The Arts

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Te Kakano The Seed, Town Basin Whangarei

© Minette Hanekom

Discover galleries and exhibitions showcasing unqiue works of art and craft in all mediums, many of them strongly inspired by Whangarei’s unique cultural, physical and spiritual environment.

Art at the Town Basin

The Town Basin is a great destination to begin to discover the arts and crafts of Whangarei.

The Sculpture Trail

The Sculpture Trail features artworks in a range of media from bronze and limestone to steel, concrete and marble and offer interpretations of the story of Whangarei. Guides are available from Te Manawa The Hub Information Centre at the Town Basin.

Te Kakano (The Seed)

Te Kakano (The Seed) is a small “folly” that is the first step towards building of the Hundertwasser Art Centre with Wairau Maori Art Gallery. Te Kakano has been designed so local craftspeople can master the techniques required for the project.

Galleries & Museums

The Bach gallery offers a diverse range of high quality art and craft from Whangarei and Northland artists. Feel the heat of the furnaces while watching glass blowing expert Keith Grinter at Burning Issues Gallery which specialises in NZ glass, ceramics and jewellery.

Whangarei Art Museum is the permanent home of the city’s art collection, embracing both heritage and contemporary art work to tell the story of the district’s history. The museum features internally curated and national touring exhibitions.

Sculpture Trail,Town Basin

The Legend of Reitu & Reipae, Punga and Wave & Waka, stunning works of art seen on the Sculpture Trail at the Town Basin

Historic Reyburn House

Reyburn House features beautiful permanent works as well as new monthly exhibitions from talented local artists. Home of the Northland Society of Arts, Reyburn House is Whangarei’s oldest house – a New Zealand Historic Places Trust Category 2 listing, built in the 1870s. It is surrounded by beautiful gardens adjacent to the children’s playground at the Town Basin.

Fabulous Artisan Fair Markets

In summer, frequent Artisans Fair Markets on the Canopy Bridge at the Town Basin showcase many works of arts and craft; meet and talk with the artisans themselves.  Supported by entertainers and a great choice of foods and refreshments, these are vibrant gatherings of artists and crafts people with their creations.  

Attractions in Other Areas

In the city centre, Tuatara Design Store has authentic Maori art and taonga (traditional treasures), NZ art, design and clothing.

The Geoff Wilson Gallery at Raumanga is an integral part of the learning experience of art students studying at the NorthTec campus, and features a range of contemporary art including painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture, ceramics, Maori art and installation art.

Helena Bay Art Gallery exhibits established and emerging New Zealand artists, many of which are Northland based, and includes contemporary Mäori and Pacific artists.

The Quarry Arts Centre is a cooperative of artists set within a serene bush-clad former quarry site. Exhibitions are held regularly and artist’s work is available for sale at the shop onsite.

Music, Drama & Dance

Professional and amateur theatre, performance art, opera, rock, jazz and blues, ballet, cheerleading, Scottish dance and more  – there’s always something to keep you entertained and to move you, there’s always a gig to see, there’s always something  to get involved in. Check out what's on in Whangarei right now.

Celebrate

Annual events celebrating art and culture are held throughout the Whangarei District, all year round. Highlights include:

  • The Quarry Summer Do
    The annual “Summer Do” is held in the beautiful and inspirational environment at the Quarry Arts Centre. It is the longest running mixed media summer school in N.Z (currently in its 24th year) and a highlight in the Northland arts calendar
  • Whangarei Sculpture Symposium
  • Artists work at the Town Basin to create sculptures that are inspired by local influences. The symposium ends with an auction and one work is prurchased for public display on the Sculpture Trail.
  • Art Beat
    With more than 60 stalls featuring art, craft, clothing, jewellery, food and more, ArtBeat is Whangarei's biggest interactive art festival. Enjoy continuous entertainment and activities for the kids.
  • Opera in the Garden
    An afternoon of Operatic and musical theatre performances in the beautiful Kenneway garden at Glenbervie.
  • The Whangarei Heads Art Trail
    Held over Easter Weekend, talented artists living on the stunning Whangarei heads peninsula open their studios to the public.
  • Northland Performing Arts Festival
    A celebration of the performing arts; music, dance, performance
  • Matariki Festival
    Whangarei celebrates the Maori New Year with a festival featuring a variety of events, many with a cultural and creative theme.