Tairawhiti Museum and Art Gallery
Rich in Gisborne, East Coast history
Rich in Gisborne, East Coast history Poverty Bay - taonga maori
Tairawhiti Museum and Art Gallery


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Rich in Gisborne, East Coast history

Poverty Bay - taonga maori


Toi Ora

23 November 2012 - 23 January 2013

Te Mana i aia
- Kingi Pitiroi

Toihoukura: School of Contemporary Mâori Visual Arts is entering its 20th year of operation. What started as a one year Mâori arts and crafts programme has now grown into a Diploma and a Bachelors –‘Te Toi o Nga Rangi’ Mâori visual arts and design degree. This exhibition is the highlight of the academic year, with the opportunity to show works and honor the years best student in the form of the Professor Jack Richards sponsored ‘Ruanuku’ scholarship.

Toi ora, refers to the wellness and prosperous development that has taken place with Toihoukura over the last 20 years. This exhibition brings the best examples of works by some of the leading artists who are currently studying at Toihoukura.

The exhibition will be curated by Associate Professor, Steve Gibbs.

Exhibition Opening: 5:30pm Friday 23 November 2012

A Coastal Progress - John Hovell

16 November 2012 - 20 January 2013

Rakau Taonga: III Puriri -
John Hovell


"Kowhaiwhai swings side to side like a snake, up one side and down the other. This is the lifeline, the Manawa, the heartbeat"

In 2010 the museum presented The Passing World. The Passage of Life, the Art of John Hovell, an extensive retrospective of paintings and prints by this renowned kôwhaiwhai artist. Paintings and prints ranged in chronological order from wall to wall, culminating with freshly commissioned heke/rafters suspended from the ceiling. The exhibition was highly successful with well attended floor talks and lectures and upon completion John presented to the Tairâwhiti Museum four large and luscious landscapes entitled the East Cape Garden series depicting the productive gardens of Te Araroa in the 70s. The Waikato Museum was also a recipient of John’s generosity with the donation of the earliest work from the show Kauri Coromandel 1964

This latest journey of recent work by John continues to explore the intricacies and many visual narratives of kôwhaiwhai.

Exhibition Opening: 5:30pm Friday 16 November 2012

Everywhere But Here - Graeme Mudge

28 September - 18 November 2012

Card Players, Camino, Spain 2002 -
Graeme Mudge

"What I have provided is people’s art for the people."

In May 2012, Graeme Mudge received the Queen’s Service Medal for services to the arts. It is an accolade for the artist who is a familiar figure about town, often seen with pen, brush and bike, documenting the changing skyline of Gisborne city. Many of the murals which envelop the local streetscape flow from that same brush.

Graeme Mudge came to Gisborne in 1963 where he entered into the first of many teaching positions at Gisborne Boys’ High School. This year the museum celebrates with Graeme his 80th birthday bash with an exhibition of paintings detailing his life abroad.

This new series of oils begins in 1954 aboard the MV Waimea in Australia and ends with the full splendor of the cathedral Santiago de Compostela in Spain in 2002. Thirty six works arranged in chronological order explore the grandeur of historic architecture to the shared camaraderie of intimate gatherings.

"Originally the sketch books were intended as bases for oil painting so it has been great to get around to using them for that purpose after about 60 years."

Exhibition Opening: 5:30pm Friday 28 September 2012

Eighth Wonder - Rowan Belcher

5 October – 25 November 2012

The White
Terraces 1901 - Charles Blomfield

According to the journalist Geoff Conley (1985) "The Tarawera eruption of 1886 was New Zealand’s worst volcanic disaster of recorded times. The death toll was 153 and the violence of the explosion destroyed the famous Pink and White Terraces, widely acclaimed as the Eighth Wonder of the World" (1985, p 6).

The Tairawhiti Museum holds art works by three artists, Charles Blomfield, Kennet Watkins and William Crawford, who were attracted to painting or photographing the Terraces . Charles Blomfield is the most well known artist to have studied the phenomenon of the Terraces. He migrated to New Zealand and travelled extensively to record the New Zealand landscape becoming renowned for his paintings of the Terraces.

Kennet Watkins resided in Ruatoria for ten years in 1915 to live closer to his family there. William Crawford lived in Gisborne and took photographs at Tarawera before and after the eruption, of the lakes, the Terraces and the greater region.

Rowan Belcher has chosen a cross section of paintings and photographs for the exhibition Eighth Wonder.

Trains, Planes and Tsunamis - Photographs from the Tyerman Collection
Now showing

The first train trip from Gisborne to Napier, the landing of Charles Kingsford Smith’s historic Southern Cross aeroplane on Waikanae Beach and the 1947 tsunami are some of the significant local events that are depicted in this exhibition.

Captured by father and son photographers, Harold Berkley Tyerman and Ivan Warwick Tyerman, these images have been sourced from the recently donated Tyerman Collection.

