Shin­ing stripes


When the Palmer­ston North Festival of Cul­tures lantern pa­rade lights up on Fri­day, March 3 it will glow with ad­di­tional wow fac­tor.

Miss­ing from last year’s pa­rade, Brid­gette Mur­phy and Jim Richards of the Rangi­wahia En­vi­ron­men­tal Arts Cen­tre Trust (RE­ACT) re­turn with plans to ‘‘up the ante’’ on the tra­di­tional twi­light per­am­bu­la­tion around The Square.

RE­ACT have been mak­ing Chi­nese zo­diac crea­tures for the pa­rade since 2010, the Year of the Tiger.

Spruced up so it can take its place in the pa­rade, the tiger dominates the win­dow of the for­mer Pub­lic Trust on The Square un­der City Li­brary, where Mur­phy and Richards started con­duct­ing lantern-mak­ing work­shops to­day.

‘‘The tiger was the first big cen­tre­piece we’d done. But he was so faded. I spent Christ­mas ‘skin­ning’ him,’’ Richards said.

‘‘A bus­load of peo­ple from 11 na­tion­al­i­ties came up to Rangi­wahia, some of them wear­ing their na­tional cos­tumes, to help re­paint him. We took them for a walk in the bush, and had to re­as­sure them there were no tigers.’’ ‘‘Or snakes,’’ Mur­phy laughed. The snake (2013), rab­bit (2011) horse (2014), sheep and ram pair­ing (2015) and dragon (2012) will also take part in the pa­rade.

‘‘We’re work­ing on re­ju­ve­nat­ing the dragon,’’ Richards said.

As well as mak­ing a gi­ant rooster for 2017 , the RE­ACT team were also build­ing a mon­key for the year they missed.

‘‘The rooster is huge and will be ar­tic­u­lated,’’ Mur­phy said

Richards said they had learned so much from the dif­fer­ent eth­nic lantern­mak­ing tra­di­tions brought to the work­shops.

‘‘Some of the peo­ple come year af­ter year to de­velop their skills. We like see­ing fam­ily groups spend­ing time to­gether and work­ing on the lanterns as a team.’’

The pair have also been work­ing with eth­nic com­mu­ni­ties in Porirua and New­ton, mak­ing Big Girls - gi­ant pup­pet rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the women who call Aotearoa/New Zealand home.

The pup­pets from the Welling­ton work­shops, and those pro­duced lo­cally at Te Manawa from Satur­day, Fe­bru­ary 25 - 28, will have out­ings at the New­town Festival on March 5, and for Palmer­ston North’s In­ter­na­tional Women’s Day pa­rade and pic­nic in The Square on March 8.


Jim Richards and the RE­ACT Festival of Cul­tures lantern pa­rade tiger from 2010.

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