“Pimp da helmet,” was the idea of artist Tabatha Forbes working in association with Cook-Islands-Helmets-Saves-Lives, an active group that gathered under the Facebook community page of the same name, and Brent Fisher from the Cook Islands Road Safety Council.
The project has the support of generous local businesses who have donated prizes, and judges will include Inia Taylor of Moko Ink, New Zealand, and local artist Ani O’Neil.
The competition is open in three categories -13-14 years, 15-16 years and 17-plus, with the intention of reaching secondary school age kids who might be motorbike passengers or young riders.
They are given an A3 template with a simple drawing of one side of an open-faced scooter helmet for them to draw their design on to. Entry forms can be picked up and dropped in to Tereora, Nukutere, Akatemia Immanuela and Titikaveka school offices, RIDE Rarotonga & Fishers Jewellery in Avarua. All entries must be in by 4pm on Monday, October 19.
“If you read the paper and debates on social media you’ll see that the issue of helmet wearing is complicated and many in the community here in Rarotonga are divided on whether or not it should be compulsory,” says Forbes.
“The motivation for me was thinking about the kids themselves given that laws and habits are hard to change. I started thinking about ways to shift the perception of wearing a helmet – to encourage kids to want to own one and wear it – to keep themselves safe and inspire their mates to do the same.
“A few years ago when the law nearly changed, some tattoo artists had already started making their helmets look awesome. Using sharpie pens or permanent markers on helmets has been done all over the world by people wanting to customise their ‘lids’. So why not here?”
“This project has been offered to the schools, but is clearly a project outside of school, with the support of many significant local businesses.
“One school has asked every one of their students to give it a go and some of the other art/design teachers are encouraging their students to do the same. The response has been super-positive.”
LBV in Avarua have offered their café as venue for the prize and exhibition ceremony.
“This will be a non-alcoholic DJ and lightshow event and we’re hoping to cover the walls in entries,” says Forbes.
“We’re also running a helmet-selfie competition alongside the design competition, with 10 of the best selfies winning prizes. Look for the SaveYourSelfie Competition and send pics to: #SaveYourSelfie2015 on Instagram.
“We want this to go viral and for Rarotonga to lead the way!”
Forbes says the group, together with the Cook Islands Road safety council has other projects planned including a memorial motorbike ride for the recent young deaths on the island.
Check out the Face Book page: Cook Islands Helmets Save Lives #helmetsavelives http://on.fb.me/1LKaw9c