"This is an event to enjoy! I have been to the last six events and have always enjoyed the day out."Featured comment
headland Sculpture on the Gulf
January 25 - February 17
An expanded headland Sculpture on the Gulf outdoor exhibition on Waiheke will leave visitors with a much-enhanced experience, with more activities based around the event.
The exhibition will be the 10th anniversary of the event and to celebrate the milestone the organisers have introduced a number of changes to enhance it for the 40,000-plus expected visitors.
A huge marquee Pavilion on the waterfront at Matiatia will welcome visitors and provide them with a range of activities, hospitality and entertainment, before and after the sculpture walk.
Project manager Nicky Cairns says the event itself is not changing.
“We’re simply adding to it, to make it a more complete ‘Waiheke experience’ for visitors. We have so many talented artists, musicians, winemakers, chefs and producers of all sorts on the island that we want to showcase them and share them with our guests at headland in ways that haven’t been possible until now.”
The Pavilion will cover more than 600sq m and include a dedicated small sculpture gallery, a restaurant, bars and a produce hall. It will offer world-class Waiheke wines, food and music, with wine and artisan beer tastings, artists’ talks and other special events.
The Pavilion will give visitors a “Taste of Waiheke”, with a full daily menu designed by Ana Schwarz (TVNZ Masterchef runnerup 2012) and prepared by French chef Nico Fini of Urban Escargot. Both are Waiheke residents.
“For example, visitors can enjoy twilight walks, followed by superb wines, beautiful food and good music by candlelight, watching the sun set over Matiatia Bay,” Ms Cairns says.
Artistic director Nansi Thompson says the event’s major focus is on the sculptures.
“Our selectors have done a wonderful job and have put together a really interesting combination of works. This year we also have several large impressive works from invited artists in and around the Pavilion, as well as lots of smaller sculptures in the Pavilion gallery.
“So we’re keeping all the great things Sculpture on the Gulf is famous for, and enhancing them. It really will be a complete sensory experience this time,” Ms Thompson says.
The 30 works in the exhibition were chosen by selectors John Gow (co-founder of Sculpture on the Gulf and Connells Bay Sculpture Park), Sue Gardiner of the Chartwell Trust and Lara Strongman, an independent curator from Christchurch.
The sculptures are being judged independently by Rhana Devenport, director of the Govett Brewster Gallery in New Plymouth, and there will be a number of awards with grants to the successful artists.
Another innovation this year is reversing the walk. Visitors will be bused directly from the Pavilion to what used to be the end of the walk, make their way along the sculpture trail and, largely downhill, back to Matiatia, the Pavilion and the ferries.
headland Sculpture on the Gulf Ltd chairman Stephen Tozer says organisers have set out to create a very different event in 2013.
“Our aim is to provide an unforgettable Waiheke experience. A proper welcome and hospitality for our guests, and a stress-free, really enjoyable visit.
“The sculpture walk itself will be as impressive as ever, but there’ll be no concerns about transport, what to do after the walk, where to find food, drink or entertainment. It will all be there at the Pavilion, two minutes from the ferry – a real taste of Waiheke.
"The island’s a special place, and this is going to be a very special event. No doubt about it, it’ll be fantastic!”
The event is open daily from 8.30am. It is free to walk the track, although donations are encouraged, and there will be guided tours.
Major sponsors are Fullers, Westpac, Lexus and gen-i, and for the first time Parsons Brinckerhoff, which also sponsors Sculpture by the Sea in Sydney.
Generous funding has also been received from Creative New Zealand, the ASB Foundation, the Lion Foundation and the Waiheke Local Board.
Artists include Graham Bennett, Konstantin Dimopoulos, Matt Elwood, Fatu Feu’u, Regan Gentry, Gregor Kregar, Peter Lange, David McCracken, Kazu Nakagawa, Phil Price, Terry Stringer and Jeff Thomson.
A regular bus service (every 15-20 minutes) is available to take guests from the Pavilion to the beginning of the walking track.
The service costs $5 per person and tickets can be bought online at www.sculptureonthegulf.co.nz or in the Pavilion.