The New Zealand chapter of 26 first approached Forest & Bird in 2021 to collaborate in the 26 Habitats project. So we were delighted when Forest & Bird asked if we would help them celebrate its 100 year anniversary in 2023.
This time round the collaboration has been even more fantastic, with 13 New Zealand 26 writers and 13 New Zealand artists recruited by Forest & Bird, who were randomly paired and then allocated a Forest & Bird reserve or conservation project to vist and respond to.
The chosen projects for 26 Forest & Bird Centennial were located all over Aotearoa New Zealand, stretching over 1,200 miles/2,000 kilometres from the far north of Te Ika-a-Māui (North Island) to the deep south of Te Waipounamu(South Island). They span everything from wetland to forest and coastal reserves.
Each 26 writer is creating a 100-word centena (same first and last three words) and a 260-word esssay inspired by their chosen reserve or project. The original artworks created by their artist partner will include paintings, illustrations, and ceramic pieces.
The writing and artworks created for 26 Forest and Bird Centennial will be released in three stages to coincide with the publication of the Spring, Summer and Autumn editions of Forest & Bird’s nationally distributed magazine. The project will also be promoted via 26 and Forest & Bird’s social media channels, and all the works will be published on the 26.org.nz project website
The project launches on 8 September 2023. Forest & Bird is also planning to host a live event in Auckland where 26 writers will be invited to read their centenas to an invited audience and the artworks will be on display.