The artworks of South Canterbury teenagers are exhibited throughout New Zealand

Maevi Fleming from South Canterbury has won a national poster competition.


Maevi Fleming from South Canterbury has won a national poster competition.

A South Canterbury teenager’s depiction of Papatūānuku (Earth Mother) surrendering the land to the Tamariki won the middle section of a national art competition.

Maevi Fleming, a 14-year-old Roncalli College student, entered Dunedin-based artist Bruce Mahalski’s The Great Kiwi Poster Competition in hopes of winning the dance class prize money, but didn’t think she would win.

“I’m also very interested in climate change,” Maevi said.

“A lot of people deny climate change and I think we just have to accept the fact that it’s happening and do something about it.”

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Maevi grew up watching her mother Bronwyn paint and got a few “tips and tricks” from her.

There are several drafts of the poster, and it took Fleming the summer holidays to finish, saying it was “a good way to fill the time”.

Wellington-based creative Fifi Colston judged the competition’s intermediate section and highly praised Fleming’s work.

“I love this poster and would never tire of it as a piece of art both on my wall and on the street walls,” said Colston.

She chose Fleming’s work as the winner because it dealt with Whakapapa and how passing on the mantle of guardianship to future generations and caring for the planet is the way forward.

Papatūānuku (Earth Mother) hands over the land to our Tamariki.


Papatūānuku (Earth Mother) hands over the land to our Tamariki.

“A tūī and a piwakawaka fly over man.

“Tūī are said to be messengers of the gods and symbolize life, confidence and harmony. The piwakawaka is a symbol of death in the world and we can imagine that as it relates to the planet.”

“The life and death of the climate is in the hands of the people, as the poster clearly shows.”

She described the work as “a strong, unfussy image, well executed”.

“It’s a beautiful, poignant, emotional image.”

Fleming is unaware of his ancestral connections to Māori culture, but learns Te Reo and Te Ao Māori [the Māori world].

Fleming’s poster will be on display at The Great Kiwi Poster Competition exhibition at the Otago Museum on April 16.

It is then made into large posters and displayed throughout Aotearoa by Phantom Billstickers.

The competition is aimed at people aged 5 to 21, as they will be hardest hit by the environmental degradation caused by ongoing climate change, the website says.

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