Estuary Art Centre, Orewa, Auckland

05 to 22  September 2019

The Overwintering Project

The Overwintering Project is an international  collaboration. The printmaking communities of Australia and New Zealand have banded together to bring visibility to our most endangered group of birds, our migratory shorebirds, and their habitats. The aim is to raise awareness of migratory shorebirds – their existence and their needs - to encourage us to do our part to preserve these extraordinary creatures.

Every year these birds migrate from the shores of Australia and New Zealand to their breeding grounds above the arctic circle in Siberia and Alaska. The remarkable annual circuit that they fly is called the East Asian-Australasian Flyway and it passes through 23 countries. This project is endorsed by BirdLife Australia and by the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership.


Anyone can join the Overwintering Project. 

Visit the project website:



Everything is inter-connected. The Bar-tailed godwits inhabit ecosystems in NZ, China and Alaska. Each link in this chain is vital for their survival; any changes within and between these ecosystems will upset the fragile balance. Migratory birds don’t recognise national boundaries. Safeguarding these habitats against pollution, sediment run-off, and ongoing development, requires an international, coordinated effort.

Pic left and detail right: PURE (a delicate balance), 2019

Installation by Ursula Christel and William Marks

Birdcage stand, 5L plastic water bottle, Mahurangi River water and contents, monoprint label, 'scrimshaw' etching, cable ties, cork, rock

Collaborative installations by 

Ursula Christel & Sue Hill

K Air: Arrivals and Departures, 2019   


"Auckland Airport: More than 420 flights land and take off every day, and the demand is rising. Visitor numbers are expected to double to more than 40 million by 2044. A suite of transport and roading projects are underway to allow the growth of the airport, which includes a second runway. On a flight between Sydney and Beijing, a jumbo jet burns over 100,000 litres of fuel. The skies are dense with flight paths of aircraft carrying passengers and products, and the roads are crammed with traffic - all market driven by a demanding consumerist culture – Buy, Buy, Buy!!! Population growth, development, excessive consumerism and the pollution that comes with it, are the major causes of diminishing natural habitats."


"K Air: The numbers are dropping drastically at ‘K Air’s Arrivals and Departures’. The Kuaka (Bar-tailed Godwit) flies non-stop from Alaska to New Zealand - then back again, via China/Korea. To fuel their journey, these instinctive aviators need to have almost doubled their body weight with vital reserves of fat and muscle at departure time in NZ. They fly 11,000-kilometre for nine straight days, remaining airborne day and night. Their magnetic sense detects variations in the earth’s magnetic field for accurate navigation. Changing our consumerist habits and actively preserving the stop-over habitats for migratory birds, is the least we can do for them." - Ursula Christel & Sue Hill

KUAKA CAFE (sorry, we’re closed), 2019


"The grave reality facing the Kuaka/Bar-tailed godwits is that they

might fly for 9 days non-stop from Alaska, finally arriving on our

NZ shores only to discover that their essential food supply has

been irrevocably depleted due to pollution, development and

sediment run-off.  If KUAKA CAFÉ runs 'out of stock’, the birds

won’t be able to refuel their bodies for the return flight. We need to

safeguard these habitats to provide a rich supply of food and

clean water for our migratory shorebirds." - Ursula Christel & Sue Hill