That was the weekend that was…


The weekend that was started on Thursday and finished on Sunday evening.  Not bad for a place that’s not Auckland or Wellington. 

Thursday afternoon I took the quickest of looks at part of the additions to The Crossing business and shopping area at the SH29  Tauranga junction.  It’s incredibly like those enormous malls I’ve been to overseas.  It’s gleaming and glossy and shops and food for ever but I think I still prefer the openness of the Mount Mainstreet or the comparatively minute Bethlehem shopping centre which has a more traditional village layout.  

Downtown Tauranga is undergoing intensive refurbishment and redevelopment – it’s the same as doing it to your home – you wish you were living somewhere else while it’s all going on.  The mid-Avenues of Tauranga are becoming more and more interesting – not just medical rooms and hairdressers!  

Love Rosie is loved because of its exceptional food.  It’s been on 9th Avenue now for quite a while and has a bread shop offspring around the corner.  There’s a photographer’s studio, a picture framer (the longest inhabitant of this end of the street) a design/furniture store and three vendors of the collectible, the interesting and the “where could I put that”.  While I’m waiting for “the event at the Library” I go into “Our Place” on the other side of the carpark.  This is the container complex created on the site of the demolished Tauranga City Council building.    There’s a late afternoon/early evening collection of diners and there’s “live music.”  It’s really good.  “Mystery in the Library” starts with drinks and nibbles.  I avoid “the drinks” as I have to drive back up SH2 but nibble the nibbles.    The evening’s facilitator is the noirly-urbane Marcus Hobson.   His love of books, literature and the arts is evident in the floor to ceiling library in his own home and the time and energy he puts into his reviews.   The guests for the evening are articulate and interesting.  Chris from our own Books a Plenty on Grey Street is there to provide the eftpos for the book buyers!Friday night is an unexpected treat “The Lady Killers” at Holy Trinity for the Waipuna Hospice.  An outstanding example of that phrase “young, old – just words”.    High levels of energy, vocals and a performance that just knocked your socks off and had them dancing ….The Lady Killers with Waipuna Hospice’s Christine Sadlier of the  Events Team.

Saturday morning it’s down to the Historic Village – the Zee Market curated stalls have wonderful products and I score two New Zealand wool blankets at the Turning Point Trust retro and vintage sale. Their two boutiques are open but I don’t have time to look in them today as I’m expected at Crown and Glory. And who would dare be late.?  The galleries in the Village are open so I check out The Incubator Gallery with the work of Elizabeth Haider.  It’s stunning and displays an extraordinary range of creative talent and style. Unfortunately my phone rings and I have to leave…. Here’s Elizabeth’s artist’s statement.  The exhibition closes on 3rd June so you have time to go down and see this diverse collection of work. I’m going back!

“Elizabeth Haider, sculptor, printmaker, painter and weaver.

A sculptor of long-standing, Elizabeth started Art School from the age of 16 in Holland in sculpture and continued her art education in colleges in Germany and the UK. She acquired a Masters in Printmaking and Illustration at Saint Martins School of Art, London; Sculpture – Ceramics at the Anglican Ruskin University, Cambridge and Creative Entrepreneurship, Norwich University.

Elizabeth was fortunate enough to be given residencies at the International Ceramic Workshop Tokoname, Japan, for which she was selected from over 300 applicants, for 8 weeks and a residency by an Artists Commune in Norwich for 3 months. Her working career was spent at BBCTV as a scenic designer designing TV and film sets for over 25 years. As a qualified Landscaper she also designed gardens in Norfolk, UK.

Artist Statement
Over time my artistic career has had many turns. I have accumulated many skills which all help in my work as an all-round artists, often the lines between several disciples get blurred.

Through my background I naturally think big and I learned from working in tv and film that nothing is impossible. If you don’t get the right result, you haven’t asked the right questions and found the right answers.

I am not a weaver. Weavers weave a whale. I am a sculptor. I build a whale. There is much construction involved in the production of a whale, knowledge that weavers may not have, but a sculptor does.”

Phone call finished I go on to Downtown Tauranga and the Tauranga Art Gallery for the Zinefest 2019.  I love it and if you’ve never been to one – go.   Originality and creativity.   And there were prizes! Most wonderful thing about this festival – the very young participants. 

Jo Torr, Tauranga Art Gallery Registrar (third prize) shares one of her visual poems “Literary Lies”.   These beautiful productions were all hand-made and individually numbered and signed.  There’s a wonderful background story to how Jo collected and created the collage images.  Worth a talk?After Jo has packed up her exhibition and I’ve put the two prints I’ve acquired in the car we stroll up to the Old Post Office on Willow Street.  It’s now a boutique hotel, bistro and bar (Clarence and Iki Bar) and provider of a beautiful pot of tea for me.  If you have the opportunity to visit here I’d do so. I loved sitting at the corner table with the original wood floors, light streaming in original windows….and great conversation and laughs supported by lovely young wait persons. 

Sunday I race around outside using up as much of the sun as possible to collect up leaves, clear spouting and rake out the drive drain – we’ve got real winter weather showing up today or tomorrow.   At 3pm I go round to the home of another Te Reo Maori class member and three of us practice our vowels and with the help of YouTube our waiata.   This is such a good experience and it’s in a beautifully renovated local home worthy of its own “article”.  When I have time I’ll publish images from our weekend stay at Huria Marae in Tauranga – it was amazing.Don’t ever let any one tell you there’s nothing doing around Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty.  And this week…..coming up…..
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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