Retail Therapy: shopping for creativity


Online you can shop the world. But, there is still something that is part of the shopping experience – being able to touch, to see and to smell and even more importantly, that face to face verbal connection with the store owner or product creator.

One of my favourite owner-operated, gallery and boutiques is the Turner Gallery in the Historic Village in the Tauranga Avenues.  Many will remember Edith Turner from her time in Te Puna. She has “come to town” and is now located a small step from the main Village entrance.   Her light, bright space is filled with wonderful creativity and it always smells divine – there is a large selection of handmade soaps for sale.   Edith tells me she has many local “repeat” purchasers for the stock she selects and I’ve noticed many an international visitor taking a peek into this treasure trove. The Turner Gallery has a visual-image rich website.

The Turner Gallery at the Historic Village is open 10am to 4pm Tuesday to Sunday. Closed Mondays

I watched The Joy Gypsy at the Historic Village in Downtown Tauranga being put together.   In a very grubby, ordinary and dingy space Helen cleaned, painted, and papered a back wall, to produce a charming up-to-date space in her historic shop. There is a selection of contemporary, boho-ethnic home and décor ware sitting alongside the individual macramé hangings Helen fabricates.   Last Sunday when I was there, chartreuse wool was being woven and plaited.

Part of Helen’s business is curating and hiring wedding and event décor.

The Joy Gypsy is open Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 4pm. Closed Mondays.

Another boutique gem, selling original, local art, art craft and artisan product is the retail shop which is part of the new Atrium Gallery at the Black Sheep at Whakamarama.

Developed as a community gallery and retail space with lots of hard work and effort  by local creatives, the Atrium Gallery is open 11am to 5pm Wednesday to Sunday, closed Monday and Tuesday.

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The Black Sheep is also the site of the monthly Affordable Art & Artisan Fairs which have a similar focus to the Atrium Gallery shop – original, local and high quality.   The Fairs are held on the last Sunday of the month 11am to 3pm. 

The Arts Junction on Kati Kati’s Main Road has its own retail space – again the emphasis is on local art and art craft.   While you’re there you can take a look in the two gallery spaces. Today I gave the Christmas themed wearable art the once over and paused to 360 degree the exhibition of Martin Rogers.  Exhibitions change regularly in the Carlton Gallery and the Gallery is available to be hired for your show of work. (if you’re interested in exhibiting contact details are below)

The Arts Junction is open Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm and 10am to 2pm Saturdays and Sundays. Located at 36 Main Road, Kati Kati   (next to the Western Bay of Plenty Museum) Phone 549 5250 or email                

Arty Tarts is just what it says – the individualistic, beautiful work of local creatives.   The talent and product-filled collective has been around Kati Kati in one location or another for some time. There’s almost a village atmosphere to this boutique space.   You could probably spend half a day looking at the wide range of stock in here.   Don’t think “it’s cheap” or “home made”.   It’s artisan creativity and product across the spectrum.

Arty Tarts is open 9am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday and 9.30am to1pm Saturdays. They are closed on Sundays. Phone 549 0324—Crafts-Store/Arty-Tarts-918664841581968/

And one of my all time favourite bespoke jewellers: Harry Maddox. Also located on the Main Road in the Kati Kati Village you’ll find this combined jeweller and art space.   There’s always something in there I want to take away. This time it’s the silver ring and bracelet of skulls – so deo de mortis – would just go with the large, leering skull and flower-patterned scarf I was given.   There’s also the most amazing rings – black resin encrusted with silver set gems and then a gold ring with the most unusual cognac-coloured rectangular stone – screamed “buy me”.

Harry shows me a restoration he is working on and Sue, before she stood up, has explained what she is doing – lengthening! This place is a world away from the well-promoted jewellery chains, it’s total craftsmanship.

The visual art in the gallery space was by Lorraine Browne of Gallery on Mulgan 021 156 5525 and amazing glass decoupage by Marion 027 753 5939.   If you are interested in exhibiting in the Harry Maddox gallery/art space you can phone 07 549 2592 and speak to Sue or email

Katikati Antiques & InteriorsI didn’t take any images of the contents but if you want to see outstanding design and beauty and artifacts from kitsch to sublime antiques (think a classic, simple architect’s set of plan drawers) you’ll adore the traditionally curated antique shop in the middle of town. There are so many items here I want to touch – décor departed – childhood memories. Everything is so clean and beautifully presented – it’s heart singing stuff. (Warning: I wouldn’t be taking my children in here). I totally enjoy the shared words with the delightful woman in charge – worth entering to speak with her.

Katikati Antiques & Interiors Phone: 64 7 549 1209 or 027 624 9062 and

This afternoon in Kati Kati there’s the usual mélange of traffic. Large logging trucks creeping through the town between small shopping baskets, silver high-wheeled SUV’s the now required middle-class vehicle of style and their cousins the silver trucks and utes need by  housewives, tradies and farmers to move from A to B.   There is also a flock of small, square, white traveling accommodation. Shiny in their newness, containing mature international tourists.   I ask one group “are you tourists?”. European accents reply. They’re pointing towards Auckland. I tell them they would have loved the Atrium Gallery at the Black Sheep – perhaps next time?








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.


Sunday, the 24th of February from 11am-3pm at The Black Sheep Restaurant! Corner Plummer’s Point Road and SH2 Whakamarama.  Live music, free sealed parking.  Great food and a wonderful range of creative art, art craft and artisan products.

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