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New arts collective springs into action in the Tairua Valley

A new arts collective has formed recently in an effort to raise the artistic profile of the Tairua, Hikuai and Pauanui communities.  


Paradise Coast Creative Arts was created at a gathering of local artists in February 2021 and since then has defined its role as the primary arts platform for artists of any discipline situated in the Tairua Valley, whether they are established, emerging or young artists. 


Yvonne Walmsley, Chair of Paradise Coast Creative Arts is excited about the potential of this new group. 


“All the members of Paradise Coast are artists themselves,”  says Yvonne. “All equally passionate about promoting and supporting the many artists in these three communities”


Paradise Coast Creative Arts currently consists of 13 members including; Jenny Blomely, Reina Cottier, Jo Dalgety, Michael Harrison, Paul Schrader, Yvonne Walmsley, Donna Brookes, Tina Carey, Susan Dunster, Paula McNeill, Jenny Turner, Vivienne Cory-Wright and Sarah Holden. 


“We see ourselves as the overarching arts group for the Tairua Valley, here to help facilitate events and support our local artists however we can.”


And they are doing just that, with plans already underway for a special Matariki arts event in 2022, called ‘River of Arts’, a three day free event (tentatively scheduled for 23 June – 25 June) to celebrate both Matariki and to showcase the talented artists in the area. 


The name ‘River of Arts’ is a reference to the Tairua river which flows through and connects the three communities. 


“Our inaugural Matariki event coincides with Matariki being made a national public holiday next year,” explains Yvonne. “We plan to work closely with local iwi Ngati Hei and Ngati Maru to produce a culturally appropriate event.” 


‘River of Arts’ will consist of a 3 day art exhibition most likely at Tairua School with artists exhibiting Matariki themed works.  Artwork will be for sale to the general public and there will be prizes for ‘People’s Choice’, ‘Best Emerging Artist’ and more. 


To complement the exhibition kids from Tairua School will be asked to compose a special Matariki song to be performed by a local soloist or choir, an outdoor lighting art event will take place in the evening and local artists will open their studio doors to the public for special meet and greets. A more definitive schedule of events will be announced closer to the time. 


“River of Arts is very much in the early stages of planning, as is Paradise Coast, but we are excited for what’s to come!” says Yvonne. 


You can find Paradise Coast Arts Collective on Facebook, follow them for the latest news and updates. 


For further information or to enquire about joining the Paradise Coast Committee, contact Yvonne Walmsley.  


Article published 9 May 2021


Image Credit: A select few from the Paradise Coast Committee: Front row from left – Jenny Blomely, Reina Cottier, Jo Dalgety, Michael Harrison,  back row from left – Paul Schrader, Yvonne Walmsley. 

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