Velvet Still Travelling!

The Tuna Tapestry is STILL getting around New Zealand...amazing! Here she is being viewed at the recent EcoWest Festival at Auckland's Olympic Park last month. Sweet as!

The Tuna Tapestry is STILL getting around New Zealand…amazing! Here she is being viewed at the recent EcoWest Festival at Auckland’s Olympic Park last month. Sweet as!


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Our Taniwha Tuna at Parliament

It was a wild, rainy, cold, and windy day in Wellington…… just perfect for eels, but not so for the average person planning to protest and deliver a petition on the forecourt of New Zealand’s Parliament.  Beehive DanceFortunately, my tuna whanau is not made up of average people.  Over 150 folks from all over the country showed up to carry our 150 metre long Tuna Tapestry….. about twice as many as I had hoped for even with the expected sunny weather!  It was an incredible experience to dance to the music of a marching Bella Cajon and lead the tuna and all her supporters as we s-curved our way to the steps of Parliament and presented the petition calling for a moratorium to be placed on the commercial fishing of the longfin eel.

Our voices may have been a bit nervous and shaky at times as we spoke, and the tapsetry almost became a giant tuna kite with Careew Peel Forest kids and Wairarapa kids attached, but we did it. eel at beehive After I, Mike Joy, Caleb Royal, and Sam Ludden spoke the petition was given to Eugenie Sage and she rushed it into the building to immediately present on the floor.  Steffan Browing (another Green MP along with Eugenie) is now part of the Parliamentary committee who is reviewing the scientific support for the petition…. so, all  our fingers are crossed as we wait.

Finally, we are given extra hope after the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment released this report on the longfin.  It sends a very strong message in support of the moratorium and we are all very excited!

There is so much more to share, including the fact that Velvet & Elvis, my childrens’ eel book finally exists and is being read now by kids all over NZ and beyond!  kids get bookAnd there were quite a few great reports on our march in March, including this one on Radio NZ in which the Careew Peel Forest School kids are intgerviewed.  And, be sure to check out this article in Element Magazine, as well as Nicki Wakefield’s video bit.

Best of all, it was very powerful for all of us tuna lovers to get together and share our kinetic energy to make a difference even when the work days are long and we each feel like we are not getting anywhere.  We now know who all the other people are who are joining us every day in fighting the good fight.

Kia kaha!

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Celebrating Tuna Roa on Waiheke Island!

Today for National Children’s Day and Sea Week Tanya Batt and other Waiheke folks celebrated their native long finned eel/tuna through story and art. Danny Shortland, storyteller and carver and artist and cartoonist, Nooroa, shared the traditional Maori story of Tuna Roa – the father of all eels.

The kids were captivated!

The kids were captivated!

After sharing stories they all worked together to create the Waiheke Island panelfor the 200 metre fabric tapestry tuna nui who is swimming its way to parliment house on the 19th March to call an end to the commercial fishing of the long finned eel.

What a fine, fun mess!

What a fine, fun mess!

A really special day of creating and sharing, doubly blessed by the tears of Rangi as the first rain in a month fell.

Look at that kokopu!

Look at that kokopu!

A BIG mihi to Jacqueline Joseph of Forest and Bird Haurkai Islands, Bea Lorimer of Heke Designs, Danny Shortland and Nooroa for their time, talents and energy that made today possible.  See ya’ll at Parliament!!!Gorgeous finished panel!

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Jaguar at the Border Wall!!!

What an inspiring and invigorating day we had this past Thursday when John Davis, on his Trek West journey met Sewing Spots Together in Naco, Mexico to cross the border from Mexico to the United States. Jag naco John is walking, biking and paddling from Hermosilla, Mexico all the way to Canada to bring attention for the need to connect our wild spaces with wild corridors so that species like the jaguar can roam and breed.

We were joined by Yaqui shaman who blessed John’s journey into the US.  The blessing gave us time to reflect on just why we do all the hard work we do for biodiversity.  And, we were also joined by several Naco teachers and environmentalists from Naturalia.  Together with folks from Defenders of Wildlife, Sky Island Alliance, and others we carried our beloved tapestry around town while the conch shells were sounded and folks came out onto the street to cheer us.  We made our way to the border wall to visually highlight the problems created for wildlife by such barriers. jag naco climbThanks to Border Patrol cooperation and patience no one was shot at when John and El Tigre de Matt climbed the wall!

Here is the write up in the Sierra Vista Herald

Then, we carried ourselves and our jaguar back to Bisbee for beers and camaraderie.  “Cheers” to John for making this journey for connecting wild places and people along the way!

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Waiheke & Wananga Folks Jump In!

Just as we realized that Velvet had grown too big to be hung in her entirety at Te Papa this month, we got a shout from environmental scientist, Caleb Royal, in Otaki.  He said that the Wananga community would like to display the bits of Velvet that couldn’t fit into Te Papa.  And, these folks are making their own panel that Caleb will bring with the rest of the tapestry and lots of new petition signatures to Parliament on March 19!  As soon as Caleb has a photo of this panel, we’ll post it here!

