Creative Kōrero, Visual Arts

Tauranga community Christmas trees at the Historic Village

The Incubator Creative Hub, in conjunction with Tauranga City Council, Classic Builders, and The Historic Village are excited to present the Tauranga Community Christmas Trees, at The Historic Village Christmas, in early December.

Since 2018, The Incubator Creative Hub has worked with Tauranga City Council to deliver a Christmas tree project where the community comes together to participate and celebrate the festive season in a unique and truly Kiwi style, at the same time engaging and involving community groups to showcase creativity and the different community organisations.

Twenty-four huge distinctive trees have been designed by Māori artist Ashleigh Luckman-Taupaki with kōwhaiwhai patterns representing the pōhutukawa New Zealand Christmas tree.  ​Each year 22 community groups, art societies, kura and organisations are invited to participate in a group workshop to paint and embellish the adornment discs which are used to decorate each tree.

This year community groups have also been able to nominate themselves to be part of this project. Two trees each year are also used to display the painted discs of commissioned artists.

Some community groups who were involved this year include Otumoetai College, Tauranga Hospital Children’s Ward, Merivale Primary, NZ Prostitute Collective, Te Tomika Trust, Parent 2 Parent, Multicultural Tauranga, Shakti Women’s Refuge, Pillans Point Primary, Envirohub, Moraka Menstrual Cups, Grief Support Services, Under the Stars and The Salvation Army Community Ministries.

Non-profit organisation, Parent to Parent, are a national organisation that empowers parents, caregivers, siblings and whānau who have children or family members with disabilities, health impairments, or special needs by providing support, information and connections with other families who understand. Parent to Parent’s CBOP Regional Co Ordinater, Jane Ford, said that the Christmas tree project had been a very special community project to be part of.

“Many of our families have felt very isolated through this last year with the added stress of a pandemic on top of all their every day struggles. It was such a lovely day to get together, have a little fun, get creative and make new friends,” she said. “The families are looking forward to visiting the Village to see their tree on display and to be part of the this awesome experience.”

This year for the first time the trees will be on display along the streets of the Historic Village, the destination where arts meets community, and the team are delighted that so many of the Village people organisations are represented.

The trees will be installed at the Historic Village by Classic Builders who recognise the importance of helping to build communities as well as homes.

“Classic Builders are passionate about supporting our local communities and are proud to help bring the Tauranga Community Christmas tree project to life! The Bay has been home for us for 25 years and what better time to spread some joy than Christmas,” said Simon Robinson, Branch Manager Classic Builders Tauranga.

Director of The Incubator Simone Anderson says, “Our team look forward to this project every year. It is all about community arts, as the project encourages participation and the invitation to be part of something that uses art celebrate uniqueness and diversity.”

“The Community Christmas Tree project is a fantastic example of how creativity can bring people together to create something that can be enjoyed by everyone. The Incubator team do a wonderful job of supporting and encouraging community groups to get involved, removing any perceived or real barriers, and ensuring that arts and culture experiences are accessible to everyone. We are thrilled to support this project, and look forward to celebrating the creativity of our community at the Historic Village this Christmas,” said Tauranga City Council Arts and Culture Manager, James Wilson.

This year the project will be celebrated at Christmas in the Village event including a night market, on Friday 3 December, where food and craft stalls will be available to browse and shop at, along with street entertainment. The village provides a family friendly environment and has a range of areas to explore and picnic on with Covid appropriate safety plans in place.

As one of the first events to take place under the governments new traffic light system the community Christmas Tree project and markets will be the ideal opportunity to demonstrate how the system will operate. Under the traffic light system, COVID-19 vaccination certificates will be checked on entry to the Village, and limits on numbers attending may apply.

The trees will be on display until late January.

Creative Kōrero, Visual Arts

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