Wonders of the sea will shine

Dunedin Midwinter Carnival lantern director Phillipa Crofskey makes adjustments to a huge...
Dunedin Midwinter Carnival lantern director Phillipa Crofskey makes adjustments to a huge albatross lantern that is a new addition to the carnival this year. Photo: Simon Henderson
Enchanting aquatic creatures have been coming to life in the workshop of the Dunedin Midwinter Carnival as the popular event returns to First Church tomorrow and Saturday from 6pm to 9pm.

This year’s theme "Creatures of the Deep" enabled lantern director Phillipa Crofskey to construct some intriguing sea-swept creations.

These include an entrance to the carnival that is crafted to look like a shark’s mouth, and a vast albatross with a wingspan of about 4.8m that will soar above the throng.

Mrs Crofskey and her team have also been restoring some previous crowd-pleasers for this year’s event.

These include shrimp, anglerfish, seals, frogs, lilies, koi fish and taniwha.

Another restoration is an iceberg dotted with Antarctic penguins, which took about 160 hours to fix and refresh.

Mrs Crofskey said the restoration of lanterns often took twice as long as when they were first made.

This is because the lanterns were originally designed using paper and masking tape.

"What happens with the masking tape is it deteriorates."

The process of restoration included taking off the original paper and masking tape and reinforcing the shape of the lantern with new tape and sometimes cable ties.

Then, a new covering of a type of material used in raincoats, which is more durable and splash-proof, is glued to the frame.

This material was also better able to withstand wind, which previously could cause paper lanterns to shred, she said.

As well as the remarkable lanterns that the carnival is known for, the event will include aerial performers, stilt walkers, and large-scale projections.

Publicist Jess Covell said the event will open with Doug Ditfort delivering a mihi whakatau, followed by a turou (Cook Islands welcome) by the First Church Pasifika Choir.

Projections this year have been created by Wellington artists Dan Aston and Tor Halle-McIntyre, which also incorporate images by Dunedin children’s illustrator and writer David Elliot.

Another unique feature on display this year will be a fish backdrop used by seminal Dunedin band The Chills during their 2015 Silver Bullets tour.

Local artist Bruce Mahalski will be painting two animal murals during the event.

RASA School of Dance are set to perform, nine-piece band Soul Deep will bring the tunes, and drama group SBZ Productions will perform a pirate

In the trees above, artists from Brophy Aerials, dressed as scuba divers and mermaids, will amaze with high-up acrobatics.

Miss Covell said all were encouraged to come dressed to complement the "Creatures of the Deep" theme, which could encompass anything from jellyfish to mermaids, whales, water fairies, captains or pirates.

Gardens New World has donated a "ship tonne" of chocolate fish to give away to people who have dressed up for the night, she

Prizes have also been donated by the Royal Albatross Centre, Tūhura Otago Museum and Orokonui Ecosanctuary.