Why Vodafone wants you to give a hoot about our fine feathered friend Play
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Why Vodafone wants you to give a hoot about our fine feathered friend

For Vodafone Enterprise Director Ken Tunnicliffe supporting an innovative fundraising event for Child Cancer Foundation was an easy decision.

“As soon as we heard that the Foundation was creating the Haier Big Hoot 2018, we knew we wanted to get behind this amazing initiative, and we are proud to be the event’s Technology Partner,” Ken said.

47 giant owls measuring a massive 1.65 metres, will be dotted around Auckland’s streets, parks and open spaces from this weekend.

Each has been designed by Kiwi and International artists, providing great free family entertainment for owl hunters. They can track them all down with the help of an interactive trail map downloaded from the App store or Google Play.

Then at the end of May, the bespoke works of art will be auctioned off to raise funds for Child Cancer Foundation, which provides practical, emotional and financial support to Kiwi kids with cancer and their families.

The incredible artist behind Vodafone’s owl, Ruru Kakotea, is award winning children’s book illustrator and veteran designer, Fifi Colston, who was surprisingly undaunted by the sheer scale of her endeavour.

“Ruru Kakotea popped into my head fully fledged. In 2016 I did a piece of wearable art which was made using a pounamu effect, and I really enjoyed that. Then I started thinking, what if the owl was made to look like pounamu, as if it was a massively oversized trinket, like one you might hang around your neck, or wrist, or even hanging off your handbag or phone.

“I came to New Zealand when I was 8 years old, and at that time we were all given a plastic tiki, when you got off a plane or boat it was just what they did. I loved it, I kept it, and wore it to everyone’s disdain – I mean I didn’t realise that it was plastic and as a child I didn’t think about the ways it could be offensive.

“So in my mind I was trying to make something that rather than an oversized souvenir, is more of a large precious object, so that it has that high gloss, and the glitter gives it a touch of kitsch. At the same time I wanted to keep it quite simple, elegant and striking as well as fun,” Fifi said.

When her blank owl canvas arrived, Ruru proved to be quite a handful.

“When he arrived I went oh that is big, and I’m really short, so it was much taller than me. Funnily enough the space I found to work on him was in a Wellington building’s basement, so it was just me and the owl camped out there for several weeks.

“I did get a connection with the owl, I ended up calling him he, he had a gender for me, and he really did emerge from design to reality, exactly as I had envisioned him,” Fifi added.

She hopes that on the Big Hoot 2018 trail families will find him thought-provoking.

“I hope that they go, oh what’s that made out of, and that they puzzle about the finish and how it’s been done, I hope it captures their eye, and that their first reaction is to go that’s a beautiful thing, and that it’s a treasure, like a genuine pounamu taonga.

“Eventually I hope that he finds a home and that someone loves him enough to bid heaps at the auction because that money will go to supporting Child Cancer Foundation. I’ll be thrilled if that happens, and of course fascinated by where his forever home turns out to be.

“While I haven’t had direct experience of being supported by the Foundation, the work that they do is incredible in helping families through such a tough time,” Fifi said.

Enterprise Director Ken Tunnicliffe would like to see as many people as possible head out on the Haier Big Hoot Trail.

“Ruru Kakotea is on Vulcan Lane near our Vodafone Queen Street store, so if you’re in the city make sure you check him out, with the first trailblazers set to receive a surprise in-store.

“It’s important that we all lend our support to Child Cancer Foundation, which has played an integral role in the lives of thousands of Kiwi families over the past forty years, providing essential support to the whole family when a child is diagnosed with cancer,” Ken said.

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