Anniversary sculpture taking shape

If you have spent any amount of time out and about in the upper Coromandel Peninsula, chances are you may have spotted one of Rebekah Pearson’s distinctive creations.


The Irish born artist’s deep passion for the environment has inspired several murals around the peninsula including Tuateawa, Little Bay, Waikawau Bay, Oamaru Bay, Buffalo Beach and Coromandel Town. Working in partnership with the likes of the Department of Conservation and Thames-Coromandel District Council, much of her work has a strong focus on nature and environmental awareness.


“Protecting this special habitat is something I feel strongly about,” says Rebekah who moved to the Coromandel in 2015 with her kiwi husband. “I love living in New Zealand, and the Coromandel Peninsula in particular has so many unique and inspiring characteristics which continue to influence every aspect of my creative work.”

Rebekah is currently working on special sculpture to be installed and revealed next year as part of Coromandel Town’s 200th Anniversary commemorations. Her bond with her new-found home is just one of the reasons Rebekah was thrilled to be selected to create a unique artwork to mark this significant event in the town’s history. 


“I am delighted and truly honoured that my application was selected for the bi-centennial commemorative sculpture for Coromandel Town. The Coromandel 200 team has been absolutely amazing to work with in all aspects of the project to date, which is developing nicely. I’m really looking forward to the unveiling next May at the Illume festival,” says Rebekah. 


Coromandel - the town, the harbour and the peninsula - was named after HMS Coromandel, a British Royal Navy Ship that transported convicts to Australia in March 1820 and then sailed on to New Zealand to collect timber spars and undertake coastal survey work. A model of the HMS Coromandel is housed at the Coromandel School of Mines & Museum. The Coromandel 200 group is currently working on a series of events to mark the anniversary, including the establishment of a forest of 105 kauri on the Albert Street Reserve. The finished sculpture will be installed in the Whangarahi Reserve on Wharf Road.


“The Coromandel 200 team would like to keep the design under wraps to maintain the element of surprise, so I can’t give away too much at this time. But I can say that I designed the piece to interact with its surroundings, that it draws on historical elements and will incorporate local raw and recycled materials including kauri, ceramic, steel and glass,” says Rebekah.


As well as her love of the environment, Rebekah also lists travel as another source of inspiration. Graduating from the National College of Art in Dublin in 2006 and specialising in large scale ceramic sculpture, Rebekah lived in Melbourne for seven years, where she developed her skills in glass and metal work. She has produced her own range of illustrated gift products which are sale around the Coromandel and continually seeks out opportunities to work with local groups and organisations.


“I have also worked on some really great local projects including the Colville and Beyond trail card pack and recently the ‘Things you can do to help Little Bay’ sign. I’m currently also working on several brochures and pamphlets for local Coromandel businesses including the graphics for a food truck,” she said. 


In between all her artistic endeavours, Rebekah dedicates time to her local community group Habitat Tuateawa and Moehau Environmental Group in an effort to protect the native birds in the area. Check out more of Rebekah’s work here.

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