by Jenny Chamberlain
Summer really starts in Kaukapakapa with the Kaipara Coast Sculpture Gardens annual exhibition opening. This is the event’s eighth year and every time owners and organisers Geraldine and David Bayly, plus exhibition curator Sally Lush, order up a beautiful early summer day – perfect for guests to wander along the pathways of their stunning country garden and view for the first time the more than 40 new works on display.
The new show, titled “EXHIBITION 2016 – Under Kaipara Skies”, launched to an enthusiastic audience of around 200 on Saturday 5 December. Fortified with chilled bubbles, wood-fired pizzas, strawberries, hand-made Christmas star cookies and real country lemonade – all served at refreshment stations set up round the garden – guests admired works by national and international artists as well as artists from Helensville area. Andrew Denton exhibited chairs made from repurposed hub caps in our Outdoor Dining experience and Anne Cranes work Twin Towers looks at the effects of sediment run off from rampant development around Auckland for housing and its adverse effect on marine life.
Denise Marshall also from Helensville has carved faces and animals into fallen logs in her work The secret life of trees.
This year, owners of the Sculpture Gardens David and Geraldine Bayly took on the challenge to create an installation piece. What is at the top of your ladder? Is a series of ladders dotted around the orchard written with quotes to challenge you to look at your life and to respond by writing a short thought or reflection on one of the cut-out fruit provided and adding it to those already hanging on the tree.
The Sculpture Garden’s main walking trail is one kilometre long and includes areas of native bush, orchards, ponds, “Grandma’s Garden” – a traditional heavily flowered herbaceous border, a tribute to David Bayly’s grandmother.
Local Rodney schools have also participated this year with students from Stella Maris and Waioneke Schools decorating the “Baby Barn” bus-stop style shelters dotted around the paths and lawns for shade and shelter from any rain showers that may pass.
Music is essential to the experience. This year playing by the Puhoi Ramblers drifted across the rambling roses and there was even some impromptu harmonica accompaniment by artist John Rawson from Wharehine. Under Kaipara Skies is on show all year and the gardens are an easy 35 minute drive from the harbour bridge.
A visit annually is essential as all the featured artworks are different and to see how the gardens change, grow and develop over time.
Kaipara Coast Sculpture Gardens are located at 1481 Kaipara Coast Highway, SH16, 4km north of Kaukapakapa, Auckland
Open 7 days 9am to 5pm. Last admissions 4pm. Closed Christmas Day and Anzac Morning.
Admission charges apply see website for details www.kaiparacoast.co.nz
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by Jenny Chamberlain