Chance Encounters: Art Dark Hope


Brett walked from the top of Cuba mall past the gushing cups down to the other end where a street poster artist was spray painting landscapes on cardboard.

While standing there, watching, smelling the fumes, a woman leaned towards him, nudging his left shoulder. Her long luxuriant red hair and voice brushed against his face. He felt a twinge.

Great, eh?’ She said.

He turned: ‘Yeah, that bloke makes a negative space look like shining wings. I see it but still can’t believe it. Definitely knows what he’s doing.’

She put her shades on top of her head. ‘Makes a positive out of a negative. An optical illusion. You wanna see a nocturne?’

She looked familiar, but he couldn’t quite place her. ‘Sort of a topical solution; flight in light. You mean listen to a Nocturne by Chopin?” he asked.

Ha Ha, Noooooooo.’ She smirked.

Oh, of course, Rembrandt? His Nocturne is here? At Te Papa?’ Brett wondered out loud.

You’re either joking or stupid.’ She laughed. ‘Sorry. Where have you been? Nocturne for US it usually means painting AT night. When critics aren’t around.’

Like gendarmes, for example.’ He said.

Right, Come on, I’ll show you one from last night, if it’s still there. Over on the waterfront.’

They dodged buses, taxis, bicycles and a drooling shaggy dog full of dreads. As they crossed the pedestrian bridge, he introduced himself: ‘I’m Brett.’’

I know. I’m Ani. We might see my baby sister on the waterfront.’ She didn’t explain how she knew Brett.

Puzzled, nevertheless he asked: ‘Who did the painting we’re going to see?

He signs MM for Mad Marauder. Only a few people know him. The graffiti police would like to speak to him, they don’t know about a new wall ‘til it’s posted online. There’s no location. You have to recognize the background.’ Ani said.

Reaching the waterfront, Ani scanned the area for her sister. ‘There she is!’ She began waving to someone in the distance, off to their right.

Brett noticed coming towards them a woman with curly red hair in a wheelchair. Wearing a beret. Finally Ani and the woman met and hugged each other.

Brett, this is my twin sister, Aroha. Aroha this is Brett.’

I know him.’ She told Ani,’ taking offer her glove. They shook hands, said ‘Hi.’

You look too old to be a baby sister. Brett said, enjoying her touch.

Yep, that’s me. I was born the day after Ani.’ Her bright green eyes shimmered.

I was born at 11:56 2 seconds pm, Thursday 9 October…” began Ani.

And I was born at 12:11. 19 seconds am Friday 10 October’ Aroha finished the sentence.

Brett told Ani: ‘We met in the library researching stem cells for our papers.’ Not aware of how Ani knew his name.

That’s right; you got a book for me from the top shelf. How did your paper turn out? Aroha asked. She liked his smile, and there’s a little dimple.

Good. Except the professor said the best part was the title.” He grinned.

What was the title?’ Ani asked.

Escape From the Stem Cell Mirage. About advertising. What was yours?’ turning to Aroha.

Mine was ‘Stem Cells: Will the Innocent Walk Again?’ They might be able to regenerate spinal cord cells . One successful trial’s is using AST-OPC1. And there’s regenerative medicine in Ohio trials. A nanochip can be programmed with instructions, Tissue Nanotransfection, to create new tissue.’ Aroha was quietly excited.

The three headed towards a row of small sheds where small businesses operate. At one end of the shops was a broad concrete wall. On it was painted as background, a hand with three middle fingers extended upward, spread open and the little finger touching the thumb. Inside the palm was an incus, a daisy, and an ice cream cone with melting strawberry ice cream running down the nose of a teddy bear.

It took 18 spray cans of paint. The hand is the deaf sign for Wellington.’ Ani said.

They started to analyse the intersecting images, when suddenly a scream and sliding swisshhhing noise landed at their feet. A man lay on his stomach, face down, arms askew, not moving.

Quick’ said Aroha, ‘take my blanket and put it over him. Under him too.’

But you’ll get cold!’ said Brett

Do it!’ She began pulling the rug off her lap.

He did.

Ani, already placing him carefully the recovery position, checking for consciousness, bleeding and other injuries. He was breathing, but unconscious. External injuries included abrasions on his face, arms and legs.

Grab my coat out of the bag behind the chair. Make a pillow for him.’

Brett pulled out the coat, folded it and placed it beneath the convulsing man’s head.

Aroha talking to 111, saying ‘Ambulance,’ giving directions.

A man who saw the accident said the twenty something male was riding a skateboard fast, whistling, when it hit a raised part of the concrete, throwing him off the board.

