Sacred Earth Water Journey

Caroline Robinson’s unique combination of land art, sculpture and storytelling has contributed to some of the largest urban development and infrastructure projects in Auckland, helping to bring stories from the land, waters and local people, into the heart of these complex construction processes.


Caroline stands beside LUNA

Caroline will introduce us to Luna, the 8m high stone tower standing in the Oteha Valley, across the Kaipatiki River from Kawai Purapura. This public artwork, created to nourish a ‘union of heaven, earth, heart’ was commissioned by Auckland Transport and built in 2012 through a collaboration with Scottish Stone Walls Ltd.

Through a walk and talk, Caroline will invite us to explore the landscapes of Oteha Valley, and experience some of the creative processes that helped to shape Luna.


Caroline’s Art Bridge spans the Albany Lakes Reserve.

Caroline’s Walk & Talk (1 hour) takes place at Hooton Reserve, Mills Lane, Albany, at 9:00am Sunday 23 February.

Michael’s Walk & Talk (2 hours), including the Stream CleanUp initiation, takes place partly on Kawai Purapura and partly on Hooton Reserve, Mills Lane, Albany, from 10:30am Sunday 23 February.


Michael O’Donnell of Tarariki Pottery is an artist, environmentalist, storyteller and catalyst. In his own unique way he has learned to walk the path of the old peoples of New Zealand and Ireland.


Mike beside the waters of Taraariki, his teacher.

Some know of Michael as “the water man”, who passionately strives to protect and tell the story of water. Some know of him as the clay worker whose hands create magnificent sculptures and beautiful receptacles for good slow food. Some know of him as an environmental warrior trying to stop gold mining in the Coromandel, or as the man who walked from Cape Reinga to Taupo to bring attention to the sad plight of the Heritage seeds of New Zealand.

After receiving notification that a long fought battle to save a pristine ecology had failed, some years ago Michael created a set of magnificent heads (below). Powerful in their own right, Michael explains they were “in response to an overwhelming sadness that we weren’t listening to what the land, sky and water were saying!”


Mike O’Donnell: Guardians

The Water Journey – Walk & Talk

The Call A call to all community, land holders, care takers, regulatory authorities, having a vested interest in the health and wellbeing of the ‘Wai Kahikatea’ stream which flows into the receiving waters of what is known locally as Lucas creek.

This is a seeding stage of what is envisaged as a longer term project, initiated by ‘The Prema Trust,’ being the land holder of what is known as ‘Kawai Purapura,’ to not only care for the stream and associated tributaries, but to initiate processes which will give us an overview of the wellbeing of the catchment, beginning with a clean up. It will also allow us to identify areas of concern and potentially lead on to the formation of a stream care group.

Education The potential of forming a stream care group – Falling in Love with Water

Beginning at ‘Kawai Purapura’s Voices of Sacred Earth Eco-Festival’ a film, The Water Whisperers will be shown. This documentary by Cathleen Gallagher brings together individuals, community groups, fishermen and farmers actively concerned with water issues. Michael O’ Donnell features in the film and will share his 35 years of experience on such issues as defending, securing, enhancing and maintaining water bodies and their associated riparian strips and ecology.

Mike spent 5 years on A.C.R.E. (an advisory committee to the Waikato Regional Council) on water issues. He has also been involved in Water Rights hearings, and the defending of what essentially are ‘Remnant’ ecologies defined and determined by ‘Remnant pristine ecologies.’ He is also a sculptor and story teller. While he will share with us in story and creative performance his experiences working alongside Tangata Whenua Hauraki and community groups within this area, and no doubt a few of his skirmishes overseas, he will always maintain his greatest qualification to speak is that of a father, grandfather – one being born of this land – and our responsibility to the birth waters of our children and this land Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Guardianship There is a feeling for many that there is little we can do to assist in the healing of our environment at large, with so much devastation about us. Often it is a sense of hopelessness when we hear what is happening to the ocean as a dumping ground. The ocean is the common water to us all. It is the receiving water, of all rivers, of all streams, of all springs.

This initiation, while a call to our deepest feeling and concern, is also a call to activate a community vision where we may have a sense of ‘hope full’ and not ‘hope less.’ By realising and enhancing our water ecologies we begin a simple yet powerful process.

It is by going to the source we initiate the healing of any situation. This is to appreciate the simplest of processes. For as the spring heals, so does the stream. As the stream heals, so does the river. As the river heals, so does the receiving water of the estuary and the ocean.

The wellbeing of a river is a true reflection of the attitude of a community.’  – Nelson Mandela

It is the caring for, and the healing with the water, that heals community, and brings us together.

This writing came from a proposal which initiated the planting of a small stream called Taraariki in Hauraki. This has resulted in some 25,000 plants being established along the stream’s edge. This has happened with the assistance of Community, Regulatory Authorities, industry [Silver Fern Farms], schools etc. over a 15 year period. Such stream care projects are being initiated all over Aotearoa. We are all healing together. It is simply a matter of believing in, and beginning.

Arohanui, Mike O’Donnell, Water Man.