Photo by Mark Tantrum Pataka 2014

It’s all about the people

Pataka is often talked about as having a real ‘community’ feel about it. I often think about what the function of a gallery or museum is and of the benefits it provides to our quality of life. It must extend us, entertain us, educate us and give us some challenges and give us a sense of belonging.

Walking through the gallery, as a part of my daily toil, I have some wonderful conversations with our visitors and I enjoy the diversity of our audience. It is one of my favourite things about working at Pataka. The mother with a baby in a buggy taking time out to enjoy the art works with the baby looking wide eyed and responding to the colours, shapes and forms. My personal favourite, the group of elderly women having a great time talking and debating what art is, or even the college students that have let curiosity get the better of them and they have walked into the gallery and headed for the piece that they think is the coolest. The group of elderly people from a rest home here for a look at our exhibitions and a cuppa at Kaizen. Some people spend a good amount of time studying the works thoroughly and others are here for a quick whip around. It makes me so happy to see children and kids interacting with parents and discussing the works, after all it is about lifelong learning and creating a great connection with a place. These are our regular visitors, our repeat visitors and they are definitely a part of the Pataka community.

It is fascinating seeing how people engage with a gallery space, it will continue to fascinate me. Thanks to those people for the most heart-warming conversations, making me laugh, making me cry, giving me great insights about art and objects and generally adding to what I think Pataka does well. Good on you.

Margaret Tolland: Education Coordinator/Public Programmes



No, this is not the botanic gardens…but it comes a close second!

Zara green thumbs Hawthorne

Karl Maughan has got a lot to answer for. Not only has he prompted an 18 metre long billboard to go up on Pataka’s exterior wall, but also influenced a budding new romance in the office. Zara Hawthorne (Pataka’s invaluable Administration Officer) is in love with a tomato plant!

Now before any readers write in to complain that standards of office etiquette have been breached by such a scandalous affair, calm down, nothing too drastic has gone on here. Zara has been taking advantage of the ideal indoor growing conditions from her office window, combined with some rather questionable “digit assisted” pollination techniques (we don’t have a lot of bees in the office). The result of this dedication is a jungle in her office cubical, with tomatoes galore. Fortunately, while Zara was away on leave, the pollination process didn’t get neglected (thanks to Mary), although this may explain the lack of dialogue between Zara and Mary during morning tea the other day.


For anyone interested in art-based projects of the botanical variety, there’s a great Ted talk by sculptor Sam Van Aken who’s project The 40-fruit tree is well worth a look if you every wondered how many different varieties of stone fruit you could grow on one tree (thank you Martha).

Posted by Stu Forsyth, Design and Marketing Coordinator, Pataka Art + Museum


Thanks Pataka Friends and David Trubridge for Wing

Flying high

The wonderful Friends of Pataka have raised and donated funds to pay for the monumental David Trubridge sculpture, Wing that has been hanging over the reception desk at Pataka so that it can become a permanent fixture in the Spine. The money for this was presented to the Director of Pataka at the Friends AGM on Monday where Helen was the guest speaker.

Helen Kedgley and June Penman at the Friends AGM


Jonathan Mane-Wheoki

It is with sadness and respect that we acknowledge the passing of curator, historian and educator Jonathan Mane-Wheoki. A friend and colleague to many museums, galleries and universities, Jonathan contributed catalogue essays to several Pataka exhibitions. He will be greatly missed.

We recently found a wonderful email Jonathan sent to us back in 2012 – which illustrates his generosity and kindness and his fondness for us, which was very much reciprocated. His last word in the email is especially poignant.

“I have always admired the way in which  Pataka engages with its local communities and found the Plimmerton exhibition exemplary in that respect. The Peter Trevelyan installation was also attractive as was the glass show. But it was the Joe Sheehan exhibition that really captured our attention. It is a beautifully curated and immaculately presented exhibition of work by a deeply impressive artist. I visit a huge number of exhibitions up and down the country and I rarely feel as transformed by the experience of looking and thinking as I was yesterday by the exhibition of Joe’s work. Unforgettable.”


Oh what a lovely Maughaning!

Karl Maughan A Clear Day install shot 3

There’s something about a Karl Maughan painting that makes you want to step into it. Now I’m not suggesting that anyone attempts this, literally, but when confronted by the brilliant colours, dappled light and painterly texture of a Karl Maughan painting, you just want to stroll through it and soak up the goodness. Maughan’s monumental garden paintings are a classic example of how viewing art via the internet or from a book is really no substitute to ‘experiencing’ the work first hand, in the flesh, or at Pataka in this case. We’re excited to have such a beautiful collection of paintings all together under one roof for people to appreciate and marvel at, thanks Karl.

Posted by Stu Forsyth, Design & Marketing Coordinator, PATAKA.