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Whale Tales art trail features Onehunga talent 2 min read

Feb 4, 2022 2 min

Whale Tales art trail features Onehunga talent 2 min read

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Two Onehunga-based artists are among the talented group of creators of the beautifully designed whale tails which can be seen around Auckland over the next few weeks, as part of WWF-New Zealand’s Whale Tales public art trail.  

Isaac Trebilco, who has lived in Onehunga for 15 years, has created a whale tail specifically for the people of Onehunga after winning a design competition through the Onehunga Business Association (OBA), who are sponsoring the tail. The design, Our Hands, features colours to reflect the environment and handprints that reflect the diverse range of people in the community, including students, artists, musicians, and other Onehunga locals. “I wanted to create something representing Onehunga as it is now, and all the diverse people and cultures,” he says. 

The tail is on the corner of Onehunga Mall and Church St and the OBA are making the most of having the unique piece of public art on show, with accompanying events. “We will be hosting whale promotions and competitions over the 12 week period the tail is beached in Onehunga. Every time someone enters the code for the Onehunga tail, you’ll unlock the current promotion,” says Amanda Wellgreen, town manager.  

Local resident, Sherrill Bentley’s tail, Adorning our Taonga, is sponsored by Kelly Tarlton’s and can be found on Tāmaki Drive. Sherrill was inspired by the opportunity to draw attention to whales and the need to protect our marine environment, through art. The mandala design has vibrant blue paint and shiny stones popping against the white of the tail. “I love mandalas, and how they’re used for calming the mind and meditation, and have created one using gemstones as a way to embellish and adorn the tail, to honour the whales as taonga,” she says. 

The whale trail features 80 large tail sculptures customised by artists, and 80 mini tail sculptures created by schools will be added to the trail in March. When the trail ends, the mini tails will be returned to schools, and the large tails will be auctioned to raise funds for WWF-New Zealand’s vital work to protect and restore the Hauraki Gulf and help protect species like the critically endangered Bryde’s Whale.

This event is presented by WWF-New Zealand and Wild in Art and supported by Auckland Unlimited. 

Find all the information, including the virtual trail, and the trail map on    

Isaac Trebilco with his Whale Tale, Our Hands