New Zealand's Biggest Ever Street Art Paste-Up Celebrates Fish Love
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New Zealand's Biggest Ever Street Art Paste-Up Celebrates Fish Love

On Saturday (25th February) the artists, Toothfish and Bent created what they claim to be New Zealand's biggest ever street art paste-up, as part of Inanga Love Park, a stream-side artist-made pocket park in a formerly a trashed out transport corridor in Petone near Wellington

Both artists are based in the Wellington area and have worked prolifically overseas with Toothfish perhaps best known for its ironic political posters and Bent for his giant pigeon paste-ups.

The paste-up event was part of the launch of Inanga Love Park, a public art intervention that celebrates a small whitebait fish spawning area in a neglected area of an urban stream underneath the motorway by Wellington Harbour.

Inanga Love Park aims to landmark a forgotten part of the Korokoro Stream and highlight the importance of the “salt-water wedge” - the area where fresh and salt-water come together, just upstream from where streams meets the sea. Without good habitat around the salt-water wedge, native fish can’t breed. As a result, whitebait numbers have declined nationally, and some species are threatened.

The finished paste-up, which faces the train, covers an area over 80 square metres looks like a cross between a massive scientific paper about freshwater biota and a super-sized psychedelic illustrated history book.

The project is a collaboration between artist Kedron Parker, artist/ecologist Paula Warren, artist and fish scientist Bruce Mahalski and environmental engineer Stu Farrant, and presented through Groundwater: Common Ground Hutt Public Art Festival. Working together with Toothfish they produced eighty giant posters focusing on and wildlife that live in the stream, Maori and European settlement, and how development and infrastructure transformed the land.

Leading up to last weekend they cleaned up rubbish and debris, planted the area with natives, and held a picnic and paste-up party on Saturday (25th February) to officially launch the new people/fish park. 

The images and stream bank restoration have truly created the conditions for fish love.

“Our native fish are epitomized by a truly courageous commitment to love. Leaving the comfort of their safe protected freshwater homes, they annually migrate to the coastal margins to spawn and lay millions of eggs on flooded stream banks just above high tide. On hatching these silvery babies head seaward to luxuriate in the estuaries and coastal shallows before being tempted by the taste of sweet freshwater and return to the same inland streams (if lucky enough to escape the white-baiters) from which their committed parents descended." (Stu Farrant)

With the help of Toothfish and Bent’s massive image mash-up, inanga love is all the rage.

"We're not saying its New Zealand’s biggest ever....well actually, we are." (Bent)

"I wonder how many people even know what an inanga is?" (Toothfish)



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