Meet Creative Bay of Plenty intern and local visual communicator, Kendra Stone. She’s shooting all the images for our Creative Patapatai project, and helping us tell dozens of creative stories. We spent time with Kendra and learned about Te Puna Quarry, her head-banging days, and why Brazil is on her mind.
Your occupation, job title, artistic discipline (or very brief description of what you do)
Self-employed photographer at my company, Kendra Eden Photography.
What cities/towns have you lived in (or spent more than a few months in) beginning with the place of your birth?
I started off in Tauranga, and then moved to Auckland to study when I was 18. I spent 5-6 years there, working a number of different jobs since graduating after my three year course. I spontaneously decided to get a one way ticket to the UK last year (yay for a British passport), with the intention to travel around different countries and set up camp wherever I felt like! I then got home sick after two months, flew home, worked back in Auckland for six months, moved back to Tauranga for the start of Summer and then decided to give Europe another go. I settled in Cardiff this time, got a job after two months of searching, and then Covid had other plans for us all. So I’m now back in Tauranga!
What are the earliest stories you remember hearing? The ones that told you about the world?
The first ‘story’ that comes to mind is Peter Pan. I loved the book as a child (and still do as an adult), and also the different film versions. It taught me to always hold onto the magic of being young; of believing in faraway lands with mermaids and pirates and all things wonderful.
What’s your favourite Bay of Plenty landscape, park, building, location, suburb, or side street? Why?
I was going to be super unoriginal and say the main Mount beach, but I’ll go for the Te Puna Quarry. I feel like it’s a bit of a hidden gem, even though I see lots of families there enjoying the walks, sunshine and beautiful nature. The views are amazing, and the volunteers who work there are really passionate about keeping it looking good.
What’s an average day in your life at present?
I’m currently enjoying this beautiful Spring weather with more light in the evenings, trying to fit in a beach walk every day. I’m doing contract photography and content creation work for a few different companies, and really making the most of the time I have when I’m not working (although it doesn’t feel like work because I love it so much!)
What music was present and still memorable from your youth/adolescence?
The first thing that comes to mind is heavy metal and hardcore music. I think that was my channel for all my teenage angst – head banging and windmilling my hair around in my bedroom with Slipknot and Parkway Drive going full bore.
For you as a creative person, who are three influential artists or thinkers?
I was thinking about this today, actually—that I’ve never really focused on artists, as such, but more so the people around me. For example, I’m in a lot of photographer/photography groups on Facebook, and heaps of my mates are in the same industry, so I take inspiration from them, and also the likes of Pinterest.
If you went away from the Bay of Plenty for a long time and then came back, what are the first three things you would do or visit?
Here’s my time to say the main Mount Beach, followed by lunch at one of the waterfront cafes, followed by sunset at Pilot Bay.
Looking back at your childhood self: what one sentence describes that person?
Ambitious with the constant desire to be even more ambitious!
If you had to eat the same meal every day, what would it be?
Chicken schnitzel with our family recipe plum sauce, roasted kumaras with seasoning, and a nice salad with a homemade salad dressing (followed by apple crumble or pie for dessert).
What are you planning for 2021 that nobody knows about yet?
To hopefully go to Brazil for a trip to meet my partner’s family and travel around South America.
Who are your favourite or most admired figures from history?
Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King were pretty incredible in standing up for basic civil and human rights.
If the Prime Minister asked you to make up a new policy or law for New Zealand, what would it be?
There’s so much to choose from, but it’d have to be something about making more available resources to support those struggling with mental health.
In one sentence, can you define art?
Art is what lets the quieter voices of the soul speak loudly; the voices that don’t always know how to be heard through simply speaking or discussion.
What is missing or lacking from your Bay of Plenty community or environment?
If I compare it to Auckland, say, I’d think it lacks a bit of a bustling vibe, but then when I think about it, Tauranga is known and loved for being more chill.
Name a few films that you consider profound, moving or extraordinary?
Into the Wild, The Peanut Butter Falcon, Captain Fantastic, Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Lovely Bones.
What was your first real job, second, third?
My first ‘real’ job was waitressing at a cafe on Cameron Road, followed by tutoring English at a local academy, followed by working at Bay City Cinemas for 3-4 years (now known as Event Cinemas).
Where would you like to live, but have yet to?
I’d love to live in the countryside in Italy, experiencing the local food, culture, language, everything!
What word of advice would you offer an aspiring creative person?
To never spend time comparing yourself to others in a way that threatens the confidence you have in your own abilities.
What’s the biggest problem about life in New Zealand? How you would solve it?
I’m lucky enough to live a really happy and fulfilling life here, but the biggest problem I have is knowing how so many other people struggle. This could be with housing issues, domestic violence, mental health etc. I think people have this idea of New Zealand being a utopia, and they’re often really shocked when I tell them about certain suicide statistics or something like that.
What is your dream of happiness?
My dream of happiness is being healthy into old age, having a family, living in a beautiful place with lots of nature and a solid community of people around me. I want to always be doing something I love, so that I don’t dread going to work. I think that’s really important, even though I know you have to do the hard yards to reap the benefits!
What one question would you add to this Interview?
What’s the one book you’d always recommend to people?
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