Paeroa: an unexpected tang and zing


Paeroa Society of Arts Members Exhibition 2015: Each year the society holds a member’s exhibition, with guest artists. This year the Society is proud to have Katikati based artist Leigh Basinger as the guest painter, and Janet Smith as the guest potter. Leigh Basinger is well-known for her technique of painting on glass. Works in this medium will form the basis of her collection of work shown at Paeroa in the coming days.

As well as members being able to display and sell their individual artwork at the gallery,local schools are also invited annually to exhibit their students work here.

It’s one of those changeable days when Leigh Basinger and I drive up to Paeroa to check out the curating and placement of her work in the Paeroa Society of Arts Members Exhibition 2015. Leigh has just had work in The Victoria Hall, Waikino Labour Weekend Exhibition and sale of work.

MarketsPaeroaAGottaEatNov2015 003You can’t miss the Paeroa Society of Arts building as you roll on into this New Zealand rural township. It dominates the middle of the main street – a dowager of a building given a new lease of life and loving it. The building has retained its original structure and after meeting  Kay Jenkins and potter Jacki Allen (whose witty lipstick fish garden sculptures I adore); I nose around the gallery rooms. It’s yet another example of the busy fingers and creativity that pervades small town New Zealand. Yes some of the work is amateurish but the majority of the work is stylish, creative and eminently purchasable. Whether you can “make” the current members exhibition you need to call into this gallery.

And while you’re in Paeroa make sure you check out the Mikkelsen Gallery opposite which is currently showing the work of Birgitt Shannon and Leigh Basinger. Poke about in the vintage, retro and antique shops which gave Paeroa the title “Antique Town”. Make sure you “go round the back” off the main street: there’s a fabulous cafe. And, don’t take any notice of the paper sign stuck on the outside of the public toilets on the edge of the beautiful park – yes they may have been fire damaged, but it’s been repaired.

If you’re not interested in art don’t forget that Paeroa hosts the annual motorcycle street battle – that’s up soon. It’s also part of the Hauraki Rail Trail and has a great visitor and information centre just along from the Paeroa Society of Arts building. Once a glum little town, seemingly going backwards Paeroa has a zing and a tang you should take advantage of.

And the Paeroa Society of Arts? On behalf of the Society Deb Shepherd has provided the following:

The Paeroa Society of Arts was formed when well-known Paeroa artist Judy Parker, with the help of an enthusiastic group of fellow artists, started the Paeroa Festival of Arts in 1982 and, in 1984 the Festival committee became the Paeroa Society of Arts. In 1995, the Society purchased the old Borough Council building, on Normanby Road, right in the centre of town.

Since the Society acquired the building some internal restructuring has been completed to enlarge the art studio, start a pottery group and provide a gallery for special exhibitions.

The Society has pottery classes on Thursdays, a social art group on Wednesdays, and artist Dawn Elliott holds her painting classes in the art room through the year.

For further details contact:  The Gallery: 07 862 7111     The President – Ray Read: 07 862 8405

Paeroa Society of Arts Members Exhibition 2015

Wednesday 11th – Saturday 14th November &

Wednesday 18th – Saturday 21st November

The Gallery, 109 Normanby Road, Paeroa

Open 11am – 3pm


Rosemary Balu. Rosemary is the founding and current editor of ARTbop.


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