Flight of the Huia, Song of the Piopio
// Thursday 2 August – Saturday 18 August 2012
// Opens, 6pm Wednesday 1 August
Thirty years on from Beuys’ 7000 Oaks, the last of the colonial project’s original oak trees—planted from acorns brought over from the Great Forest at Windsor and the Royal Oak at Boscobel, to mark the founding of Old Government House in 1856—fell on Auckland University’s Symonds Street campus, taking out part of the big white marquee, under which 399 graduates were to gather the next morning. As a quick solution to the untimely event, 156 years of oak from one of the two original oak trees in the north-west corner of Old Government House’s garden, was roughly chainsaw-cut into sections and rolled down the hill to the nursery, where it tentatively waited to become pulp for the surrounding University gardens. Collected in April 2011, six of these oak sections were salvaged and have been slowly drying and splitting under a borer-filled villa over the last year, still requiring one more year to completely dry out.
Flight of the Huia, Song of the Piopio marks the middle of a two-year restorative project which explores growth and decay within Auckland’s urban ecology through the subfields of cultural ecology, natural ecology and political ecology. Through group actions (cultural ecology) in Auckland’s now de-centralised political state (political ecology), an outcome of the project aims to provide support for native inner city bird populations – notably the kereru, tui and tauhou and in the long term, increase their numbers (natural ecology).