Wellington wildlife inspires designer to support Forest & Bird
Forest & Bird supporter Tim Christie has found a way to protect the birds that visit his backyard by using his design skills. Here he tells Forest & Bird what has inspired him and why he has chosen to make his very special donation to support conservation.
Tell us about yourself, what keeps you busy?
I am a Wellington based designer, artist and entrepreneur. This includes brand consultation and design for a variety of clients, running my own online shops, exhibition work, and helping run and grow Storbie (the platform Forest and Bird is using for its online shop). I play plenty of sport throughout the week and in the weekends I’m often landscaping or gardening. This, along with my family commitments, makes for a pretty busy life. I’m basically a very restless sort of person.
What got you into designing T-shirts?
It was a random conceptual idea for celebrating Wellington that provided the initial inspiration. I figured that using the first four letters ‘WELL’ in combination with a whole bunch of unique statements about our city offered a nice way to share our stories in a cohesive collection of designs. A couple of years ago I had another creative inspiration for a completely new range of designs which I’ve called MONOMOKO. These are also available on garments. This year I exhibited at the New Zealand Art Show where my pieces sold out by the first morning and I’m about to be represented by a gallery chain across the UK.
Tell us about your design featuring native birds?
I live right on the edge of Zealandia so we are very fortunate to have hundreds of native birds around us all the time. Most nights we can hear a chorus of Kiwis and the odd Morepork. The kaka design stemmed from the concept of WELL Protected and how the predator-free bird sanctuary provides such a great haven for all these native species, many of which are now thriving and spreading throughout Wellington. I figured a whole bunch of native birds written into the shape of a single avian form, in this case, the kaka, would make an excellent design. It’s been one of my most popular T-shirts.
Why do you think it’s important to support Forest & Bird?
I grew up in Karori not far from where we live now and spent my childhood exploring the native bush around this area. Back then the birdlife was the odd blackbird, sparrow or fantail. Years later, I remember returning from my OE, looking out the window of my parents’ house and seeing a couple of kereru sitting in the cabbage tree. This was not long after the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary (initiated by Forest & Bird) had been established and I remember thinking wow, this is how it’s meant to be. Karori is now teeming with native birdlife. I’ve experienced first-hand what conservation efforts can actually do. The western suburbs of Wellington are richer for it.
It’s great to know that Forest & Bird are involved in other conservation projects that are having an impact across New Zealand and that the other work they do, whether it’s lobbying or focusing awareness on to certain issues, is helping to safeguard the future of our native fauna and flora.
The work of organisations like Forest & Bird is two-fold, but it’s very much entwined. It’s about protecting and nurturing nature for nature’s sake and it’s also about adding value (or preserving value) to our lives. We become acutely aware of the value of things when we experience extremes. In the case of nature, it can be an overwhelming deprivation or a good healthy dose that can raise levels of appreciation. My travels have taken me to some places that are very noisy and polluted and feel completely disconnected from the natural world. My home in Wellington is the opposite. For me these two references make the work Forest & Bird do feel very important.