Kia ora

It has been wonderful to see so many of you at the many Friends events over these last few weeks. We have certainly had a busy time, with a steady number of hugely enjoyable and enriching events, including several with overseas experts. We were thrilled to be able to offer you talks by two speakers who were in Wellington for the recent International Symposium, Myriad Faces of War: 1917 and its Legacy – Joseph McBrinn and Madelyn Shaw. And it was a delight to hear from Andrea Tarsia, Head of Exhibitions at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, on the history of the Royal Academy which is currently undergoing renewal to be ready for its 250th birthday in 2018. Thank you for your enthusiastic support of these events. I know all the speakers very much enjoyed the chance to talk at Te Papa and to meet many of you.

You may have noticed much activity going on behind the screens on Level 4, as building work for the new art spaces gets underway. We will bring you a chance to hear about progress very soon.

The Friends Committee and Management have also been very busy, as we prepare our annual accounts and reports to be ready for the AGM on 20 June. This is the time of year to review the membership of the Friends committee, to make sure we have the necessary strengths and skills as we undertake another exciting year of Friends activities. If you would be interested in joining the committee, please do get in touch.

Next week I am looking forward to a very special evening of Shakespeare and art with Dr Mark Stocker on Wednesday 17 May and on Sunday 21 May a fascinating talk by renowned Wellington collector Walter Cook.  Walter will talk about Liberty & Co, which had a strong presence on the arts in New Zealand in the late 19th and early 20th century. Like me, I am sure many of you still treasure a few of those beautiful Liberty scarves acquired on visits to that famous Regent Street store.

Nāku noa, nā

Elizabeth Kay