gol-kerm-wakey-300-RC.jpgA morning wake-up call typically called out aboard New Zealand navy ships was heard across Wellington, New Zealand, this week. Around the city—and the globe, for that matter—the Pew Environment Group's Global Ocean Legacy project has been urging people to “wake up” and support the establishment of a highly protected marine reserve in New Zealand's remote and rarely visited Kermadec Islands.

The awareness-raising effort is part of the exhibition, “Nine Artists in the South Pacific,” opening at the City Gallery in Wellington. The show features artwork created by a group of artists from across the South Pacific who traveled to the Kermadecs, at the invitation of Pew, on the HMNZS Otago in May 2011. Through these works, the artists offer a unique opportunity to encounter one of the greatest and least-known, near-pristine ocean sites on the planet. Recently, the artists voiced their support for a highly protected marine reserve in the Kermadecs:

“When we, the ‘Kermadec' artists, became involved in this project, our intention was to make the most, artistically, of the extraordinary opportunity with which we had been presented. As it happened, the initial voyage and our subsequent involvement came to affect all of us in ways we never imagined. In the two years since the project began, we have come to a deep and unequivocal awareness of the need for marine sanctuaries, such as the one proposed for the Kermadec waters. We would like to state our support, collectively and as individuals, for the concept of a Kermadec sanctuary that extends to the boundaries of New Zealand's economic zone.”

—Phil Dadson, Bruce Foster, Fiona Hall, Gregory O'Brien, Jason O'Hara, John Pule, John Reynolds, Elizabeth Thomson, and Robin White

Listen to a Radio New Zealand interview about the exhibition with Global Ocean Legacy-Kermadecs campaign director Bronwen Golder.

Find out more about each of the South Pacific artists.

View the artists' spectacular works from the trip.