Bird prints a reminder of Rena's toll
The environmental impact of the Rena disaster has been captured in art, with oil prints of some of the birds killed when oil spilled from the wrecked ship to tour the country.
More than 2000 dead birds were found in the six weeks after the Rena grounded on the Astrolabe Reef off the Tauranga coast in October.
Many of the dead were found coated in thick, black, sticky oil and many more birds spent weeks in the Wildlife Recovery Centre as they were nursed back to health.
Now a collection of oil prints, made from the bodies of some of the dead birds and some of the 350 tonnes of oil that spilled from the Rena, will be exhibited in Christchurch, Dunedin and Wellington.
They were first displayed in Auckland late last year.
The morbid prints of a little blue penguin and a diving petrel were created by art collective Publicis Mojo and Greenpeace volunteers.
The volunteers found the two dead birds while clearing oil off Matakana Island last year.
Greenpeace created the prints to remind people about the environmental damage caused by the Rena’s grounding and warn them about how deep sea oil drilling could have far greater consequences.
“This memorial to the birds that were killed by the Rena’s oil is also a stark reminder of the dangers of opening up New Zealand waters to deep sea oil drilling,” Greenpeace campaigner Steve Abel said.
The 350 tonne spill could be dwarfed by a deep sea oil disaster, the prospect of which is becoming more real by the day, Mr Abel said.
“Once exploratory drilling begins later this year, New Zealand will be under threat from a Deepwater Horizon-type disaster off our coast. The authorities didn’t have a hope of containing the Rena’s oil. Imagine waiting helplessly for more than a 1000 times more oil to wash up on Dunedin’s St Clair Beach, Christchurch’s New Brighton Beach, Raglan, Stewart Island, or on the Wairarapa coast,” Mr Abel said.
“Allowing the oil industry to set up whole new frontiers in exploration runs directly counter to the clean energy expansion the world needs if we are to have any chance of avoiding runaway climate change.”
To date over 138,000 people have signed Greenpeace’s petition to stop any deep sea oil drilling and the expansion of coal mining in New Zealand.
The prints will be exhibited at the Crafted Coffee Company, Christchurch, until April 14, at Taste Merchants, Dunedin, from April 17 to 21 and at Chaffers Gallery, Wellington, from April 24 to 28.