Harold and Ivan Tyerman were pharmacists. Tyerman’s Pharmacy was initially established by Harold in Woodville, near the Manawatu Gorge, in 1922, and subsequently in various locations on Gladstone Road in Gisborne. Upon his father’s retirement, Ivan and his wife Annette (also a pharmacist) ran the pharmacy until 1995.

In the pre-digital era it was usual for amateur photographers to take their exposed films to a pharmacy or chemist for processing. The Tyermans had a darkroom on their premises and also sold photographic equipment. They provided printing services for many businesses from Wairoa through to Opotiki.

The Tyermans’ style of photography is more documentary than artistic, however their photographic skills produced images that contain a wealth of information. The photographs they have created are of vital importance to the historical record of this region, and are thus of great interest to historians and researchers. A number of the Tyermans’ images have been used to illustrate books, encyclopaedias and websites. 

Reckoning - Baye Riddell

21 September - 11 November

"Mine is a simple clay - rugged and spiritual. My clay I dig from a swamp on ancestral family land and it is prepared with care and respect."

Baye Riddell was born in Tokomaru Bay in 1950, his career as a full-time ceramicist has afforded high praise for his unique and recognisable style of pottery. His large pots, embellished with the symbolism of Christianity merging with Maori mythology, can be found in private and public collections throughout the world.

In 1987 he was one of the co-founders of Nga Kaihanga Uku (the national organisation of Mâori Clay Artists). In 1989 he won a Fullbright scholarship, travelled to the USA and established an ongoing exchange of international networks, visits and exhibitions with Native American artists and ceramicists. In 2001 he travelled to China and Korea as a guest artist for the World Ceramics Expo.

This combined exhibition of retrospective and contemporary works highlights the development of Baye’s work from 1974 to the present day.

Event Time:14:00
Start Date:14/10/2012

Baye Riddell Floor Talk
Baye Riddell Floor Talk

Come and hear the artist;

"I will be speaking on the concepts and thoughts behind the pieces and my personal journey with clay from 1974 through to now." - Baye Riddell

Vietnam Remembered

17 August – 23 September 2012

The Tairawhiti Vietnam Veterans and Whanau Association is one of the most active veterans groups in New Zealand. During the last two years the group has planned and undertaken the first stage of a major oral history project entitled ‘Vietnam Remembered’. The project team has now completed seventy-five interviews with Tairawhiti Vietnam veterans and whânau living in various parts of New Zealand.

The members of the association have been developing a relationship with the museum over the last three years. The first joint project was an exhibition held in 2010. In 2011 museum staff assisted in the development of the oral history project and this year a group of Vietnam veterans supported the museum’s teachers when classes came to the museum to learn about ANZAC.

The partnership between the veterans association and the museum has been guided by Wally Te Ua and Colin Rickard. Their most recent project has been the planning for the Vietnam Remembered exhibition that will open at Tairâwhiti Museum in August. Vietnam Remembered will include photographs taken while the New Zealand troops were in Vietnam and memorabilia loaned by the veterans. Information will also be provided about the oral history project.

The Art of Science

27 July - 16 September 2012

The Art of Science is an exhibition, organised by the New Zealand Portait Gallery, Wellington, featuring the Royal Society of New Zealand’s collection of portraits of prominent New Zealand scientists. The exhibition of 57 works includes paintings of some of New Zealand’s most talented scientists including Nobel Prize winners Alan MacDiarmid, Ernest Rutherford and Maurice Wilkins.

Perhaps the most unusual work included in the exhibition is a DNA portrait. It was created by Canadian company DNA 11 from a DNA sample from the Prime Minister’s chief science advisor, Professor Sir Peter Gluckman. The vividly coloured portrait shows only a tiny proportion of the two metres of DNA contained in every one of Sir Peter’s cells.

Also included in the exhibition is a Marianne Muggeridge portrait of Sir Paul Callahan by who died in March 2012. Sir Paul was one of New Zealand’s top scientists and was recognised as New Zealander of the Year in 2011. His enthusiasm and passion for science reached many New Zealanders through his interviews with Kim Hill on Radio New Zealand.

Into the Southern Hemisphere - Jo Torr

 8 June - 29 July 2012

Tupaia by Jo Torr

Tairâwhiti Museum has invited textile artist Jo Torr to create an exhibition of her wonderful ‘cultural exchange’ garments, which will be exhibited at the same time as Te Ara o Kôpû: The Transit of Venus. At the heart of the Transit of Venus exhibition is the encounter at Opoutama (Cook’s Cove, Ûawa, Tolaga Bay) between Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti and the people on the Endeavour in October 1769. Travelling south to New Zealand with James Cook, Joseph Banks, and the crew of the Endeavour was the Tahitian tohunga and navigator Tupaia. Tupaia is remembered by Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti for his ability to communicate with them in their own language and his knowledge of Polynesian places and ancestors that were also part of their history. Tupaia developed the art of drawing while travelling on the Endeavour and some of his drawings are held at the British Museum, London. These drawings have been a source of inspiration for Jo Torr for more than a decade. For her exhibition Into the Southern Hemisphere at Tairâwhiti Museum, she has created an eighteenth century style long coat and waistcoat decorated with elements from the well known sketch by Tupaia, which is thought to show Joseph Banks exchanging a piece of cloth for a koura (crayfish) being offered by a resident of Opoutama (Cook’s Cove).

