After seven months of crocheting together more than 400 plastic bags, you could forgive 13-year-old Hunter Ririnui for never wanting to see another plastic bag again.
A passion for design and the environment saw the then Tauranga Intermediate student take out the ‘Most Sustainable Award' at last year's Sustainable Art Challenge, with her plastic bag wedding gown.
The 2018 Sustainable Art Challenge, which promotes awareness of environmental issues through art, is underway with entries closing on June 1 and the awards ceremony to be held at Baycourt on Sunday, June 17.
Hunter, now a Year 9 student at Tauranga Girls' College, says the wedding gown idea came from her mum.
“I tossed a few design ideas around,” she says, “but it was mum who recommended the wedding dress because it would be more elegant and I would be able to really go over the top with it.”
The hard work also came with an environmental message.
“There are millions of landfills out there filled with non-recyclable things that take hundreds of thousands of years to break down. It's a huge deal and I wanted to express that through my design.”
For the 2018 challenge, Hunter is working on a creation made from plastic milk bottles and recommends the event to other young people.
“The challenge allows me to express that creative side of myself, both with the design and getting up on stage,” she says. “I just love it.”
Entries for the Sustainable Art Challenge are open to intermediate and secondary students as well as adults within the Western Bay of Plenty.
The categories for this year's challenge will be Trash to Fash – Wearable Art or Fashion – and Short Movies. Entries will be judged on a combination of sustainability, innovation, creativity, wearability, stage impact and functionality.
In the Trash to Fash category entrants are encouraged to create a masterpiece by upcycling fabric scraps and old garments, or make something stunning out of ‘waste' from around home or work.
Movie makers are encouraged to create short films of up to two minutes in length to encourage viewers to be involved in sustainable activities.
For more information about the Sustainable Art Challenge, visit: envirohub.org.nz/sustainable-art-challenge