That was last weekend: four exhibitions + more. Part II


The Tauranga Art Gallery: Toi Tauranga jostles with The Incubator Creative Hub at the Historic Village for the number one spot on my list of what I so love about Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty.

Years ago when I disclosed I was moving “south” the negative comments about “God’s waiting room”  and the closed nature of Tauranga society were repeatedly offered.  Some of the comments were right: I started ARTbop at a time when the papers were full of negative statements about funding “art galleries” and the then Director of Creative Tauranga ran a consistent gauntlet of funding queries.  But some of the other bits, lack of “culture” and general lack of welcome turned out to be far from true.   I’ve had many years now enjoying all the things supposedly lacking around the town.  And one of the most pleasing things is seeing how the Tauranga Art Gallery: Toi Tauranga has blossomed and taken its rightful place in the wider community.

I’ve had some wonderful experiences at gallery events.  Some funny like being mistaken for Fred Graham’s wife or  moving when invited to stand with the tangata whenua at an exhibition opening.  I’ve enjoyed food, conversation and company and met many of the talented gallery staff members, exhibitors and supporters of the gallery.  I’ve been delighted by the way the gallery has drawn in a widening demographic of our community particularly the bus loads of children.   A far cry, a world away from, the nervous gallery attendant in that old Auckland who walked behind me as I carried my toddler daughter round her first visit to the Auckland Art Gallery – “you won’t let her touch anything, you won’t let her touch anything, you won’t let her touch anything…” 

But most of all I love the way the Gallery itself has seemed to relax as it’s grown up and become accepted as an important and integral part of the town.    There’s only been one exhibition I have deliberately avoided – I thought it would be too confronting for me.  No I haven’t like all the stuff I’ve seen, that’s not the point.  How would I ever know what I like if I don’t look at stuff I don’t like.  A gallery is not a museum so I’ve seen art work and creativity using materials and methods and styles that weren’t part of my established art thought knowledge bank. One of the aims of ARTbop was and is to write about what we saw in language that was more accessible than the often academic exhibition and catalogue statement speak. 

I was in the Gallery last Sunday afternoon I think I went to see Mr G well-known “street artist”.  Ironically it’s Graeme Hoete’s major iwi political statement on Mauao that I last saw as part of my te reo Maori course visit. Iwi of Tauranga Moana stand opposing Hauraki whom they classify as contemporary interlopers.

Mr G’s work indoors is Mr G’s work outdoors brought indoors.  It’s like having garden furniture in the sitting room because the work maintains the scale and size of its original theatre. 

Graham Hoete and his honunga to HOME

This insightful, beautifully imaged article appeared in UNO magazine a privately owned Bay of Plenty focused paperbased periodical.   UNO is a regular supporter of the Tauranga Art Gallery.  UNO describes itself as “for the upper socio-economic group” but don’t let that deter you if you see it in a cafe or can access it in your local library.  Like the article on Mr G above you’ll find some well written content which presents the flavours of our Bay of Plenty. 

There is a short film of Mr G and his Motiti Island home loop showing in conjunction with this exhibition.  Take the time to watch it.  The content below is from the Tauranga Art Gallery website:

Mr G is coming home for his solo exhibition at the Tauranga Art Gallery this summer.

In partnership with Tauranga City Council, this exhibition celebrates local artist, Mr G (Graham Hoete) who is recognised internationally for his highly rendered large-scale, spray-painted portraits. Mr G’s exhibition explores the theme of haukāinga (home), including his family connection to Matakana and Motiti Islands. While he could live anywhere in the world, Mr G resides in Papamoa. His deep affection for his whanau and whenua has him rooted to Tauranga Moana; the perfect place and theme for his first solo exhibition, with the key themes of whakapapa and hononga.

Mr G on Matakana island

One of the special elements expressing hononga – which means union, connection, relationship or bond – and whakapapa, is the inclusion of the actual corrugated iron shed where Hoete’s grandfather used to work, which still stands on their homestead land at Matakana Island. As a dedication to his grandparents, he painted their portraits directly onto it, emphasizing their bond, strengthening a connection to them, their home and land. Linking to the central theme of the exhibition, it was important for him to return to the island to deconstruct the painted shed wall and reassemble it in the gallery space, bringing an authentic piece of Matakana into the gallery. The essential intimacy and connection brought together with Graham’s parents in this space connects and unifies the whanau.

Mr G in his studio

Over the past year, Mr G has also been learning the art of whakairo (Māori carving) from master carver Todd Couper. Mr G will feature this new skill throughout the exhibition, along with his more traditional photorealist ‘G’ series portraits, with art-directed video content and a surprise piece that will be unveiled at the exhibition opening. In learning whakairo, Hoete has been able to adapt his painting with the knowledge of carving techniques to render simulations that might otherwise be near impossible to carve at such large scale. For the first time, he will be creating simulated whakairo, working on a scale that if actually carved might take decades to produce, including a life-size replica of his marae. The simulated photo-realist style might recall Goldie or Lindauer, but Hoete has reclaimed these art historical precedents with street art and contemporary references to define his own unique language of painting, brought to fruition in his major tribute to ‘Home.’

