Outside our doors & within our walls


There are several upgrades happening right now at Depot Artspace.  Clarence Street is getting a full spruce up which includes the pavement outside the Depot being re-laid with a design by Jermaine Reihana, artist and Depot Artspace Maori liaison.  Jermaine’s design represents the 3 maunga of the Devonport Peninsula and takes the form of a Maori triangle weaving motif.

Depot Sound is also undergoing changes to its studios which will allow two separate recording/mixing/editing projects to be undertaken at the same time without interference to the other.  This is a fantastic opportunity for the growing studio which has recently added multimedia production to the services they offer.


Depot Artspace 2019 – questions, concerns and devolopments

“We employ the transformative capacity of the arts to engage, inspire and challenge the community”

This Mission informs our decisions and we almost daily hear stories of how artists, visitors and those using the many Depot services experience meaningful engagement, are inspired in their creative practice and often challenged. Last year we undertook a review of the use of our facilities to determine how fit for purpose they were in relation to our Mission. The Board of Trustees also considered research findings by Linda Blincko concerning changes in the arts and creative sector over the past decade. As a result, we are implementing three changes to our facilities, largely funded by a much-appreciated grant from Lotteries, that will keep the depot in step with the opportunities and challenges of the creative environment both now and into the future. Below is the new internal layout for the Depot and details of these changes that will take place mid-January to early February.

A critical question explored was the viability of galleries, given the development of secondary markets and significant changes in primary arts markets, away from galleries and towards art fairs, charity art auctions, online sales from artists’ personal websites and national and international sites. In our experience, exhibitions that remain popular have most of the following characteristics; they convey meaning, tell a story, build a sense of cultural/historic/local/national identity across a variety of themes, and involve audience participation. We are excited about our 2019 exhibition programme and have accepted proposals from artists that meet these characteristics and we will also be reconfiguring the gallery space in January to better facilitate these exhibitions. The Art Room will be better position and furnished providing a variety of price accessible work from our members for visitors to explore and purchase.

A concern was the off site location of the ArtsLab programme, which has been operating at Whare Toi – Kerr St Artspace for a number of years. Our conversations with creatives tell stories of isolation and a desire to belong to a creative community and network
with other creatives. The Whare Toi is distant from the creative and supportive environment of the Depot with all the creative services and facilities we offer. In response, we are shifting the ArtsLab programme to the Depot Artspace February 2019 and reconfiguring the current Art Room space to provide a workroom for ArtsLab seminars that will also be available for hire by artists and the community. A Hub area for networking and conversation will be established at the rear of the Main gallery with a moveable wall to provide for expansion for events. The high wall in the middle of the gallery, built for the Rembrandt Remastered exhibition will be removed to provide better flexibility of use for the main Gallery

A development need was upgrading Depot Sound Studio 2 to provide for both Studio 1 and 2 operating concurrently. Studio 2 was built in 1997 and sound leakage into Studio 1 occurs through the hay bale walls and lack of ceiling insulation limits its use. The upgrade will provide both a better operational layout and greatly improved insulation so that both Studios can operate concurrently. This will expand the volume and range of work we can do and provide a better workflow for our engineers Dave Rhodes and Morgan Allen.

Our Cultural Icons Re-Homed

The Depot Artspace’s Cultural Icons project brings the wisdom, histories and lives of our most treasured cultural contributors into your own home and now, they too have a beautifully updated new home.

Through the generosity of a Depot Artspace member donation, the support of an ArtsLab website developer and award winning Iceberg website builders, we have been able to rebuild the Cultural Icons website to include a greatly improved user interface and all interviews as fast streaming podcasts. 

It is now even easier to explore the stories of 80 iconic and emerging New Zealand creatives including Nigel Brown, Alison East, Helen Pollock, Terry Stringer, Peter Peryer, Fatu Feu’u, Stanley Palmer, Tony Watkins, Peter Scholes and Mary McIntyre.

The Depot’s Cultural Icons project celebrates people who have shaped New Zealand’s arts & culture scene. A valuable, informative and accessible series of recorded interviews and talks, conducted between contemporaries, with the aim of sharing the histories, stories and experiences of some of New Zealand’s most significant arts and culture contributors.  The project also brings into view those creative contributors who are establishing their place as Icons in the Emerging Icons series.  Emerging Icons include Jermaine Reihana, Drew Hill and Simon Kerr among others.


The interviews are freely available at



When Barack Obama took office he committed to reading 10 letters a day from the 10,000 he received daily from the American people, becoming the first president to put such a deliberate focus on constituent correspon­dence. ‘Late each afternoon, around five o’clock, a selection would be sent up from the post room to the Oval Office. The “10 LADs”, as they came to be known – for “10 letters a day” – would circulate among senior staff and the stack would be added to the back of the briefing book the president took with him to the resi­dence each night. He answered some by hand and wrote notes on others for the writing team to answer, and on some he scribbled “save”.’

