Gate Pa art exhibition opens

An art competition exhibition opened to the public today is being described as a chance for Tauranga artists – young and old – to express how the feel about the battles of Gate Pa and Te Ranga.

Artist, dignitaries and visitors and Deputy Mayor Kelvin Clout gathered at St George’s Church in Gate Pa this morning at 10am to see the exhibition open.

The artwork at the exhibition today. Photos by Tracy Hardy.

Organiser Debbie McCauley says the exhibition is offering Western Bay of Plenty artists the chance to show Tauranga’s founding moment – and how they feel about it.

“Although there were things going on here prior, the Gate Pa battle was the founding of our city – our Modern Day Tauranga,” says Debbie.

“I think there is a groundswell of support in the community to see the exhibition happen, to honour our history, because it’s our history – not that of any other New Zealand city,” says Debbie.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014, marks the 150-year anniversary of the 1864 Battle of Gate Pa, in which Maori warriors inflicted a stunning defeat on more numerous British Colonial forces.

As well as the fighting, where the Maori were outnumbered almost 10 to one, the battle is known for the Potiriwhi Code of Conduct – which included provisions for respecting enemy wounded and the sparing of women and children – and preceded the Geneva Convention.

Debbie says artists, who submitted their entries to the competition between 9am-12.30pm on Thursday (April 17), were given no brief – only to relate their works to either the 1864 Battle of Gate Pa or the Battle of Te Ranga.

“The art exhibition is a way for artists to show their feelings about the events at Gate Pa and Te Ranga 150 years ago.

“Maybe it’s their thoughts and ideas around those battles – and putting that into an artistic expression.”

With entries now closed, the competition was on offer to Western Bay of Plenty schools and adult artists engaged in painting, mixed media, photography, sculpture, constructions, whakairo (carving) and harakeke (weaving).

The school divisions’ prizegiving is on Saturday, May 3, 2014, at St George’s Anglican Church Hall (Gate Pa). Children’s prizes are murals $200, senior secondary $200, junior secondary $200, intermediate $200 and primary $50.

The adult divisions’ prizegiving will be at the Battle of Gate Pa Commemorative Dinner on Monday April 28, 2014. First prize is $2000 and second prize $500.

Winners’ works will be exhibited at Creative Tauranga in June, 2014.


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