Just like the eye-catching kōwhai flowers, with their distinct clusters of drooping yellow blooms that stand out amidst their fern-like foliage, the purpose of a Kōwhai canopy is to attract pollinating birds like tūī, bellbird, and kākā. Similarly, the radiant golden flowers of Kōwhai Grove are fashioned to catch the attention of passersby.
Kōwhai Grove is a reimagination of a public space, aiming to embrace and connect with its natural surroundings. It presents an opportunity to create a welcoming and captivating area for both the local community and visitors in downtown Tauranga. The Grey Street arcade is a dynamic space characterised by the ebb and flow of people as they meet, gather, and navigate through their daily lives.
The intention of Kōwhai Grove is to provide a collective moment for its audience. It extends an invitation to commune with the rejuvenation of the natural world and the hope it offers for our built environment, thereby igniting the potential of what we can accomplish when we collaborate.
The artwork's significant scale is designed to make an impression, representing not only our native kōwhai—a widely recognised native tree and our unofficial national flower—but also showcasing the use of single-use plastics. Through this representation, the artwork emphasizes the massive scale of our plastic pandemic.
Kōwhai Grove is a collaborative light-based installation that demonstrates the artistic potential of repurposed plastic. Every delicate flower within it has been meticulously crafted by the artist alongside members of the Bay of Plenty community using locally collected plastic water bottles, diverting thousands of single-use plastics from ending up in landfills. The artwork serves as a powerful reminder of the impact our waste has on the planet and its inhabitants, aiming to inspire viewers to reconsider their own consumption habits.