 Lecture and Guided Tour

 Jo Torr will give a presentation about the development of her art work and give a floor talk in Into the Southern Hemisphere at 5:30pm Wednesday 25 July.

 Te Ara o Kôpû
Transit of Venus

1 June - 22 July 2012

Cook’s observation of the Transit of Venus at Tahiti on June 3 1769 was deemed important because it would contribute to a more accurate calculation of the scale of the solar system. Included in the Transit of Venus exhibition is a Gregorian reflector telescope made by the Scottish instrument maker James Short (1710-1768). James Cook and his astronomer Charles Green used this type of James Short telescope to observe the Transit of Venus in Tahiti in 1769. It was in his quest for Terra Australis that Cook located Aotearoa New Zealand, making his first landfall at Tûranganui (now known as Gisborne) on Sunday 8 October 1769. After two days of largely fraught encounters with the inhabitants of Tûranganui, during which a number of people were killed by members of Cook’s crew, the Endeavour sailed south to Hawke’s Bay and then north again, eventually anchoring off Anaura and Opoutama (Ûawa, Tolaga Bay). The exhibition Te Ara o Kôpû The Transit of Venus has been developed in partnership with Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti to celebrate the Transit of Venus and the encounter with James Cook, Joseph Banks, Tupaia and the others who arrived at Cook’s Cove on theEndeavour in 1769. The exhibition is arranged in five sections: Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti at Ûawa; Cook’s First Voyage into the Pacific; The Cook’s Cove Encounter; The Transit of Venus and Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti Towards the Future. Important treasures have been borrowed from Auckland Museum, Te Papa Tongarewa and the Carter Observatory for this exhibtion.

Lecture and Guided Tour

 Te Ara o Kôpû: Transit of Venus

Exhibition Guided Tour

Victor Walker, David Butts and Dudley Meadows

7pm Tuesday 12 June

 The Mahaki and Waioeka Brown Collection

14 May – 10 June 2012

The Mahaki and Waioeka Brown Collection was placed in the museum on loan by Mrs Waioeka Brown of Puha, on behalf of her whânau, in 1959. This collection will be exhibited in the Collections Gallery to mark the addition to the collection of a feather cloak, recently completed by local weaver Fiona Collis. The new cloak, commissioned by Waioeka Brown’s descendants, has taken three years to create. 

The Mahaki and Waioeka Brown Collection includes a number of very significant taonga tuku iho (treasures handed down from earlier generations) including a mere pounamu (nephrite cleaver), a toki pounamu (nephrite adze), toki (greywacke adzes), kâkahu (cloak), whâriki (mats), and kete. The kete are made of kiekie which was gathered in the bush in the Waioeka George by Waioeka Brown. The two large whâriki, which were made by Waioeka Brown, won the Ngata Cup and the Hine Sherratt Cup at the Mâori Arts and Crafts Exhibition at Whakarewarewa in 1945. 

Gisborne Artists' Society and Pottery Group Annual Exhibition

13 April – 3 June 2012

Sing The Seasons - David Andrew

The annual exhibition of art works by members of the Gisborne Artists' Society and the Pottery Group is eagerly anticipated by members of the community who await the opportunity to acquire art works by well established local artists. Opening night is always well attended and museum staff members are kept busy placing red stickers by the works that have sold. Another feature of opening night is the animated groups of people clustered around the new art works, engaged in intense conversation.

In recent years there have been more works by younger artists who have submitted their work for the first time and this trend is likely to continue. This is testimony to the societies’ committee members who actively encourage new members and ensure that an active workshop programme is maintained.

The societies’ redevelopment plans for Lysnar House will ensure that the facilities continue to meet the needs of their increasing memberships. The societies are to be acknowledged for having introduced a selection process. Dick Calcott will again carry out his excellent work as selector this year.


 Wood as Witness - Andrew Gordon

10 February – 15 April 2012


Andrew Gordon completed a Fine Arts degree at Canterbury University in 1982. After teaching at Waimate High School for several years, he worked full-time in Waimate as a painter and stone carver, exhibiting his work in Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

Since 2003 Andrew has lived at Waerenga-a-hika where he has continued to develop his sculptural work, including working in wood. Recent commissions have included the Waerenga-a-hika Flax Cross for the Anglican Diocese of Waiapu, to mark the early mission station at Waerenga-a-hika. The four-metre high art work of laminated totara heartwood was dedicated during the 2007 Waiapu Synod by Archbishop William Brown Turei and Bishop John Bluck.

