Whose Tern Is It?


Wood, steel, light, replica NZ Fairy Tern eggs, sand, paint

In ‘Whose Tern Is It?’ I have utilised timber and steel as prosaic representations of both physical and metaphorical societal constructs and in a practical sense, create the support for both the investigatory light source and the vessel that holds the Tern eggs. The eggs are replicas of NZ Fairy Tern Eggs (Tara Iti), the most critically endangered bird in New Zealand. As such they are a great measure of what we as individuals are willing to do (or not) to protect those that can’t protect themselves.

With the NZ Fairy Tern under threat on all sides, by the encroachment of people closer to their habitats, the reduction of their habitat through development and negligent development damaging their foraging and breeding areas, it is easy for the viewer to simply shrug with a ‘What can I do?’ response. But the work asks more… whose tern?… not necessarily in a sole ownership context but in one of collective responsibility. Is it the viewers turn to take responsibility?


This artwork won the 3D award in the 2021 Kaipara Art Awards

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