Clare Reilly - The Bringer of Gifts

8 September - 3 October

The Bringer of Gifts - Clare Reilly

 The Bringer of Gifts is an exhibition dedicated to the magnificent kererū, the New Zealand native or wood pigeon.

The kererū is our largest remaining native bird capable of swallowing the fruits (larger than 12mm in diametre) of some of our native trees such as karaka, taraire and tawa. The resultant deposits of seeds are dispersed throughout our forests where kererū range for food, sometimes travelling up to 50 kilometres in search of food sources. They will eat berries, flowers, fruits and leaves of over 60 native tree species and introduced tree species as well. Miro and pigeonwood, specifically, are spread by kererū on Banks Peninsula.

The devastation of  Banks Peninsula forests through fires and felling, during the 19th century, removed most of the natural habitat for our native bird species; but against the odds, the kererū maintained a hold on the land, and, more recently, there has been a gradual increase in their  numbers. This recovery has been assisted through a number of factors: the regeneration of second-growth bush; the predator control carried out by individuals and community groups; and the formation in 2000 of the Kaupapa Kererū Project (an iwi-led, community-based, multi-agency project that is supported by the Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust), which has been researching kererū ecology as a basis for managing and improving its habitat.

Kererū are daily visitors to both my Cashmere hillside garden and bach at French Farm. I have been enthralled by their quiet presence for as long as I can remember, and their skilful flight is always a joy to behold. In both gardens, tree lucerne sustains them during the cold days of winter, and an abundance of plum trees, kowhai, cabbage trees, five finger, titoki, to name a few other food sources, along with freshly provided water, keeps them returning.

This Bringer of Gifts, playing its vital role in our forests and helping to restore them, must be treasured and protected so that its future is assured. We need to have our spirits uplifted by the treasures of our environment, including the kererū.

Exhibition Gallery

Artists Galleries