1492551592636 - Poppy peace project set to spend its final Anzac Day on Auckland’s North Shore
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Poppy peace project set to spend its final Anzac Day on Auckland’s North Shore

A community art project that sews awareness of peace is spending its final year at a North Shore community centre.

The Peace Poppy Project involves people sewing poppies as a way of stimulating thoughts about peace and remembering those who fight in wars.

It includes a photographic exhibition documenting nearly 30,000 poppy-makers from the six years the exhibition has been travelling around Auckland community centres.

Images show them sharing their creations all over the globe, as far afield as New Zealand graves in European cemeteries.

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Founder Cristina Beth began the project as a one-off surprise collection of poppies atop a west Auckland roundabout.

The joy that her hand-sewed poppies received inspired Beth to continue the project into its now sixth and final year.

The project is based on respect and remembrance of people lost to war, not just historical wars, but those wars that are still being fought today, she said.

“The trauma of war still exists in living memory, because it is still continuing. We haven’t learned yet.

“The power of the individual, when combined as a community collective, becomes visually apparent when all the poppies are collected and displayed together.”

Photographer Katharina Kercher began working on the project a short time after it had started, with the idea of documenting the community installation each year.

As a German native living in New Zealand, she said the project took her on a more personal journey as a child of parents who grew up in wartime.

A lot about making peace is invisible because it’s thinking, reflecting or just standing there, Kercher said.

“For me, this way a great, immediate way to give expression to something that is very complicated.”

The official exhibition opening will take place on Anzac Day, April 25, from 2pm. The show is open from today to May 14. Visit peacepoppies.com.