Landscape architect Ben Cole, artist Katie Thomas and Melissa Reimer in front of the Barn Gallery where small, delicate works are exhibited. Photo courtesy of Kim Newth

Sculpture at Tai Tapu

by Ann van Engelen

Tai Tapu Sculpture Garden is holding its seventh annual autumn exhibition with small and large scale artworks for sale and a growing permanent collection of New Zealand sculpture on display.

“Our March exhibition is for everyone to enjoy a relaxing and inspiring hour or two, just 20 minutes’ drive from Christchurch’s CBD,” says curator Melissa Reimer.

“The property was once a bare one-hectare paddock and is now a thriving sanctuary to native birds and sculpture lovers alike. It is an evolving garden and native regeneration project, so the experience is different every year.

We are committed to supporting contemporary sculpture practice in New Zealand and enhancing native biodiversity in Canterbury.”

More than 8,000 native trees and shrubs have been planted since 2010.

“Our aim is to recreate a podocarp forest of totara, matai and kahikatea. We also have rare or threatened native plants of Canterbury.

The annual autumn exhibition is held during the first three weekends in March, and there are more than 70 artworks for sale.

“The permanent sculpture collection features works by some of the stalwarts of New Zealand sculpture including Graham Bennett, Bing Dawe, Neil Dawson, Andrew Drummond, Alison Erickson, and Llew Summers.

“We also have emerging and mid-career artists exhibiting, including two sculptor majors from the University of Canterbury’s School of Fine Arts. Our exhibiting artists work across a variety of media from local stone to iron, bronze and steel, flax to timber and ceramic, and from the tangible to the ephemeral with a striking work in light.

“The garden is pram and wheelchair friendly and picnickers are welcome during open hours.

“There are two dogs on the property, so if you are bringing yours, please make sure they are well-behaved and on a lead — please take their poop with you.

“Tai Tapu Sculpture Garden is at 199 Cossars Road, Tai Tapu. The first open day is Saturday, March 7 from 11am to 3pm.

“Entry is $10 a person with free on-site parking, no charge for 16 years and under. There is limited cell phone reception and no EFTPOS available.”

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