I found his messenger bag on the ground.’ he said. Reaching inside, looking for an emergency contact name, he also felt several pill bottles. He pulled out papers. Handed one sheet to Aroha, ‘Looks like his name is Stephen here’s a phone number. I’ll go and direct the ambulance.’

Thanks,’ she said.

The man went towards the street with the leather bag. He waved St John down and pointed in the direction of the skateboarder.

On arrival, Ani told the ambulance crew what happened and the man’s name. Aroha rang the number on the notebook paper. She said: ‘I talked to a lady named Pauline. Told her the ambulance is taking Stephen to hospital. ’

The trio wandered around the waterfront – Buskers: a man putting rubber bands on his face, a clown on a unicycle juggling lemons kiwifruit and a package of Cadburys Melts; a senior citizen dancing with a rubber boa to the tune of a blaring Bolero boombox; a sketch artist. At the café they had drinks and shared a lamington. They decided to visit the hospital and see if Stephen was going to be okay.

Aroha’s van was nearby. As they approached the van, Aroha pressed buttons on her remote. The rear door on the van opened. A chair lift came out of the van, lowered to the ground. She maneuvered onto the lift. Another button and the lift rose. Inside, she moved to the steering wheel. The rear door closed. Ani got in the front seat, Brett in the back – a single narrow seat.

At the hospital they met Pauline. She said, ‘Thank you very very much. Stephen will be all right in a week or so. His injuries were not too bad but he had other medical problems that were exacerbated by the accident. They didn’t have his medications. They were in his bag. Had to check his medical records.

Know what’s odd? Right after you rang, I had another call. Someone said a man crossing Lambton Quay was hit by a motorcycle. His shoulder bag was thrown against the windscreen of a passing car. The car stopped. Someone called 111. Someone else looked in the bag. There was my name and number. But I didn’t recognise their description of the injured man.’

Aroha went down the corridor to get a drink of water.

What happened to your sister?’ Asked Brett with quiet intensity, frowning.

Oh, it’s the usual story in a way. Girl in college, Napier, about to graduate, wags school, gets in car with boyfriend who’s been drinking. He drives into ditch, car flips, goes up the other side and hits a tree. He’s okay. She’s paralyzed. Aroha was still in a coma when we graduated. Eight years ago.’ Ani said.

That’s terrible. And the boyfriend?‘ Brett asked.

He went on his merry way. I think David joined the military so there was no trial.’

Brett thought of his cousin Dave who lived in Napier years ago. He graduated about the same time as Aroha and Ani. On some other occasion Brett may tell the sisters’ what happened to Dave. Where he is, where he will always be.

Lee Switzer: Lee is a regular contributor to ARTbop – photo essays, articles and poetry. Lee is multi-talented producing sought-after images of local artists and exhibitions. He has been an archival photographer around Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty for some years – the details of this body of work are below. You can find examples of Lee’s contributions in our archives

More photos by Lee Switzer


Get ready for two Auckland based tribute bands hitting Totara Street Saturday 30th September 2017

What: Funkadelic Monks & Lounge Apes

Where: Totara St

When: Saturday, September 30th

and check out the uPflash in ARTbop alternative!


FRIENDS EXHIBITION: (These friends are a group of five Katikati based artists!)

The exhibition will be held at Harry Maddox Jewellers, 18 Main Road, Katikati, where there is a modern gallery space.

It will be open Saturday 30th Sept – Saturday 7th Oct

Sat & Sun 9:00 – 4:00, Mon – Fri 9:00 – 4:30

One of the artists will be available for a chat Sat 30th, Sun 1st, Thurs 5th, Fri 6th, and Sat 7th, from 10:00 – 4:00. We look forward to seeing you there.


Coming up at the end of September – the NZ Mural Contest & Festival

Check out Birgitt’s article about what’s coming up in the NZ Mural Contest


2017 Rotorua Museum Art Awards Exhibition of Finalists Judges Selection of Works

Until: Friday, 6 October 2017
Venue: Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts CentreTime: 10am – 4pm

Price: Free entry

Highlighting the exceptional talent of artists throughout the Bay of Plenty, this exhibition will showcase winners and finalists from the 2017 Rotorua Museum Art Awards.

Kereama Taepa has won out over 148 other entries from across the Bay of Plenty to take out the $10,000 Rotorua Museum Supreme Art Award with his work Bicultural Dialogue I. Judge Emma Bugden said what set this work apart for her was its simplicity; superbly executed, smart and funny which drew her in and held her attention.

“While the sculpture tackles big subjects—the complexity of cultural identity and the changing nature of craft in a digital era—it does it with cheek and humour. The legacy of tradition is seen through a contemporary lens, simultaneously throwing light on the past and the future.”

