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Local associations join forces for fundraiser


Words & Photos by Julia Wade 
5 MF-Sculpturegarden6-478A collaboration between two significant Mangawhai associations has resulted in a recent successful fundraising event and proved to be yet another testament to the extraordinary and diverse artistic talent that resides in the area. 

Social services organisation, Te Whai Community Trust (TWCT) and Mangawhai Art Inc (MAI) joined forces and coordinated the weekend outdoor exhibit, Sculpture in the Park, held on February 24-25, to showcase creations of 22 mainly local artists. 

MAI chair, Mary-Anne Boyd, says the sculpture weekend was a wonderful community event with enjoyment and inspiration for all ages.
“We are so fortunate in Mangawhai with our artistic and musical talents, great teamwork and caring attitudes," she says. “Bright colours and whimsical art forms in the trees contrasted with works close to nature, including a special memorial tribute to Joy Agar, a highly-regarded local artist leader and MAI founder, who passed away five years ago.” 

TWCT member Isabel Hollis and husband Brian opened their home on Moir Street, Mangawhai Village, for the event, allowing visitors to wander around the lush gardens to view a range of sculptures created from a variety of media including driftwood, glass and mosaic as well as more surprising materials such as barbed wire, tinfoil and even beach trash.  

Local band Raw Jam, featuring Mangawhai wood artist Larry Park who also had work on display, enticed guests to relax in the grounds and enjoy a freshly prepared Devonshire tea. 

With more than 500 people coming through over the two days, raising $2500 with proceeds being split between the two groups, Hollis says the event exceeded the organiser’s expectations.

“We were kept very busy baking scones, think we made over 140 Devonshire teas,” she says. “It was nice to see people enjoying the music, either sitting on the deck or laying out on the lawn with smiles on their faces.”

TWCT’s share will be primarily going towards establishing a foodbank, something Te Whai has been ‘doing on the side’ for a while, Hollis says. 
“Whenever we’re told of a family struggling we’ll make up a parcel from donations we have and deliver it,” she says. “People are welcome to donate non-perishable foods at Te Whai’s office and can also call us to nominate recipients.” 

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 Te Whai is run by volunteers dependent on grants, sponsorship and donations and offers a range of social services and classes. For more information drop in to the office, Pioneer Village, Molesworth Drive, Mon 9am-12pm and Thurs 1pm-4pm, email tewhaitrust@gmail.com or check in with Te Whai Community Trust Mangawhai on Facebook.

1 or 1a & 1b:  Visitors relax to the mellow tunes of local band Raw Jam under the wise gaze of the ‘Watchmen’, two stunning works from Mangawhai wood sculptor and musician Larry Parks’ Out of the Wood series. Parks (sunglasses, white shirt) spends hours searching NZ’s rivers for driftwood including red and white beech and rimu, sculpting and enhancing the natural forms, colour and beauty that lie within each piece of wood.   

2: Claire Benson’s playful silver-foil figurines of girls hanging in a tree delighted visitors, with all three artworks selling on the Saturday. The art facilitator recently redirected her creative talents away from a paintbrush to sculpting, finding a new enjoyment with three-dimensions, especially sculpting the female form.  

3 & 3a: Although she has been gone five years, artist and creator of the Mangawhai Art Society, Joy Agar, is certainly not forgotten. Pieces of her original work were on display including an over-sized fish hook and woven basket, both made from barbed wire, as a dedication to the inspiring woman and artist. 

4 or 4a: Colourful in person and art, self-taught glass sculptor Pauline Mann’s love for translucent colour and materials is infused through her work. The former art teacher’s creative talents can also be found adding a splash of colour to local public venues including The Dune Cafe.

5: Rising dramatically out of the lawn, Aaron Ellis-Smith’s astonishing macrocapa dragon drew more than a few admirers. The local wood carver and forest lover says he particularly feels inspired working with the unique character of swamp kauri due to the timbers ancient age and knowing no further felling or damage to NZ’s native forest will occur through its use.

6: Early morning beach walks with Florence the dog were the inspiration for Jude Knight’s sculpture. ‘What on earth are we doing?’ is solely made from debris washed onto or left along Mangawhai’s coastline and is a reminder for all to consider our beautiful blue, green planet. 

9: Individual chess pieces shows the quality and uniqueness of Wellsford full-time sculptor Boud van de Bemd’s talent. The Dutch-born artist has a long list of art experience from watercolour, life drawing and sculpting including working at Te Hana’s Art Factory with renowned master carver Jerry Strongman, who passed away in January. 

The Mangawhai Focus is the only 'Mangawhai' community Newspaper and is the paper of choice within the local area.

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