Fri, Jul 9, 2021 9:14 AM

Students create a plastic ocean

Nelson Intermediate School students have worked hard on their Te Ramaroa Nelson Light Festival submission this year. Photo: Erin Bradnock.

Erin Bradnock

Octopuses, kina and a whale shark are just some of the plastic creations brought to life by Nelson Intermediate School students for this year’s Te Ramaroa Nelson Light Festival.

NIS students are creating the underwater world, “Moana of Hope and Light”, to highlight plastic pollution and its impact on our oceans.

As part of the school's STEM course, students have been working for weeks to repurpose kilo upon kilo of rescued plastics for activist art. STEM leader and NIS science teacher, Sarah Johns, says the project has been a great practical learning opportunity.

“Students have been looking at plastics in our oceans using art, science, engineering, maths and technology to explore our relationships with the ocean and plastic pollution.”

Sarah says, aside from the lights, all materials used for the art have been rescued and repurposed plastics. A bale of plastic was donated from New World Nelson for the students to use.

“It was a huge amount of plastic, heavier than I could carry, it took two of us to bring it in,” says Sarah.

The artwork features a plethora of unconventional materials from plastic water bottles cut to mimic jellyfish tentacles and old CDs used to create fish scales. Students have been researching and working passionately on the project over the past nine weeks, encountering various construction challenges along the way.

From shaping sharp chicken wire, spray painting, hot glueing and sewing plastics together, Sarah says it’s been no easy feat for the kids learning as they go.

“There’s been a lot of learning and failing, but that cycle is a celebration for us as they work through it and work it out together."

Te Ramaroa opens tonight, Friday 9 July and runs until Tuesday 13 July 5.30-9.30pm.