Bottles given new blooming beauty in Tauranga

The stunning yellow flowers of Kōwhai Grove bring sunshine to Grey St Arcade. Photo: John Borren/SunLive.

Sunshine hangs above you as they sway gently in the wind and gleam in the light – forever in flower.

Repurposing 14,784 single-use plastic bottles, artist Bobbie Gray has created Kōwhai Grove – an eye-catching installation that brightens Downtown Tauranga's Grey St Arcade.

With Tauranga as her hometown, Bobbie says Kōwhai Grove was an opportunity to create a welcoming and engaging space for local communities and visitors.

'It was a chance to reimagine a public space, Grey Street arcade, a place that ebbs and flows, where people come and go, meet, and gather as locals go about their day-to-day.”

From the more than 14,000 bottles, Bobbie has handcrafted 2464 flowers and leaves that are fitted with programmable LED lights.

'A single kōwhai flower is made up of five different bottles to create the different flower parts; the sepal, outer petal, inner petal, stamen, carpel and another bottle for the leaf, which were all hand-cut and melted before being spray-painted.”

Community effort

The work has been a collaborative community effort too, says Bobbie. 'Each delicate flower has been handcrafted by myself, as well as members of the Bay of Plenty community using plastic water bottles that were collected locally, diverting thousands of single-use plastics from landfill.

'Kōwhai Grove serves as a stark reminder of the impact our waste has on the planet and its inhabitants, and hopes to inspire viewers to rethink their own consumption.”

She says this project was a year-long process. 'Making the work itself was quite physically challenging,” says Bobbie.

But the community's response to the artwork has topped the effort. 'I've seen hundreds of positive comments, which really makes all the hard work worthwhile. It is really special that my first large commission like this was for my hometown.”

Commissioned by Tauranga City Council, the instillation is semi-permanent to Grey St Arcade. This means it will be up for at least two years. Check it out for yourself!

1 comment


Posted on 11-07-2023 15:52 | By overit

Stunning, thank you

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