Exhibiting the Gate Pa battle

Two exhibitions at St George’s Church are giving the public a view of local history and enabling community expression through contemporary artwork inspired by the 1864 Battles of Gate Pa and Te Ranga.

With 150-year commemorations unfolding, organiser Debbie McCauley says the exhibitions offer Tauranga residents a chance to learn more about the city’s founding moments – and share their emotions, thoughts and understanding of the events.

Tauranga Waldorf School Year 8 student Maia McCauley, with her entry in the Battles of Gate Pa/Te Ranga Art Competition. Photo: Tracy Hardy.

“I think it’s a significant way to commemorate these incredibly important events in Tauranga’s history; events which both shaped our community and still impact upon it today.

“It’s our history and our story to tell – and these commemorative events are the way we want to tell our story to the rest of the New Zealand and to the world.”

The Battles of Gate Pa/Te Ranga Art Competition Exhibition showcases more than 60 entries from adults and school students.

Student entries have come from Brookfield, Greenpark and Tauriko primary schools, Otumoetai and Tauranga Girls’ colleges, Tauranga Intermediate and Tauranga Waldorf School.

“We’ve received outstanding entrants in both divisions and they are going to be incredibly hard to judge.”

The works are displayed in St George’s Church Hall, refurbished for the event, and many works are for sale, with prices set by the artists.

The adults division winner will be announced at April 28’s Commemoration Dinner.

The mural and school’s division winners will be announced 10am on May 3, at an awards ceremony at St George’s Church.

“It’s a tribute to those warriors and soldiers who fought and died in the battles.”

The Gate Pa Images Exhibition, displayed inside St George’s Church, is a collection of historic images aimed at giving a real depiction of the battles and their era.

“It includes drawings, paintings and photographs of places, events and some of the people who took part in the battles.”

Gate Pa 150th commemoration project director Buddy Mikaere collated the historic images from various New Zealand and overseas sources, says Debbie, who made an exhibition booklet.

Both exhibitions are open to the public weekdays, 9am-12.30pm, until May 3.

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