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Sand sculptors’ future too important to chance

by 5 Feb 2012Regatta 20120 comments

Photographer’s Favourite

Photographer’s Favourite: Mahurangi Action Sand Sculpture competition nicely reflected that the action plan is about enjoyment of the Mahurangi, not just its protection. image Crispin Caldicott

Art and the environment make a beautiful combination.

This was certainly the case with the regatta Mahurangi Action Sand Sculpture competition.

The setting was perfect. Families picnicked beside the golden beach. The ‘Mahurangi-blue’ sea gently lapped at our feet and then receded over white shell banks. Historic sailing ships glided back and forth like a maritime orchestra in the harbour. Te Haupa‍ ‍/‍ ‍Saddle Island stood like a green sentinel. In a reversion to past innocence, we relished in sack, spud and spoon, three-legged and running races, and a tug-of-war. The water was warm, and soft and silky for swimming.

And at the centre of it all, were children, and a few adults, creating artistic sand sculpture masterpieces reflecting what the Mahurangi means to us all, and what we seek for its future.

From the simple pile of sand adorned with leaves, to 3-D constructions almost needing resource consent, the sand sculptures combined art and an environmental message for all to read. Large sharks with gaping jaws and fearsome rows of shell teeth, a boat big enough for four complete with mast and sail, the tree of life beautifully adorned with colour-coded pōhutukawa leaves, a friendly taniwha, and all manner of whales, dolphins and fish were brought to life from the sand.

And to be clear about the meaning of it all, sculptors, young and old, told us what they wanted for the Mahurangi: More fish; An area where whales and dolphins are free from harm; Marine reserves; A bountiful sea; A flourishing marine environment; Hope for the future. The sand sculpting was impressive for its artistic simplicity, for the strength of its message: ‘We love this place, it’s beautiful and special now, and we need to make it even better, to preserve and enhance its values and precious features.’

At the end of the day, when the day-trippers had all gone home, the wind and waves reduced the sand sculptures to indistinct organic forms. But the message remained: Mahurangi is too important to leave to chance. We carry a shared a vision for a better environment. It’s enshrined in the Mahurangi Action Plan, and inscribed in our hearts.

There’s real art, and beauty in that.

Mahurangi Action Sand Sculpture sponsors:
Auckland Council
Buckton Consultants
Mahurangi Action

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