The $1,000 Toi Ohomai Innovation in Art Award went to Jill Fleming for her work Ascension and Cheyenne Rose was named as Friends of Rotorua Museum Emerging Artist for her work Legs.

The Rotorua Museum Art Awards Exhibition of Finalists 2017 displays these three award winning works alongside 45 specially selected entries at Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre until 6 October 2017.

While the exhibition is on display people can vote for their favourite artwork either in the gallery or via the Rotorua Museum Facebook page. This year the More FM People’s Choice Award will offer $500 to the artist whose work receives the most public votes in the gallery and $500 for the work with the most online votes by the end of the exhibition (6 October 2017).

Entry to the exhibition at Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre is free and will be open daily between 10am – 4pm from 9 September until 6 October 2017.

For the first time this year Rotorua Museum will be displaying works that were not chosen for the finalist exhibition in a Salon des Refusés. This exhibition will be hosted at Rotorua Library (1238 Pukuatua Street, Rotorua) from 14 September until 7 October 2017 (during normal library opening hours).

All artworks from both exhibitions will be on sale to the public throughout the exhibition period.

For further information please contact Rotorua Museum, phone 07 350 1814 or email                 AND…



Bob Jahnke – ATA: a third reflection 

9 September 2017 – January 2018

Reflections upon past events, like reflections in a mirror, are inherently skewed to the perspective of the viewer. Ata, meaning form or reflection, explores the connections between light and reflection, history and retrospection.

Like light through a prism, Jahnke’s sculptures offer us alternative perspectives, expanding our linear view of history into a spectrum of thought and colour. Symbols within the works cite nineteenth and early twentieth century Māori spiritual leaders such as Te Kooti Arikirangi and Rua Kēnana, reflecting on the artistic and religio-political innovations of their era.

Professor Robert (Bob) Jahnke is of Ngāi Taharora, Te Whānau-a-Iritekura, Te Whānau a Rakairoa o Ngāti Porou, Samoan-German, Scottish and Irish descent. As a significant figure in contemporary Māori art, Jahnke has an extensive exhibition history and has works in major public and private collections throughout Aotearoa New Zealand and internationally. 

This exhibition has been developed and toured by Pātaka Art + Museum.

This exhibition at Tauranga Art Gallery has been generously supported by Kinetic Recruitment


Bridget Reweti, Irihanga

9 September 2017 – January 2018

Wellington-based artist Bridget Reweti (Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi Te Rangi), who is originally from Tauranga Moana, has created an installation highlighting the 150 years since the Tauranga Bush Campaign that resulted in the raupatu (confiscation) of Tauranga Moana. Drawing on Pai Marire iconography and native flora, Reweti’s work portrays the complex ecosystem of the Kaimai, the area where the scorched earth policy was most intensely enforced.

Irihanga, which means to suspend or to hang, references various devices that have been used throughout early colonial history in Aotearoa. Haki (flags) and heke (rafters in a meeting house) have at various times both been employed as a way to communicate unification, dissension or to signal change   

Friends of the Tauranga Art Gallery – Nga Mata Ratarata o Toi Tauranga are art enthusiasts committed to supporting the Gallery socially, financially and as art advocates.
By becoming a Friend you will play a vital role in the continuing support of the Gallery. You can be actively involved by participating in events organised specifically for our members or you can simply consider your fee a donation to the ongoing betterment of our Gallery and receive invitations and information.  

Friends receive:

  • invitations to Gallery Exhibition openings
  • invitations to Gallery functions such as presentations and performances
  • invitations to Art in the Afternoon which is held 10 times yearly on Wednesday at 2.45 pm. Art in the Afternoon is a platform for Friends to hear from local artists and others engaged in the arts community.  General public $5.  Friends: Gold coin donation
  • Regular newsletters and updates
  • Invitations to Friends only events such as:
  • Art at Home – private collection viewing
  • Art Away – guided tours to museums and galleries in other centres
  • Art at the Gallery – guided tours of exhibitions in the Gallery
  • Art in Studios – visiting local artist studios
  • In addition, you will receive:
  • 10% discount off general retail merchandise at the Gallery
  • $2 off any ticket purchased to any movie showing at Rialto Cinema in Tauranga (membership card required at time of purchase)

For more information please contact the Friends by email.         


Friends Annual Membership fees:

  • Individual $25
  • Family/Couple $40 
  • Student $15

Membership can be for yourself OR you can gift it to an art lover as a gift that keeps on giving — it lasts a whole year!

Phone +64 (0) 7 578 7933
Cnr Wharf – Willow Streets, Downtown Tauranga
Box 13255 Tauranga, 3110, New Zealand
Open 7 days – 10.00am – 4.30pm





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