Hello March

It always surprises me how quickly March creeps up on you. It's beach days and Summer hols in January, the flurry of back to school, work and routine in Feb, and then suddenly we’re in to the first week of March. It's a month to get moving.. 
Anita Kolni is someone who is doing just that. Energetic and engaging, warm and driven, this mother of four is the founder and organizer of Bondi's annual Ocean Lover’s Festival - six days of film, live music, workshops, yoga and artistic events that promote clean oceans and local coastal life.  She is an extraordinary woman, with vision, a mission, and a big heart. I met with Anita for a walk and talk along Bondi Beach a few mornings ago to find out a little more.. 
SS: Tell me about yourself and your journey so far ..
Anita: I am the first Australian in the family, although I spent my early childhood in Europe before returning to start school at Vaucluse Public. My mum had a dance studio in Double Bay so the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney has been home in my heart for many years. We moved to Israel for a couple of years when I was 10, and then when we returned to Sydney I attended Moriah College. I moved again - this time to France - where I finished high school. I was a keen windsurfer when we came back from Israel (following in my father’s competitive footsteps - he won the Rothwell Cup in Perth at the Windsurfing Worlds in 1984 and some of the biggest pre-Olympic regattas in the world). I was also a competitive gymnast and a dancer in my early teens. After school, I began a career in PR and Promotions, traveling between Europe, the United States and Australia, working with the Grand Prix and the ATP Tennis Tournament in Monte Carlo. I then settled back in Bondi and became a personal trainer after the birth of my eldest daughter, Noa. I have 4 children, three currently at Bondi Beach Public School.  I am an eco warrior now, with a goal to protect our oceans for my children and theirs  .. :)
 
SS: . The Ocean Lovers Festival has really taken off. What is it all about and what are you hoping to achieve?
Anita: It’s an annual celebration of Ideas, Art, Music, and Action, showcasing some of the latest innovations, science and state of the art technology for helping the oceans. Held at Sydney's iconic Bondi Beach, it's is a place to ‘Sea Change’ - through music, art, films, food, talks and eco stalls, we want to highlight ocean protection and celebrate our love of the sea. 
There is so much despair about what’s happening with our environment and our oceans, and I founded the festival with the idea of inspiring people to become involved. There are so many ways we can help our oceans not only thrive but survive, and the more people fall in love with our oceans, the more we’ll be inclined to protect them.
SS: What are the highlights of this year's festival?
Anita: We’re really excited about our art and music line up on our Sunshine Solar Powered Stage - we’ll have The Erthlings, Declan Kelly, Chasing Giants, World Champions and Jane Walker. And our Out of Sight, Out Of Mind exhibition at the Pavilion Gallery, a VR and photographic exhibition created by our not-for-profit festival partner Underwater Earth and made possible thanks to Rebel Penfold Russell and the Vine Foundation. And we’re over the moon to be bringing you fine art photographer Matt Draper’s first Australian exhibition Art Science together with Justin Miller, one of Australia’s most trusted art advisers. 
Kids get to exhibit this year too in our Litterarty Waste Art competition with a generous $5K prize pool from our partners at TOMRA and we have a few hundred school children heading down for an excursion on Friday to see all these installations.   We are at capacity with around 30 amazing ocean loving business coming to showcase their eco credentials at the festival hub in the Bondi Pavilion Courtyard including yours of course Sarah :). We have an Indigenous coastal care walk and talk with Kadoo Tours on the Saturday  and we are bringing world class speakers and scientists like Dr Ari Friedlaender who will be coming direct from a whale expedition in Antarctica and Dr Tony Haymet Director, Oceans, at the Minderoo Foundation coming straight from Perth. We also have  two days of awesome workshops and panel talks at our Ocean lab with activities for all ages delivered by Fizzics Education with the support of Inspiring Australia. Together with the wonderful team at SIMS and the support of the Icebergs pool we're thrilled to be bringing you the Live Ocean Revival Experience brought to us again by our presenting partner Volvo. Waverley Council are staging a free Climate Change forum and screening of the film 2040 and we're excited to welcome back one of our most renowned Ocean Lovers – Tim Silverwood who will be telling us about his new venture Ocean Impact Organisation and will also MC our Fish Tank ideas for the ocean segment. Our theme this year is Science in your swimmers – Literally inviting you to dive into our Icebergs pool installation or head straight from the beach into the Festival Hub at Bondi Pavilion to join workshops, discover cool new products at our eco stalls and listen to talks and music on our Sunshine Stage. 
There are also plenty of activities to make you feel like an Ocean Lover - Sunrise Blue Yoga for the Sea with the team from Body Mind Life, underwater drone tours with the Australian National Maritime Museum, and a rock pool tour with local marine scientist Will Jones. Our Big Bondi Beach Clean, led by Ocean Lovers Ambassador and ironwoman Lizzie Welborn, is a collective effort and you can register now online. TOMRA will run an Education Station and we received a Community Environment Program grant thanks to local member for Wentworth Dave Sharma. 
SS: What’s on your bucket list? 
Anita: To swim with humpback whales and whale sharks. 
SS: I’m pretty sure you don’t have much down time, but what do you like to do to relax? 
Anita: Spend time with my family, go to the beach, Yoga :)
SS: What’s your favourite thing to do with friends? 
Anita: Go out for dinner with a great bottle of wine.
SS: Your favourite place to swim?
Anita:  Bondi Beach at sunrise is just mind blowing and reminds me how lucky I am to live where I do. And one of my absolute favourite beaches in the world is Camp Cove in Watson’s Bay, where my parents bought their first home in Australia. 
SS: What are you planning for your next holiday? 
Anita: My kids are desperate for us to go away on another camping trip but I would love to go to the Great Barrier Reef as I have been around the world, but not there yet!! Hopefully we can do both but I’m sure we will do the camping trip first.
SS: Describe your style .. 
Anita: beachy and easy going
You can catch up with the Sarah Silverton team at the Ocean Lovers Festival on Saturday March 21 and Sunday March 22. We’ll be in the courtyard showcasing our ocean-inspired sarongs, scarves, gifts and homewares. Pop by and say hi; we’d love to see you. In the meantime, we'll be at Mosman Markets tomorrow, Saturday March 7. If you haven't been, it's worth taking a look at the wonderful stalls - a really thoughtfully curated selection of beautiful pieces and delicious food. Mosman Square and Village Green, 8am-4pm. 
Have a wonderful weekend. Warmly,
Sarah 

1 comment

James Borton

Hi Sarah, I enjoyed this interview with Anita. Reserve me a place at the 2021Ocean Lovers Festival. I am a National Fellow (Explorers Club,) ocean stewards and sailor focused on the South China Sea. Stay your course. James Borton email asiareview@yahoo.com

Leave a comment