Thanks to Debbie-Daniell Smith J (Arts and Heritage Adviser) and Jo Martin
(Environmental Education Adviser) and many others Velvet was able to return to Nelson for display at the elegant, informative, and ever-changing Nelson Provincial Museum.
This was personally exciting for me, te Tuna Wahine, because it was in Nelson, with the unconditional support and encouragement from my dear friend Jimmy Griffiths at Shortbread Cottage, that I first began to research the longfin eel situation and wrote and illustrated the soon-to-be-in-print book: Velvet & Elvis: A Mother & Son Story of New Zealand’s Longfin Eel It was also in Nelson with Jimmy, on many talkative walks to the Centre of NZ and up the Grampions, that the seeds for Velvet’s Travelling Tuna Tapestry were planted in my heart. So, an extra big “Cheers” to my mate, Jimmy, for all his encouragement and feedback. Please pop into Shortbread and give him a big hug for us all!
Here is what Jo had to say about Velvet’s stay at the museum:
“Velvet was very well received here – with holiday programmes at the Elma Turner Library and the Nelson Provincial Museum making a panel each, and also approx 70 visitors to the Museum contributing to another 2 panels. Children on the holiday programmes enjoyed hearing the story of Velvet and Elvis which we made up into a big book, and we also played the ‘Longfin’ DVD by Lindsey Davidson and Melissa Salpietra http://www.longfinfilm.com/About_the_Film.html ) loaned to me by Martin Rutledge from the Department of Conservation. We gathered 34 signatures for the petition that calls for a moratorium of commercial fishing of the longfin eel, a threatened species. Also there was a photo and story in the Nelson Mail on the 20th April (although I was mis-quoted as saying eels could survive for days on dry land!).
Lots of people were involved in helping to make it all happen including educators from the Library, Museum, Cawthron Institute, Tasman District Council and Nelson City Council – not to mention the technicians from the Museum and the lovely Altrusa group who are going to sew everything on! And of course Velvet wouldn’t have been here at all without Debbie Daniell-Smith J.
I intend a follow up story in Ecobuzz (our school Environmental Ed newsletter) and hopefully in Live Nelson – the NCC newsletter.
Many thanks for the great opportunity!
And, thanks to all of you thoughtful and caring Nelson-area kaitiaki ! Thanks for spreading the word about your vanishing, endemic and treasured species: the longfin eel.