The season of Matariki, Māori New Year, feels like an auspicious time to launch a new beginning for the gallery.

Our redeveloped website is now live at The Field Collection and our first suite of shows have been our first priority, and new content will continue to be uploaded over the next few months.

Thank you to the fantastic team who have brought it to fruition over the past two years, led by typographer and designer Catherine Griffiths, working with website developer Peter Johns, Butterpaper. In the gallery, much work has been done by curator Vicki Robson and website wrangler Alex Rundle-Keswick, with technical support from Jack Penman and business manager Sandra Smillie.

Our temporary site, MAHARA iti, is now closed. Its final exhibition was a tribute to one of the gallery’s founders, artist Robin Rogerson (1938–2022). Sales of her work raised $5,000 for new gallery exhibitions: thank you to all those supporters!

We now have a period of intensive but exciting mahi (work) over the next few months as we move back in and set up for re-opening the gallery. Landscaping work around the building is going well towards completion in August. It includes new steps and a new wall, with design and colours linking us to the cultural thread to Whakarongotai Marae.

Toi MAHARA conveys the new gallery identity as the ‘Home of the Field Collection’ and an expanded professional gallery facility for the district spanning heritage and contemporary culture. It is encapsualted by the new M tohu, part of the typographic visual identity designed by Catherine, now visible on the gallery’s east sentinel facing the hills of Hemi Matenga.

MAHARA, meaning memory, holds significance for mana whenua as the name given to our site by Wiremu Parata Te Kakakura, tribal leader of Te Ātiawa ki Whakarongotai. Toi MAHARA represents all Kāpiti communities, and the three iwi, Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Toa and Ngāti Raukawa.

We are developing an exciting Opening Festival weekend over 28–29 October, supported by Council and Waikanae Business Association. Mahara Place will be filled with art, live performances and events. Following the formal blessing and opening of the gallery we will launch three new exhibitions featuring 14 weavers in the Ōtaki-based Whiriwhiria Collective, 42 tamariki from Paekakariki School, selected works from the Field Collection and taonga/treasures from private and public collections that tell stories from across the Kāpiti rohe.

AROTAKE TOI | MAHARA ARTS REVIEW featuring a further 50 selected local artists will be officially launched the following week in the new Coastlands Gallery before the first two weekends of November spanning the Kāpiti Arts Trail.

Artists based in Kāpiti/Horowhenua are invited to submit a maximum of two works up to 2m high or wide created in any medium.

Current Friends of Mahara will have their membership extended over the next few months while we are in this transition phase towards re-opening. We look forward to inviting you to some exclusive events and joining up more Friends with our new membership package coming soon!

Ngā mihi mahana, Janet Bayly – Director