Principal Exhibition Partner: Tauranga City Council


9 November 2019 – 9 February 2020


KELCY TARATOA Ngai Te Rangi  Ngati Ranginui  Ngati Raukawa

Taratoa’s painting on the soaring walls of the Atrium of the Tauranga Art Gallery, contemporary interpretations of tukutuku, are so bright and vibrant you draw in a breath.“Who am I?” Episode 001 is Kelcy Taratoa’s first survey exhibition of works spanning over two decades and drawn from public and private collections throughout Aotearoa and internationally….”   (Exhibition Catalogue statement) 

There are 34 listed works.  They fill the entire main gallery upstairs.  They are so “in your face”,  real and unreal.  I’d just seen “Captured” a television series which featured manipulation of the everpresent CCTV and seen the step by step images disclosed during a recent New Zealand murder trial; inescapable observation is here in the exhibition.   

The individual works are large which makes them even more arresting, brightly coloured and full of detail. Like a huge graphic novel or comics with real people not cartoons.   You’ll want to walk round this several times and slowly. But you may also want to run there is so much energy leaping off the walls.  Interestingly for me the most moving work was Taratoa’s visual statement of his whakapapa.   Take the time to read it.  

The Tauranga Art Gallery online promotional page says:

who am i? episode 001   Kelcy Taratoa  5 October 2019 – 1 March 2020

This exhibition is a mid-career survey of work by leading contemporary artist Kelcy Taratoa (Ngai Te Rangi, Ngāti Ranginui and Ngāti Raukawa).

Taratoa’s work deals with cultural identity in twenty first century Aotearoa New Zealand and tackles important themes, including links between history, media, social conditioning and identity construction, surveillance and privacy, nuclear and environmental threat.

Taratoa has created a site-specific work for the Tauranga Art Gallery atrium; exploring the cultural significance of Tukutuku panels (a traditional Māori art form) on the 7 metre high walls.

Kelcy Taratoa has been represented in several public gallery exhibitions (including The Dowse, Te Manawa and Wellington’s City Gallery) and his works are included in public and private collections in New Zealand and abroad.

Taratoa lives in Mount Maunganui and teaches at Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology.

Education Partner:

And from the Toi Ohomai online site :

Works by Kelcy Taratoa

Kelcy Taratoa

Prior to joining the staff teaching on the Bachelor of Creative Industries (BCI) degree, Kelcy Taratoa spent 12 years studying, teaching and producing his own art in Palmerston North.

Kelcy is of Ngai Te Rangi and Ngati Raukawa descent. He has described himself as an “urban Maori, once detribalised and culturally displaced.”

Kelcy describes his style as “graphic, hard edged, anamorphic, and hyper-real.” His large-size canvases, bold colours, frequent references to comic books, Cuban poster art, graphic novels, notions of heroes, television serials and film identify his work.

He has transformed the Polytechnic’s dedicated gallery space, The Void, into a working studio, allowing the BCI students access to the experience of seeing the working environment of a practising artist. His works are included in public, corporate and private collections internationally.

Recent projects reveal a move into controversial and highly contestable areas of debate. These include conversations regarding increasing powers of government spy agencies, the authorisation of high-tech surveillance technologies on citizens, and global partnerships with international spy agencies.

As a visual arts practitioner, Kelcy believes he has a responsibility to engage with important topics such as these. In 2016, one of his exhibitions, The Panoptic Tower, focuses on issues of privacy and surveillance in a world where technology enables increasing monitoring of private citizens.

Exhibition curator Martha van Drunen writes of Kelcy’s exhibited works “More often than not we are now complicit in our own surveillance: we give permission for apps on our phone to access our location and our photos; we give freely of our personal data in order to become more connected, more easily and obviously visible… The ubiquity and everyday nature of watching and being watched generates a kind of indifference and, as Taratoa asks, are we always aware of what we are giving up?”

Kelcy feels strongly that creatives will benefit from an understanding of both business and creativity to operate successfully in the market place. He himself employs this strategy and outside his full-time teaching position, produces his own work around a timetable that fits in with his busy family life.

Selected Publications

Taratoa, K.  (2015). Episode 001, 2003.  Acrylic on canvas (Group exhibition + catalogue).  Artwork exhibited at Toioho XX – 20 years of Māori visual art (public gallery exhibition).  Te Manawa Museum of Art, Science and History, Palmerston North, 5 December 2015 – 17 April 2016.

