This is an ongoing sculpture project dedicated to outstanding Katikati bird photographer, native wildlife enthusiast and conservationist, Brian Chudleigh, who died in 2007.
Katikati Open-Air Art has created the Bird Walk, which follows the Uretara Stream along the Yeoman Walkway, starting with four bird sculptures. The plan is to add more sculptures in a variety of styles and materials and by different sculptors as funding permits.
The first sculptures in place for the dedication on April 26, 2009 were:
Moa: Sam Dunlop, Katikati
Pied Shag: Marcel Zwezerijnen, Taupo
Oystercatchers: Trevor Askin, Timaru
Bittern: Sam Dunlop, Katikati
The aim of the Bird Walk is to attract both locals and visitors to this tranquil area of river, saltmarsh and estuary, lying close to the heart of Katikati.
We hope this will raise awareness of the birds to be seen there and the need to protect those that are rare or endangered. Hopefully adjacent wetlands will soon be developed, attracting many more birds and adding interest to the walk.
Brian Chudleigh left this advice for us all:
Teach your children and grandchildren the value of our wildlife and teach them to tread lightly on the world. In New Zealand there are birds that are not found anywhere else in the world. Let’s help them survive.
Brian’s widow, Cushla, unveiled the main sign on opening day. The sculptured surround was designed by Steve Graveson of Open-Air Art and the art work for the sign was created by the late Roy Cunliffe of Katikati, well know mural and landscape artist.
Thanks go to Environment Bay of Plenty for assisting with signage through its Environmental Enhancement Fund and to the Western Bay of Plenty District Council for allowing Open-Air Art to use its reserve. Also to the New Zealand Bromeliad Society which donated the sculpture of the pied shag and to Katikati Lions and others for help with installation.