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.



Picking up art work from private lenders or artists.

One of the most important parts of curating and organising an exhibition is the pickup of loaned artworks or objects.  These works are borrowed from institutions, private lenders or private collections. In liaison with the artists a selection of works is chosen and owners are contacted and loan agreements negotiated. The Curator of the exhibition and the Registrar then organise the pick up of the works.

When we travel away to another part of the country we already know the size, medium and condition of the work and take appropriate packing material. With private lenders it is very normal to be taking the work off the wall in the lounge and wrapping it for travel. This is a good time to finally put a ‘face to a name’ as you may have been corresponding or talking to this person for over a year, thank them for their loan and let them know that their treasure is in safe hands. Private lenders love to be able to share their art!

Picking up artworks is a very rewarding part of the job, you get to meet collectors, artists and colleagues from other institutions and you get to handle beautiful things.

Posted by Laureen Sadlier, Museum Registrar, PATAKA Art + Museum



    for up to date information
    on exhibitions & events