Taratoa, K.  (2015).  Diversion 2015 (Group exhibition + catalogue), (3 works: Omnipresent, 2014 Acrylic on linen 100 x 100 x 7cm; Without conscience 04-MQ9, 2015. Acrylic on linen 50 x 50 x 7cm; Without conscience 05-MQ9, 2015. Acrylic on linen 50 x 50 x 7cm.)  The Project Room, 63 Spring Street, Tauranga, 10 December.

Taratoa, K. (2015).  Vivid 2015 (Solo exhibition).  Nadene Milne Gallery, (Art dealer gallery), 16 Buckingham St, Arrowtown, 19 November. 

Rosemary Balu. Rosemary Balu is the founding and current Managing Editor of ARTbop. Rosemary has arts and law degrees from the University of Auckland. She has been a working lawyer and has participated in a wide variety of community activities where information gathering, submission writing, community advocacy and education have been involved. Interested in all forms of the arts since childhood Rosemary is focused on further developing and expanding multi-media ARTbop as the magazine for all the creative arts in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.




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Te Rangi Haupapa – a woven history

19 October 2019 – 8 March 2020

Commemorating the 155th anniversary of the Battle of Gate Pa, Te Rangi Haupapa – a woven history approaches concepts around colonisation and the aftermath of the land wars in the Bay of Plenty, specifically through a Te Āo Māori lens.

Two contrasting spaces aligned with the gender elements of Māoridom, offer insight into Aotearoa New Zealand’s tumultuous past and the intergenerational healing that continues to be explored by many of our contemporary artists today. The exhibition includes contemporary artists Brett Graham and Rachael Rakena, Tawhai Rickard, James Ormsby, Nikau Hindin, Greg Semu, Te Marunui Hotene and Sarah Hudson with tāonga on loan from Tauranga Heritage Collection and The Elms.


Poi awe, Collection of The Elms Photograph courtesy of the Bay of Plenty Times

In partnership with The Elms and the Tauranga Heritage Collection, on display for the first time, are archaeological findings from around the Bay of Plenty – tāonga and everyday items that depict an intricate artistic practice, and a very conscious way of living, deeply ingrained in spiritual practices.
The concept of duality is woven within Aotearoa New Zealand history, as two cultures at odds living as one inevitably would be in opposition. However, prior to colonisation, the concept was deeply ingrained in Māori civilisation, and ways of being – duality not being at odds, but rather – complementary, harmonising, balancing each other.

Whakapapa, the intricate genealogical understanding of Māori connection, is a deeply spiritual practice that aligned human lineage with the spiritual realm of the deities. Through this, it is apparent that the duality of the male and female element significantly affected all practices and roles within Māori society.
Alongside these significant findings from around the Bay of Plenty, are works by contemporary artists who not only delve into these notions themselves, but whose practices aim to revitalise and showcase traditional practices. The weaving practices of Māori, particularly tukutuku are well known as intricate pattern work with spiritual symbolism woven throughout. Inspired by this practice tikanga Māori and thousands of years of heritage reframe the relatively recent arrival of Western colonisation and the interlaced web of encounters, interactions and assimilation.

In collaboration with The Tauranga Heritage Collection of the Tauranga City Council and The Elms Foundation.
With support from the Sheila Morgan Trust and The Flooring Room.

AND DO NOT MISS WALKING SLOWLY UP THE GALLERY STAIRS  –  I can’t find the artist details for this vibrant “mural” just at the moment but I’ll publish it asap. 

Meanwhile at The Historic Village, Tauranga Avenues in The Incubator Gallery and The People’s Gallery


The Corner Shop NZ

Original cards from The Corner Shop NZ





Boutique recycle to support the work of Turning Point Trust. Last Sunday of the month at the Historic Village 9am to 12noon. Cash only.

Catch a gig at The Jam Factory

Walk the Estuary

Check out 9th Avenue’s shops and Cafes if you’re in the Tauranga Avenues

The Incubator Gallery at The Historic Village. Regularly changing exhibitions of original art and creativity.

An historic building for new art space

Macandmor Art space Goddard Centre Tauranga

The People’s Gallery at the Historic Village

Food, drinks and creativity at the Black Sheep, Whakamarama

Clarence Boutique Hotel, Bistro and Iki Bar in the Old Post Office, worth a visit if you’re in Tauranga

Visit The Elms, post-colonial history

The Dry Dock, Downtown Tauranga (diagonally opposite the Tauranga Art Gallery)

Buy the best of artisan art and art craft at The Atrium Gallery and shop at The Black Sheep Whakamarama

The Tauranga Art Gallery

Historic Maketu

Pilot Bay & the Mount

Mauao the ubiquitous guardian of Pilot Bay

And then go to fabulous Waihi Beach!

Check out the decorations at the Bethlehem Town Centre

Calling in to Katikati’s Arty Tarts art and artisan crafts

Katikati Library & Meeting Rooms


Driving through Katikati check out The Arts Junction


                BE SAFE AND HAPPY AND ENJOY!


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