Sea WeekThen, just before the opening blessing for the tapsetry at Te Papa, Jacqueline Joseph on Waiheke Island jumped in, saying that she and her fellow islanders (including Rob Morton and his daughter Tilde) would also like to get involved.  Check out these photos from their event in an upcoming post!

And, true to their island’s name, many of these Waiheke folks are planning to make the journey to Wellington to help carry our tuna to the steps of the beehive!

Stay tuned for photos from these great folks!Eel & Cactus Evolution

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Some Mysterious Sightings of our Eel!

Velvet has been rumored to have made two appearances for which we have no photos available.  Many of you know The Jester House in the Tasman region as a place with a giant boot cottage and where tame eels writhe right out of the water to take food from your hands.  Every spring Judy and Steve, the eel-loving owners of the famed cafe have an Eel Festival to welcome the eels back after the cold winter when they hide deep in the banks.  This past September, among other eel activities they also had Velvet on display…. well, as much of her as they could as it it ended up raining buckets!

Jester HouseHere’s what they had to say:

We really enjoyed hosting Velvet unfortunately it rained all weekend and we were not able to display as much of her as possible.
However what we could display looked fantastic and generated a lot of interest.We collected a lot of signatures on the petition.
On the weekend of the Eel Festival we did lots of eel related activities which were enjoyed by many families despite the rain. There a photos posted on our facebook page that you can check out.
Thanks for all you are doing for our wonderful eels.
So, thanks to Jester House for hosting Velvet and celebrating this years’ eel return in spite of the weather!
And, soon after she left the Tasman Velvet was seen by the folks of Timaru while she graced the walls of the South Canterbury Museum.  Thanks to Philip Howe, the museum’s director, for sharing our eel and the eels story with folks around the region.
Finally, just so you get a sweet-as eel photo to look at here, check this crazy-cool and sweet turf sculpture of Burra the eel:

Burra the Eel!

Sam Crosby, the Coordinator of Education Services for Centennial Park and Moore Park Trust, sent this photo of the latest addition to the Education Precinct in Centennial Parklands near Sydney, Australia!  Here’s what the eel-hugging Aussie had to say about this very green eel:

Her name is ‘Burra’ which is the local Dharug word for Eel. She is a 15ft long turf sculpture (the photo only shows the front half). We hope that she will help to inspire children to learn about the longfin eel life cycle and how to protect her ocean and pond habitat.

Pretty cool, huh?  Thanks everyone for these mysterious eel sightings!


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Velvet’s Last Stop on the South Island!

While most of “Velvet: The Travelling Tuna Tapestry” is resting and being mended by loving hands at her home lake of Rotoiti  before she heads to Wellington for her trip to Te Papa and Parliament, 30 metres (including her head and tail) are currently on display at the North Otago Museum in Oamaru.

Our old eel is still looking good at the end of her S. Is. heke.

Our old eel is still looking good at the end of her S. Is. heke.

Thanks to Chloe Searle, curator for collections and exhibitions at the museum, and her crew, South Islanders are getting one last look at Velvet before she heads to Wellie in January.

And, check out one of the newer panels here... lovely stylized images!

And, check out one of the newer panels here… lovely stylized images!

Chloe is also working with one of her museum volunteers and kids to make a new section for South Otago and here it is!n Otago panel

Be sure to visit the museum’s FaceBook page.

Thanks Chloe and All!

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KCC in South Canterbury Reveal their Lively Addition

Notice the leaf-like leptocephalli? Love those baby eels!

Thanks to Justine Carson-Isles and many others who help with Forest & Bird’s Kiwi Conservation Club in South Canterbury for their hard work on what is clearly a beautiful and fanciful addition to our dear Velvet.  Here, see for yourself what they created:

And, the tinsel teeth on this festive great white!

And, “ta’da”… the finished panel will join the rest!


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South Canterbury KCC Sews for the Tuna!

Win Parks, the Coordinator for South Canterbury branch of Kiwi Conservation Club has some news as well as some photos to share.  With the leadership of Justine Carson-Isles, this local chapter of Forest and Bird’s youth program (KCC) has made their own panel to contribute to Velvet when she was on display at the South Canterbury Museum in Timaru during September and October.  Sroll down for some new photos!
As you can see from these photos, this group of youngsters are already getting well educated about the life that swims through the freshwaters in their own backyards:

Studying some freshwater fish at South Canterbury Museum

Justine reading “Velvet & Elvis” at the South Canterbury Museum

Big thanks to Win for getting things started there and for Justine for keeping them going… even while (as you can see) she is a busy new mom!  And, as promised, here are a few photos of the latest panel in progress:

Isabella, Win and William show off their lovely and lively contribution.

William carefully places the shark in the marine section of the piece.

Isabella Kellahan is excited about the work on the tapestry!


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Donna Palmer’s Students Take Action!

“Room 6, Te Awamutu Intermediate, went on a class trip to see the ‘We Love Eels’ exhibition at Te Awamutu Museum. The students were moved by what they discovered about the Longfin eel, and were disappointed that they could not sign the petition (being under 18 years old). Back in the classroom, the students hit on a plan.” …………

Read the whole article by Donna Palmer right here:  Te Awamutu Save Me Article

I am really impressed with these kids who know how powerful they can be!  WOW!

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