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Tamatea currency creation

28 Feb 2024

A painting can certainly share a story and convey mood and emotions. They can also make a feeling or a memory come to life as if the artist’s DNA is embedded within. Artist Ginney Deavoll knows all about capturing emotions through her art and she uses an array of Resene paint colours to showcase this.

“My reason for painting has always been to inspire people to venture out into our wild places so they experience the wonder and awe for themselves,” Ginney says. “Then, hopefully better decisions are made to ensure it's here for future generations.

“In 2022 I had the opportunity to be part of the Tamatea Art project run by the charter company ‘Pure salt’. It meant being aboard the ship 'Flightless' for a week as the resident artist. I was able to hear about the Tamatea Restoration project first hand and I now have the chance for my work to directly impact an area I care deeply about. The idea is that artists are great storytellers, we help spread the word through our variety of media and bring awareness to this important project. The funds generated from the art are going directly into a huge conservation project for Tamatea/Dusky Sound.

Artist Ginney Deavoll aboard the ship Flightless.

Their vision is: "for Dusky Sound to be one of the most intact ecosystems on Earth and New Zealand's largest ‘bio bank’ – a source of endangered native species that can be sent to pest free locations throughout the country.”

“This project is relevant to all of us as it will benefit every pest free island or sanctuary at some point whether it's by transporting native species there or learning from their experience,” Ginney says. “It's been set up by DoC and Pure Salt have joined them by being responsible for a collection of islands. They’ve made some very exciting and significant progress such as setting up a rat trapping network on Mamaku/Indian Island. This island lies between the mainland and Pukenui/Anchor Island; one of only two sanctuaries for kakapo. From there Pure Salt has undertaken the next challenge; Long Island. You can probably guess from its name that it's big, long and requires a huge amount of work. Then there is also a grid around Pickersgill Harbour and work underway to look after Pigeon Island, the home of Richard Henry in the late 1800. They invest a lot of money and time in collaborating and developing new technology to help us all learn how to be more effective and smarter in our work towards ecosystem restoration no matter where in the country.

Ginney painting one of her pieces, the Green Dollar, using Resene Blue Bark, Resene Kaitoke Green, Resene Christi and Resene Broom.

In 2012 Ginney and her husband sea kayaked around the Fiordland coast and came across Anchor Island and the Kakapo project by accident. This is what she wrote at the time;

“After lunch Tyrell was keen to catch a fish for dinner. Not wanting to sit around in my kayak waiting, I went exploring in the small harbour on the north side of Anchor Island. I hadn’t gone far when I noticed a boat tied up to a tree. Usually a common sight, but a rarity in Fiordland and therefore intriguing. As I paddled closer I noticed a track, with part of a building up in the trees. Curiosity got the better of me now so I tied my kayak to a tree and went ashore to investigate.

“I followed the track through the bush past a few sheds and small buildings to a new-looking cabin. I knocked on the door. No answer. I went inside the balcony area and called out. A girl came running through the main room and into the radio room. She looked around, confused, before she noticed me and said, “Oh, a real person.”

“Her name was Sarah and she was working for DoC on the Kakapo Project. Last summer they didn’t breed so this summer DoC was hoping for a good breeding season. It’s a complex situation with many factors involved that need to be in balance. Kakapo will only mate when there is sufficient food to feed the chicks, but the rata they eat is severely damaged by pests. I didn’t stay too long in case Tyrell was wondering where I’d got to. I found him unsuccessful in the fishing and ready to find a home for the night. Tamatea/Dusky Sound was definitely a special place, with nooks and crannies throughout that beckoned to be explored.

“While on the ship ‘Flightless’ we went ashore at a few places I’d visited with Tyrell in 2012 and the change was dramatic and obvious. The bush was alive, it was noisy and it wasn’t unusual to spot ‘rare’ birdlife. Kaka swarmed over the islands screeching and squawking and kiwi sang out at night. There was another awe-inspiring view around every corner and every dip below the surface revealed more wonders of colour and life. How could I include all of this? How could I show the worlds both above and below? And then make that relatable to the rest of the country?

“The idea of Tamatea/Dusky Sound being a ‘Bio Bank’ for all New Zealand really appealed to me. I heard the concept on my earlier trip to Dusky Sound with DoC when the project was just starting but in 2022 it really stuck. I like that it's for everyone regardless of how close you are geographically to Dusky Sound. All conservation projects will benefit from this project being successful.

Ginney’s Red Dollar painted using the colours Resene Tangerine, Resene Bright Red, Resene Pompador, Resene Rusty Nail, Resene Bull Shot and Resene Dark Rum.

Ginney’s Blue Dollar painted with shades including Resene Paua, Resene Resolution Blue, Resene Endeavour, Resene Curious Blue and Resene Blue Bark.

“I've created a currency, The Tamatea Currency with the first line called 'Dusky Dollars'. 100% of the money raised from the Dusky Dollars will go into tool development for the Tamatea/Dusky Sound restoration project. So far there are three $1 bills but the currency will grow as there’s still so many landscapes and flora and fauna to include. Of course, the more dollars sold the better as each one contributes to the overall goal; however, awareness is also just as important. If my work inspires someone to learn more about our native flora and fauna, get involved in a local conservation group, visit some of our wild places or even participate on a volunteer trip, then fantastic! Join us on this journey to ecosystem restoration.”

A gorgeous shot of Ginney’s trip on Flightless that inspired her art.

Visit or purchase your own prints through Pure Salt:

Published: 28 Feb 2024