Colourful whale tail art installations will soon be dotted throughout Auckland and in many schools across the region, thanks to a special event partnership between WWF-New Zealand, Wild in Art and Harcourts New Zealand.

Whale Tales will hit Auckland in January next year, offering Aucklanders and visitors the chance to participate in a 12-week free public art trail celebrating Aotearoa, art and marine conservation – the largest event of its kind ever held in New Zealand.

It’s expected that more than 280,000 visitors will throng to the trail, which will feature 80 1.8m whale tail sculptures designed by well-known and emerging Kiwi artists/studios such as Otis Frizzell and Weta Workshop dotted throughout streets, parks and open spaces.

There will also be 80 smaller tails, decorated by students across the region, and the ability for people outside of New Zealand to participate virtually in a learning programme.

Harcourts NZ Managing Director Bryan Thomson says his company has jumped at the chance to be the presenting partner bringing the event – which includes a stacked calendar of events – to the people of Auckland just in time for summer.

“It’s been a difficult year of pandemic for many, so we are keen to enable a free event that will lift up spirits for a majority of Aucklanders and visitors to the region this summer,” Mr Thomson says. “Many of our Harcourts business owners across Auckland have donated a small whale tail to local community groups or schools to decorate and display in public places, so the rest of the city can be impacted and enjoy the event as well.

“After the art trail is finished, we will be using our award-winning auction team to auction off the large tails to raise funds for WWF-New Zealand, particularly for their critical work in protecting and restoring our Hauraki Gulf treasure.

“It’s wonderful to be part of a community initiative that engages everyone in caring about our ocean environment together and particularly highlights the plight of the endangered Bryde’s Whale that lives in the Gulf.”

By partnering with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Harcourts is supporting its mission to actively restore and enhance Aotearoa New Zealand’s natural world from sea to sky, WWF says, “in order to build a future where all people live, and thrive, in harmony with nature.”

In the past 13 years, Wild in Art has animated cities around the world, such as Manchester, Sydney, Melbourne, Cape Town, London, Glasgow and Sao Paulo. Harcourts also presented the organisation’s highly successful Pop Up Penguins art installation in Christchurch over the 2020/21 summer, which raised money for the Cholmondeley Christchurch Children’s Home. It is anticipated that Auckland will see a $14 million economic return from Whale Tales.

Whale Tales 2022 Art Trail