Kia ora koe! Synchronicities happen all the time in our life! I wanted a blank wall in the central city where I could get my artist to paint a Monarch mural. I had the funds ready which were raised within the community, but didn’t know where to start looking! I wanted a mural in the city, so all children could have wings and stand in front of the mural and have their photos taken, so they could spread their wings, rather than murals on private grounds within schools.
Simultaneously, Place making Advisor, Laura Taylor from Otakaro Ltd had a beautiful vision of creating a butterfly house in the city. Laura wanted to bring people back to the city and share a connection. A place where people can meet, relax, have lunch surrounded by murals, native trees, and flowers, which will also help attract birds and butterflies back into our city once again. Here, kids will be able to see the whole Monarch butterfly life cycle and learn how to care for this beautiful creature that is such an important pollinator in our city. Personally, Monarch butterflies represent regeneration, transformation, connection to life, hope, and beauty. In the same way, the Kahikatea Common also represents those values, so a butterfly house in the heart of the city seems so fitting.
The children from St Michael’s Church School are the young caretakers of the butterfly house, however, anyone can visit it. We hope the project inspires many more people to plant or grow swan plants and nectar flowers in their garden and helps Christchurch children to form a bond with their newly emerging central city. An impressive 130+ schools are currently growing swan plants for the coming summer months, so that Monarch butterflies can even lay their eggs on them in the children’s own schools! Eventually, there will be a steady stream of mature swan plants laden with eggs and hungry caterpillars, and lots of flowers for the butterflies to enjoy. As of October 2018, there will be only caterpillars and chrysalides as it’s very early on in the season. Expect higher numbers of Monarch butterflies from mid-November onwards. This coming summer schools can come into the city where I can host butterfly talks from the butterfly house. Even if it’s raining there undercover roofing nearby. If you would like to book me please contact me via email, more information about my school talks can be found on the link below. Christchurch School Visits
This Butterfly House is part of a new destination, “Kahikatea Common”, so please continue to come and visit over the summer months. The Butterfly Musketeers are honoured to be part of this project in The South Frame – a great open space that is away from the roads, but still part of the central city. It teaches everyone about the healing and cleansing powers of the local plants that have been planted on the common. It’s exciting to visualize how the area will evolve over time, such as hosting live bands, outdoor cinemas, food trucks, and markets. It truly is a communal area for all ages to enjoy.
Can you spot the beautiful large Monarch around the corner next to Lava Lane? Take your picture here, and it will look like you have wings! This was created by the artist “Pops”. The designs on the fences behind the rain gardens in Kahikatea Common were created by artist Anne McDonald (Signs of Art).
A big thank you to the Christchurch City Council for its support through its Enliven Places Projects Fund, and also to the landowners, the Donnithorne Family. Thanks to the Rotary Club of Christchurch Sunrise, and Rotary Club of Hornby, for all their time volunteering and hard work during the working bees & working off-site putting the frame together. Rotary clubs exist to be a force of positive influence and hands-on community involvement. They are thrilled that this project enabled us to work together, strengthening the connection between our clubs for the benefit of the Christchurch community. When offered the opportunity to collaborate in the construction of the butterfly house and pizza oven, both the Christchurch Sunrise and Hornby Rotary club quickly saw an exciting opportunity to make a positive difference in the redevelopment of the city.
We are also very grateful to Zealandia Horticultural for all the beautiful flowers that brighten up space. Yates NZ for supplying all the seeds for the butterfly house, so we can cultivate a surplus of plants throughout the summer.
If you would like to donate a few hours over the summer to water and care for the butterfly house, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Whilst we are growing from seed and nurturing our small plants, we desperately need more swan plants to be donated to get us through the coming weeks. If you can just leave them outside the butterfly house, that would be greatly appreciated.
To find out more about Otakaro Ltd and their amazing plans for redeveloping the central and crown-led Anchor Projects and Precincts in Christchurch. Visit their website below!