Elizabeth Welsh wants to quite literally bring a piece of Āwhitu to her poetry.
The Titirangi poet, who has been announced as Auckland Council’s Artist in Residence for 2021, plans to write poetry about Āwhitu Regional Park and print it on paper she will make by hand from natural materials found on site.
“I intend to collect and gather elements, natural materials and stories that evidence the regeneration and restoration of this feature of the Āwhitu landscape,” Elizabeth says.
Her project will focus on the often overlooked but magnificent wetlands that run along the length of Kauritutahi beach.
“I want to explore its critical role as a water storer and improver, processor of carbon, life-giver, reducer of flood risk and stabiliser of landscapes.
“It will be an exploration of undergrowth, realised in poetry and paper; improvisational and immediate, the work will mark things half-heard, half-witnessed.”
She is considered a rising star by her peers and words like profound, exquisite, mysterious, and sonically playful have been used to describe her work.
They were characteristics that stood out for Councillor Alf Filipaina, the Chair of Auckland Council’s Parks, Arts, Community and Events Committee.
“She has a distinctive voice, a unique perspective and is clearly a patient and observant friend of nature.”
Councillor Filipaina notes, “She will immerse herself in the park and reveal to us what she sees, hears and learns. Her adventurous spirit and her bond with the wilderness were evident in her application.”
The residency provides accommodation and a workspace within a regional park for an artist to use to create new work.
That work will be shared with park visitors and the public once finished.
Elizabeth will be based at Āwhitu Regional Park for eight weeks during October and November this year.
Elizabeth is looking forward to the open landscape of the Āwhitu peninsula and the opportunity it presents to write from a fresh perspective.