First some sadness:

“Kia ora e te whānau Mahara

We are very sad to acknowledge the loss of our dear friend and supporter, Avenal McKinnon.

She was pivotal to the close relationship we’ve been privileged to share with the Field Collection Trust since 2000, when Avenal helped the new Trust organise and catalogue its 24 artworks by Frances Hodgkins. With Celia Thompson and Peter Trim she presented this special family collection to the world in an exhibition, and the the first of three publications with Mahara Gallery, ‘Frances Hodgkins, The Link with Kapiti, The Field Collection’.

The collection then toured around Aotearoa New Zealand for two years and was ultimately offered to be permanently housed at Mahara Gallery (along with 20 other works).

Since then, Avenal supported us with numerous further loans from her treasured private collection of Frances Hodgkins, whose work she adored. She also gave special talks, supported seminars, championed our fundraising efforts for the gallery redevelopment and helped us to celebrate Hodgkins’ 150th birthday anniversary in the gallery in 2019.

Avenal McKinnon’s huge love of Frances Hodgkins will be honoured in the planned new Field Collection store and heritage gallery, which we aim to start work on in September this year.

We will miss her infectious enthusiasm, vitality and warm generosity. We acknowledge the enormous loss to her family and the wider New Zealand art world; she enriched us all.

Ngā mihi mahana
Janet, Kathryne & Tracey”


Next some good news: the Council has today approved funding for renovating the Mahara Gallery building mentioned yesterday.  The gallery will close at the end of August, and construction will begin in September. That work is expected to take a year.

The issue of a temporary premises for the gallery while this work is happening arises, and an obvious one is the empty former library building less than a dozen metres away…


On the Stuff website is a lengthy article enitled Mainstreaming Māori art on the Kapiti Coast about the Hemi Macgregor exhibition at Mahara Gallery. This runs until 24 April 2021 and is worth popping in to view. One of our pics is below.