What’s On: Our November and December highlights


Plan your end-of-year activities accordingly.

Compiled by: Ann Warnock

Te Hau Whakatonu | A Series of Never-Ending Beginnings

Documentation by Sam Hartnett.

When: To 11 February 2024
Where: Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre, New Plymouth
Web: govettbrewster.com

A survey of Toi Māori from the gallery’s collection spans 50 years and celebrates the diversity of Māori creative expression via more than 60 works. The show’s sub-title (a phrase often used by Māori rights advocate and leader Moana Jackson) references the importance of whakapapa and storytelling in a Māori intellectual tradition and includes works by Shane Cotton, Brett Graham, Ayesha Green, Ralph Hotere, Tia Ranginui, Lisa Reihana, Reuben Paterson and Robin White.


Te Mata Tūroa o Papa | This Natural World

Whakatipu (rain cape) (detail), 1850-1900, maker unknown.

When: To July 2024
Where: Toi Art, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Web: tepapa.govt.nz

One of four new shows at Toi Art examining how artists and makers express their relationships with the natural world. Te Mata Tūroa o Papa demonstrates how practitioners use forms and materials to connect with the environment.

It features three kākahu — traditional Māori rain capes — made from native plant leaves and fibres, offering protection and adorned with the beauty of nature.


Kāpiti Coast Art Trail Te Ara Toi o te Takutai o Kāpiti

Waikanae printmaker Hamish Macaulay.

When: 4 and 5 November; 11 and 12 November 2023
Where: Kāpiti Coast
Web: kapiticoastarttrail.co.nz

A self-guided trail showcasing more than 125 local artists working in studios and shared spaces on the Kāpiti Coast, including access to the workshop of renowned weaver Adrienne Spratt on Kāpiti Island. The trail’s diverse line-up of artists includes Birgit Moffatt, Hamish Macaulay, Studio Reset, Paula Archibald, Sarah Lange and Sarah Pou.

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The Mermaid Chronicles 2.0

This Can Be About Daryl Hannah, Megan Dunn, 2022.

When: To 4 February 2024
Where: Tauranga Art Gallery POP UP
Web: artgallery.org.nz

The Mermaid Chronicles explores New Zealand writer Megan Dunn’s fascination with mermaids and the world of professional mermaiding, showcasing the mermaid as an enduring and powerful mythological archetype and as a potential career. Dunn brings together retro artefacts, underwater photographs and videos and spotlights several high-profile mermaid performers.


Natasha Ratuva: Buiniga

Cagilaba – Cylone, 2022.

When: 11 November 2023 to 18 February 2024
Where: Aratoi Wairarapa of Art and History, Masterton
Web: aratoi.org.nz

Wairarapa-based multi-disciplinary artist Natasha Ratuva (Kadavu||Bua) reinterprets traditional patterns from Fijian bark cloth and woven pond reeds in contemporary compositions featuring buiniga — a traditional hair practice worn by iTaukei (indigenous Fijian) women. In iTaukei culture, the head and hair symbolise mana and connection to the spiritual realm. This exhibition celebrates the buiniga as a powerful symbol of iTaukei culture and womanhood.


Something Rotten!

When: 25 November 2023 to 27 January 2024
Where: The Court Theatre, Ōtautahi Christchurch
Web: courttheatre.org.nz

It is 1595 London, and all the world is a stage as two brothers struggle to find success in the theatrical world as they compete with the wild popularity of their contemporary rockstar writer, William Shakespeare. This high-energy musical premiered on Broadway in 2015 and is billed as a comedic mash-up of 16th-century Shakespeare and 21st-century Broadway.


Home: Give Me Shelter

Hamish Allan, Lessons from Suburbia, Part 4 – Parking, 2023.

When: 25 November 2023 to 3 March 2024
Where: The Suter Art Gallery Te Aratoi o Whakatū
Web: thesuter.org.nz

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What home means in Aotearoa is under scrutiny in an exhibition of more than 40 works from the late 20th century to the present day, focusing on accommodation, homes, shelter and affordable housing. Featuring works by Philip Clairmont, Gavin Chai, Claudia Kogachi, Peter Siddell, Turumeke Harrington, Peter Robinson, Hamish Allan and Noel McKenna, the show includes imagery of domestic interiors and exteriors.


SCAPE Public Art Season 2023

SCAPE 2023 artists.

When: 25 November 2023 to 17 February 2024
Where: Ōtautahi Christchurch
Web: scapepublicart.org.nz

Public art is in the spotlight in Ōtautahi as eight temporary artworks by local and international artists form a public walkway through the centre of the city. Responding to the theme of The Gift, this season’s artists are Ming Ranginui, Te Ara Minhinnick, Synthia Bahati, Susu, Tūi Matira Ranapiri-Ransfield, Denise Porter-Howland, Priscilla Rose Howe and Maioha Kara.


Spring Time is Heart-break: Contemporary Art in Aotearoa

Anoushka Akel, Wet Physics, 2021.

When: 25 November 2023 to 24 March 2024
Where: Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū
Web: christchurchartgallery.org.nz

A major survey of contemporary art in Aotearoa featuring works by 24 emerging and mid-career contemporary artists and including textiles, sculpture, painting, moving images, sound and more than 20 new projects. The exhibition, which responds to current social, cultural and environmental concerns, includes large-scale carpets flowing across a gallery space and a new installation in front of the building.


Guo Pei: Fashion, Art, Fantasy 郭培:时装之幻梦

© Guo Pei, Asian Couture Federation.

When: 9 December 2023 to 5 May 2024
Where: Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Web: aucklandartgallery.com

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What’s On: ÉMILIE by Sophie Lindsay

This exhibition, showcasing the creations of celebrated Chinese couturier Guo Pei, includes more than 60 works and highlights the designer’s most significant collections shown in Beijing and Paris over the past two decades. Taking her inspiration from Imperial China, European art and the botanical world, Guo Pei designs for royalty, the political elite and celebrities. The show includes Rihanna’s yellow 2015 Met Gala gown.

NZ Life and Leisure This article first appeared in NZ Life & Leisure Magazine.
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