Earlier in 2023, the Public Art Heritage Aotearoa New Zealand website was launched, which documents public artworks installed across the country in the 20th century, many of which are at risk of being lost or damaged. While many of these artworks such as murals are under copyright protection in New Zealand, publicly displayed sculptures, buildings or "works of artistic craftsmanship" lie outside of our country's Copyright Act (i.e. images of these works can be added to Commons without major issues).
This leads to a fun opportunity: by using the website entries, Wikidata items with coordinates can be created for every 20th century sculpture across the Auckland Region. After matching these to images already uploaded to Wiki Commons and Flickr, we can generate a photo trail, showing where all the sculptures without photos are!
Over the last few months, more sculptures in the Auckland Region have been added to Wikidata, thanks to other databases such as Auckland Public Art and NZ Outdoor Art. Many of these artworks only have minimal footprints on the Internet, especially many which are in difficult to access locations, artworks which may not be immediately recognised as sculptures, or some that do not even have labelled plaques (such as John Lyall's Lace Pavilion (2002): nobody visiting Te Atatū would easily be able to identify the artist or work name if they walked past). There are now over 200 New Zealand sculptors with Wikidata items, with many more yet to come. The project has allowed many anonymous artworks in Wiki Commons to be properly labelled, and for these artworks to be added to the Wikipedia pages of the artists who constructed them.
See what the local freedom of panorama laws are like for your area! There may be wonderful public artworks hiding where you least expect them.
Our Wikimedia Laureate
One unexpected and charming surprise from Wikimania was seeing the face of Siobhan Leachman (User:Ambrosia10) appear on the big screen during the Wikimedian of the Year awards. To recognise her years of hard work, evangelising, speaking, and writing on the Wikimedia Movement, she was awarded Wikimedia Laureate – the first New Zealander to ever be honoured with any international Wikimedia award. Siobhan has been a beloved and respected member of the Wikimedia community in Aotearoa for years (well known for her quest to add every New Zealand moth to Wikipedia), and co-organises a successful monthly meetup in her home town of Wellington, but she has a significant international profile from her work with biodiversity and conservation data and recognising the unheralded contributions of women in biology. You can hear Siobhan's enthusiasm in this Radio New Zealand interview following the award.