gallery inside the combined museum, library and i-Site.

To add to this growing artwork, people can make their models at home or join in one of the free Prefabulous Pimping Prefabs days being held at Puke Ariki and the Community Libraries.

The first is at Puke Ariki tomorrow and events co-ordinator Natalie Waddell says people can pop in any time during the day to make a model.

"You don't need to bring in anything - we've collected a plethora of bits and pieces for you to pimp your prefab with."


Students from a year five and six class at West End School in New Plymouth have already been busy making prefabricated homes, using modular templates downloaded from

Callum Law, 11, is making a hot design. "The theme for my home is fire and flames."

There will be a fireplace inside, but the building will not be ablaze - just decorated to look like fire.

Using the provided templates, Callum is putting together a structure that has seven or eight rooms.

Classmate Larissa Wilkinson, 11, is making a cottage-style prefab.

"I'm going to go outside and get heaps of little twigs and stick them on so it will look like the outside of my house," she says.

"I had heaps of ideas, but I decided to do something that could be made for real and that could be taken away and put up somewhere like a prefab. I think it would be nice to have one out in the woods like a holiday home that you can go and spend time in and relax."

Larissa says she has always been keen on building houses and the ideas people come up with.

She enjoys watching television programmes about home design, especially MTV's Crib and Extreme Crib.

When she is older, she could even become an architect. "I like heaps of different things like being a judge or a detective, but I've always been interested in design."

Another 11-year-old, Luke Cocker, is making the model of a bach he imagines being put up by a Coromandel beach. He has been cutting strips of coloured paper to replicate wooden weatherboards.

"I'm trying to make it look really old. I want to make it twice as big as this, with a porch and maybe a garage and windows for the roof," he says.

"The reason I wanted to do this was because I like drawing houses at home - I draw the insides of them."

Other prefab designs by the West End kids include a beehive, haunted house, a zombie-proof clubhouse and homes inspired by nature, especially hedgehogs, cats, kiwi and dolphins.

All models for Prefab Village need to fit into an A3 footprint. Within that space, people can go wild with shapes, materials and colour; they are not obliged to use the supplied templates, which can be picked up at Puke Ariki.

With an entry form, entrants can get a free test pot from the New Plymouth or Hawera Resene Total Colour Shop.

Prefab Village is also a competition for under-12s and over-12s. The winner of each section will receive an iTunes voucher worth $150. There is also an overall prize for the best use of colour.

Judging by architects and/or prefab experts will be held on March 23. The models will remain on display until the Kiwi Prefab exhibition closes on April 1.

Other Prefabulous making days are January 19 at Puke Ariki, January 21 at Inglewood Library and January 23 at Waitara Library.

Taranaki Daily News