Apologies for a late despatch from the front line. We’ve only just completed our October newsletter, so pacy has life been hereabouts – a simmering brew of artistic happenings with the Tauranga Arts Festival in full flight, and the Tauranga Art Gallery opening its doors. We have details on parts of the Arts Fest that are continuing (see below), and one act which will return this summer. And we have a quick ‘guide to the Gallery’ and its first exhibitions – a sneak preview for visitors to Tauranga and busy locals who haven’t got there yet.
New additions to BoTCom will appeal to all sorts of people. Lord of the Rings fans should gallop at breakneck speed, like Dark Riders on P, to our review of Hobbiton - a fun bit of Middle Earth less than an hour’s drive from Tauranga. Hobbiton is something rather special - especially perhaps for you LOTR fans from abroad. We are lucky to have a Hobbit habitat close by. They’re endangered you know. You’ll find Hobbiton under Sightseeing and Tours.
In the delectable nosh department, we flick on a Mount Maunganui restaurant judged New Zealand’s wildest (we’re talking food – not the staff), Mount Bistro. We have also added Fixation to our website, the award-winning local coffee roaster and cafe, that’s conveniently located near the Creative Markets in Dive Crescent.
Counting down to the summer hols...we went travellin’ for our coming Spotlight - for an in-depth look at one of Tauranga’s best beachy satellites. Waihi is on the rise as one of the country’s most interesting mining towns, with a colourful past and an equally fascinating ‘present.’ And a short drive down the road, Waihi Beach is one of the finest beaches in the country with a great package of places to stay, and things to do. We’ve added the Waihi Beach Top 10 Holiday Park, Waihi Beach Bakery, and The Porch cafe & restaurant to our website reviews. Spotlight will feature in about a fortnight, the best of the ‘two Waihis’ - mining town and beach.
Quick Guide to the Tauranga Art Gallery
Tauranga has been fizzing with artistic energy: aside from the Arts Festival firing up, the long-awaited public art gallery opened its doors to welcome thousands of people. On its first day alone, the gallery drew 3,200 people. They came from as far away as Auckland and Hamilton.
The $7.6 million project delivers a spacious 700 square metres of gallery space that is split over two levels, and provides a range of flexible exhibition spaces. For those who haven’t made it along yet, or people about to visit Tauranga, here’s a quick rundown on what you’ll see:
Grabbing huge attention in the Atrium is Visual Bank, an installation by Mark Braunias. It features brightly colour figures that leap across the walls in a mix of canvas paper and plywood cutouts. The central wall has film footage of the artist at work and animation.
Still on the ground floor, Gallery One and Vault have the Luncheon Under the Ash Tree, an exhibition that ‘illustrates the broad story of modern New Zealand art development and the cultural environment...’ It includes works by Toss Woollaston, Colin Mc Cahon and Ralph Hotere (just to name a few). Keep an eye out for the striking Tuhoe work – you know, those alleged Maori terrorists running round the jungly backblocks of the region.
The Education Gallery on the ground floor has a selection of contemporary New Zealand prints from the Tauranga Art Gallery’s collection.
On the first floor, is the award-winning World Press Photo ’07 exhibition, occupying what are known as the Long Gallery and Window Gallery – winning photos from photo-journalists around the world. The images – some deeply disturbing, it must be acknowledged – are drawing big crowds. Thought-provoking, and not to be missed, this exhibition is on until Sunday, November 11. Readers from out of town should note that Tauranga is the only place in New Zealand where this prestigious exhibition is being shown.
There is also a documentary screening in Icon Alley on the second floor nearby, which tells the story behind four iconic press photographs. A second doco screening at The Cube, which chronicles world hijacking.
Arts Festival...It’s Not All Over Yet!
Tens of thousands of people have already flocked to see the extraordinary Earth from Above outdoor photo exhibition on the Strand, that continues until November 26th. In case you’ve missed it. Britain’s Daily Mail called this ‘the most amazing pictures you’ll ever see.’ French photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand has captured an incredible variety of landscapes from the air. The images are also a report on the state of the planet, revealing the 'human footprint.' The exhibition is free and on display for 24 hours a day.