Andrew outlines the motivation for his latest series of wood carvings:

"Living close to an old pa site I have become increasingly aware of past lives lived out on the land we now inhabit. The importance of trees to those people and the continuing rich tradition of carving in this area was a catalyst for me to explore these connections from my own tradition."

60 YEARS 60 POTS - Mirek Smisek

5 April – 20 May 2012

Born in Bohemia in 1925, Mirek Smisek left Czechoslovakia in 1948 in search of freedom, and determined to live a creative life. He had spent much of World War Two in Nazi prisons and labour camps. He became New Zealand’s first independent studio potter in 1954, establishing a studio in Nelson, where he continued to work for 16 years. During this time he travelled to Japan where he worked with pottery masters Shoji Hamada and Kenjiro Kawai. He also worked with Bernard Leach, the famous English potter, at his pottery in St Ives in Cornwall. In 1968 he moved to the Kapiti Coast and has built three studios there over the last 40 years. He was awarded an OBE for services to New Zealand pottery in 1990.

This exhibition was developed by Mahara Gallery in Waikanae and includes bowls, yunomi (tea bowls), vases, jugs, crocks and plates. Smisek made the earliest work in the exhibition in Sydney in 1949. Other works trace the history of his development as a studio potter in New Zealand.

Mirek Smisek is widely recognised as one of New Zealand’s most important ceramicists.

 Forever - Stella Goodall

 17 February – 9 April 2012


English born artist Stella Goodall lived in Paris and New York before settling in Gisborne in 2001.

A successful model who collaborated with top international photographers, Stella has been focussed on creating and telling stories through visual media since she was a child. She studied painting, drawing and photography at the New York School of Fine Art and the School of Visual Art.

Her debut exhibition, ‘Joan’, opened in New York’s upper west side, and her work is held in private collections around the world.

Inspired by the East Coast’s beauty, Stella paints in her Wainui Beach studio, a restored railway station building.

Prior Collection Paintings

3 February – 1 April 2012

                   Luncheon Under The Ash Tree - Evelyn Page

Ian and Elespie Prior spent 56 years assembling a collection of paintings by New Zealand artists with whom they maintained personal associations over many years. Dr Ian Prior is remembered for his pioneering epidemiological studies, as a founding member of the New Zealand branch of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, and for his involvement in environmental and cultural issues.

Jolene Douglas, our Exhibitions Curator, has selected 27 works from the Prior Collection. The Priors demonstrated a preference for figurative and landscape works over abstract painting and Jolene has respected this in her selection of works for this exhibition.

At the heart of the exhibition are four groups of paintings by Evelyn Page (1899-1988), Toss Woollaston (1910-1998), John Drawbridge (1930-2005) and Jeffery Harris (1949-). Ranging from Page’s richly coloured portraits to Woollaston’s vigorous elemental landscapes and from Drawbridge’s technically refined abstracted landscapes to Jeffery Harris’ bold figurative works, this exhibition provides something for everyone and provides a wide sweep across New Zealand painting.

Other artists represented in the exhibition are Doris Lusk, Oliver Spencer Bower, Stanley Palmer, Colin McCahon, Anna Caselberg, Gordon Crook, Ralph Hotere, Pat Hanly, Eric Lee Johnson and Douglas McDiarmid.

These works from the Prior Collection are on loan from Aratoi (Wairarapa Museum of Art and History, Masterton). In 2009 Aratoi also loaned us a selection of paintings from the Rutherford Trust Collection. We acknowledge the support of the Director and staff of Aratoi in facilitating these loans.

 Ehutai - Toihoukura
9 December – 12 February 2012

              Nga Manu o Tane Mahuta - Huia Edmonds

Toihoukura, the School of Mâori Arts at the Eastern Institute of Technology, formerly Tairâwhiti Polytechnic, has an annual exhibition at the museum and art gallery to showcase the work of senior students. This year the students’ work explores their responses to the many environmental issues that have challenged New Zealanders in recent times, ranging from the Christchurch earthquakes to the prospect of oil drilling in the Raukumara Basin off the East Coast.

Each year at the opening of the exhibition a Toihoukura student is awarded the Ruanuku Award, sponsored by local art patron Professor Jack Richards. The student submits a body of work from which one work is selected to become part of the Tairâwhiti Museum fine arts collection. The first Ruanuku Award was made to Randel Leach in 1995. The Ruanuku Award Collection now includes paintings, mixed media, ceramics and weavings. Two of these works are currently on display in Watersheds: Ngâ Waipupû.