Esther Bunning (NZ) - 2020/2021 ANZAC Bridge Fellow

Esther Bunning (NZ) - 2020/2021 ANZAC Bridge Fellow

Photographic artist Esther Bunning was awarded the 2020/2021 ANZAC Bridge Fellowship, which was supported by Trust House and coordinated by Friends of ANZAC Bridge and NZ Pacific Studio. 

The community arts project focuses on the ANZAC Memorial Bridge at Kaiparoro and has been running annually since 2006. 

The 2020 ANZAC Day theme was the Eketāhuna Mounted Rifles and the horses that went to war. Due to the pandemic, events were cancelled, but Esther generously created at-home activities to mark the day. For Armistice Day in November 2020, she photographed the ANZAC Troopers and their horses riding in formation from Eketāhuna to the ANZAC Memorial Bridge at Kaiparoro, in memory of the Eketāhuna Mounted Rifles. The Troop comprised Les Chavaliers from Eketāhuna and Amuri Mounted Rifles Troop from the ANZAC Mounts Charitable Trust, Equine Rehab Unit, North Canterbury. 

For ANZAC Day, Esther created 10 flags of almost 2 metres long. The imagery for the large fabric banners was to reflect the movement and energy of the horses and to acknowledge the Bridge built in 1922. The flags also feature art and poetry from the Mauriceville School community, and the students joined Esther for a special parade on the day. 

Esther's ANZAC Bridge Flags also flew across many towns of Wairarapa:

  • in Eketāhuna, thanks to Eketāhuna Mellemskov Museum
  • in Masterton, thanks to Masterton District Council
  • in Carterton, thanks to Carterton District Council
  • in Greytown, thanks to Greytown Community Board
  • in Featherston, thanks to Property Brokers Featherston
  • in Martinborough, thanks to Martinborough Community Board
  • at Aratoi Wairarapa Museum of Art and History, thanks to the regional museum
  • at Pūkaha, thanks to the Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre.

NZ Pacific Studio acknowledges the amazing work of Esther Bunning in creating such powerful yet peaceful imagery, and in pulling all of the components of this project together over a span of about 18 months.

We acknowledge the support of Trust House Masterton for their continued support (since 2014) of this initiative which we share with Friends of ANZAC Bridge.

We also thank Denyse Clifton and her horse Sahara, Eketāhuna Mounted Rifles, Eketāhuna Mellemskov Museum, Les Chevaliers, Bridget Wellwood, and the participating towns with their various funding bodies and banner-installing teams.

RNZ interview with Esther here.

About Esther Bunning  Esther has been working as a photographer for over 25 years. She uses a camera as a paintbrush, combining the magic of movement, abstraction, and light to tell emotive visual stories with heart. Regarded as one of New Zealand’s finest creative portrait photographers, she serves as a Nikon Ambassador for New Zealand, an Asukabook Ambassador for Australasia, and an Honorary Fellow of the NZ Institute of Professional Photography (NZIPP).  The 2020 Professional Photographer of the Year, she is a double Grand Master of the NZIPP - one of only three in New Zealand.

Esther has a deep love of horses, a background in textile design, and has collaborated with children on many creative projects over the years -- a perfect combination of artistry for the 2020/2021 ANZAC Bridge Fellowship project. 

For more about Esther Bunning, visit her website:

Photo credit: Terry Wreford Hann.

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