Kia ora,

One of the things I love about being a Friend of Te Papa is the amazing variety of activities on offer. Over the past month we were enchanted by Maggie Campbell-Pedersen’s talk on shells and pearls, watched glass artist Tony Kuepfer create a delicate glass bowl, discovered the poignant watercolour sketches of  World War I artists Nugent Welch and George Butler, heard the inspiring story behind the Art of Remembrance quatrefoils, learnt about the conservation of the rākau momori (tree carvings) on the ancient karaka trees in the Chatham Islands and spent a morning back in the surprisingly colourful and lively 1950s and 60s, as depicted in Bronwyn Labrum’s beautiful book, Real Modern: Everyday New Zealand in the 1950s and 1960s, which was published by Te Papa Press late last year.

In addition, we enjoyed a very special concert evening, hearing Catherine McKay play Douglas Lilburn’s Sonata (1949) for piano on the fabulous Michael Parekowhai red piano, He Korero. Lilburn’s Sonata first premiered to an audience of artists and art lovers in Helen Hitching’s trailblazing gallery in Wellington. Justine Olsen then talked about the gallery which, with its focus on modernist art and design, introduced fresh ideas about living and design.

Coming up there are more visits to exciting contemporary Wellington galleries and later in the year a very special Friends tour to historic Oamaru and Dunedin. If you have not been on a Friends tour, do come. They are always a fantastic experience and tremendous fun.

Nga mihi nui
Elizabeth Kay