And more good news... The Tauranga Arts Festival is bringing the hit show Niu Sila back to Tauranga in February 2008. Festival organisers are thrilled that they’ve been able to negotiate a return season. Festival Director Philip Tremewan says ‘these guys are hot tickets – they are in huge demand and have very busy schedules so we’re delighted that they are returning to Tauranga.’ This award winning play is written by two of New Zealand’s top comedy writers – Oscar Knightly (Naked Samoans, Sione’s Wedding) and Dave Armstrong (Spin Doctors, Seven Periods with Mr Gormsby), and stars well known kiwi actors Dave Fane and Damon Andrews. Niu Sila had three sell-out performances booked for the Arts Fest, however a throat infection caused cancellation of two shows. Tickets for the return season are being held aside for people who had their tickets cancelled. Niu Sila returns for two shows at Baycourt on Saturday 16th February at 7pm, followed by a matinee at 2pm on Sunday 17th February.
Arts Fest organisers sold 9000 tickets this time around! But they’re already thinking ahead to 2009, and you can have a say: members of the public are welcome to put forward and ideas or comments. Feedback is encouraged via a discussion forum on the festival website www.taurangafestival.co.nz and you can also register to receive 2009 festival updates and announcements.
If you’re short on ideas for a restaurant to try at Mount Maunganui, Mount Bistro has just been judged the wildest in New Zealand, in a manner of speaking. The restaurant took out the national prize at the prestigious Monteith’s Beer and Wild Food Challenge, beating nine other regional winners. Owner-chef Stephen Barry is no stranger to wild food fame after winning more than 10 Wild Food Challenge sub-categories in the past seven years. Stephen has spent the last 16 years working as a Tauranga chef. He was a minor partner in The Lobster Club before before being Head Chef at Harbourside. Then he started Mount Bistro. His winning entries included Sword and Sauce-ry, combining skewered crayfish, swordfish, scallop and prawns, flambéed with horopito lime vodka and matched with Monteith’s Radler.
We are Sailing....to Tauranga
The summer cruise ship season is underway, with 39 ships set to call into the Port of Tauranga over the next few months. One of the giants is the Sapphire Princess, which can carry 2,670 passengers, is set to visit eight times, from January 20. A new ship this season will be the Mercury, a Celebrity cruise ship that has nearly 1,900 passengers and will visit seven times. The 39 ships this season will bring in a capacity of 64,000 passengers. Last season, the visits pumped $9.4 million into the Bay of Plenty economy, with the figure expected to top $13 million this summer. Port of Tauranga Commercial Manager Graeme Marshall says it’s a great thrill to see this community enjoying the excitement that surrounds cruise ship visits to the port.
Mount Maunganui outdoor store, Hikoi, provided two T-shirts as prizes... the winners are Ste from Chorley, UK, and Debs in Tauranga. (Hikoi specialises in top end footwear, apparel and equipment in particular.) Two copies of The Best of Tauranga, our ‘insider’s guide’ have gone to Stephen in Morayfield, Australia and Derek in Tauranga.
We are delighted to showcase the new cosmetic range from natural health products company, Comvita – with two gift packs to give away. Huni has just been launched at Comvita’s flagship store in Paengaroa. Why is honey so beneficial? The power of honey has been documented through the centuries as a source of healing and used to beautify the skin. Cleopatra, you’ll recall, is famous for bathing in milk and honey. The Huni range uses the finest Unique Manuka Factor (UMF®) honey. This is a scientific measure of the special properties not found in any other honey.
And heading outdoors – where to blow the cobwebs away? The unique blokart track at Papamoa. One pass to give away for the fun land yachts, and two more copies of The Best of Tauranga guide.
Who needs an excuse to see (cliché coming) bronzed beach athletes in action...Mauao Challenger 4 is a top level beach volleyball tournament (around 15 nets). Mount Maunganui Main Beach on Sunday, 11 November. Contact Emma Preston, Sport Bay of Plenty, 578 0016.
Krishnan's Dairy takes two of the most clichéd things Kiwis know about Indians-The Taj Mahal and the corner dairy - and fuses them into an enchanting love story that is both funny and moving. Krishnan's Dairy introduces us to the Krishnans. On at Baycourt, Wednesday 14th November & Thursday 15th , 8pm – 10pm. Contact Baycourt Ticket Direct, 5777 188 or 0800 484 2538 or Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Catch the work of a Tauranga painter who’s been called the most under-rated painter in New Zealand. Mission Impossible – The Art of Arthur Dagley is on at Tauranga Art Gallery, from 17 November to 26th January 2008.
Carters Kids Gone Fishin’...the annual kids fishin’day’s special guest is fishing guru Graeme Sinclair, from the Gone Fishin’ Show. Adults can bring a kid along (plus fishing rod and bait) for an afternoon fishing, free sausage sizzle, fun and lots of spot prizes. On at Tauranga Harbour Bridge Marina (Mount Side), Saturday, 24 November, from 1.30pm. Contact Bluelight Tauranga, 5788 199.