Starting in 2010, all physical mail was scanned and preserved. From 2011, every word of every email fac­tored into the creation of a daily word cloud, dis­tri­buted around the White House so policy makers and staff members alike could get a glimpse of the issues and ideas constituents had on their minds.

“I think I understood that if somebody writes a letter and they get any kind of response, that there’s a sense of … being heard,” he said. “And so often, espe­ci­ally back in 2009, 2010, 2011, a lot of people were going through a lot of hardship.

This is an empowering initiative; to know one letter can make a difference, that observations, concerns and sentiments of a citizen, often deeply felt, are not simply by-passed or put in a too-hard basket.

Here is the letter I would send to Jacinda Ardern if Labour took a leaf out of Mr Obama’s book.

14 NOVEMBER, 2018

Dear Jacinda,

I am writing to you in your capacity as Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage, a portfolio you have held for more than a year. Before that, during Labour’s time in opposition you were the spokesperson for that portfolio from 2011.

When Labour won the elections of 2017 it had a strong Arts, Culture and Heritage platform and we were looking forward to PACE (Pathways to Arts and Cultural Employment) being reintroduced and creative internships established.

Jacinda Ardern speaking at Labour’s Arts Policy Launch,
the Depot, 2011, with Arts spokesperson Steve Chadwick

Building Careers
We will ensure the long-term sustainability of the cultural sector through investment in tertiary education and professional development for artists, and a strategic focus on areas of anticipated future growth. Labour will: · Work with education providers, employers, Creative New Zealand, and other invited parties to support the development of measures that support early career cultural workers · Establish ‘Creative Apprenticeships’ as a New Zealand Apprenticeship option for the creative industries This will allow people to combine training and paid employment to acquire a recognised qualification through a mix of on-job and off-job learning · Re-establish the Pathways to Arts and Cultural Employment (PACE) scheme.

PACE has always been an effective programme when targeted to the demographics of the region it is delivered in. During its halcyon days under Helen Clark, Artists Development Agency established by Antony Deaker in Dunedin and Standing Ovation in Wellington run by Biddy Grant are shining examples of programmes whose success grew from the knowledge of the creative sector in their region.

Biddy Grant ran Standing Ovation, which had the Wellington Pace contract.
“It was really, really successful. There were some years when Standing Ovation got the most people off the benefit in the whole of the Wellington region that includes hospitality and retail, and whatever. Most people who came were new graduates with little idea of how to make a living from their skills. There were some woolly stories at the start with people whose best claim to being an artist was “I own a guitar” but they were weeded out.” What happened to the PACE scheme? Tom Fitzsimons. 2.3. 2011

Depot Artspace has successfully run a PACE programme since it was initiated in 2001, working across the whole spectrum of creative disciplines to support more than 2000 creative job seekers into employment. We are known for our responsiveness to the needs of individual practitioners in relation to trends in both the creative sector and socio-economic environment.

Consequently, we continue to develop projects that enhance the prospects of creatives and build the sustainability of the sector. Our latest innovation is a digital platform and community hub, a place to go, for creatives seeking work and employers looking for creatives.

And we have contextualised our services in a well-being index where quality of life is a primary indicator of achievement.

With regard to the issues outlined above, I have a number of observations, which I hope you would be prepared to discuss in the near future:

Here are some of your pre-election policy promises:

  1. Labour was in opposition for nine years and had adequate time to research the viability of their policies. PACE and Creative Apprenticeships have been part of your MCH policy since you were voted out of office. Led by Steve Chadwick, Labour even held a policy launch at the Depot, which included these initiatives.
  2. It is now more than a year since Labour took office and still Arts and Culture languishes while research is undertaken to determine the efficacy of existing programmes and alternatives that could take their place. We have been interviewed 5 times with four different configurations of six people.
  3. We can tell you from our own research and experience, not only in Auckland but in the Hokianga, of the needs of creatives across the spectrum of disciplines and in diverse regions, that one of the big issues is isolation; isolation in practising alone, as a creative who has no reference group, and geographically from networks of other creatives.
  4. Given that you are considering the development of a wellbeing index, this could be an issue you give serious consideration to; it does not need another extensive, time-consuming survey to ascertain what is already evident, and reflected in suicide statistics and mental health.
  5. We know that CNZ, which receives 90% of MCH funding, is undertaking a survey on the needs of professional practising artists to ascertain their needs, from which appropriate resources and services will be developed. You may be interested to know that the previous survey, initiated in 1999, took 4 years to process with the results published in 2003.
    If that’s the time frame then Labour will be into its next term before it makes a practical commitment to arts and culture.


I’m sorry to sound a little testy, Jacinda, as we know you’re committed, but I think we had great expectations of the creative future under a Labour Government and we really did anticipate you would fulfil many of your policy promises rather than return to ‘the drawing board’.

As previously mentioned we’ve talked to a number of researchers in the past 6 months, who are undertaking research and preparing reports which they say will be ready for February, so we’re not holding our breath for rapid change or action. In fact, given their lack of familiarity with the creative sector, we’ve decided to divest ourselves of hope and just get on with the job we do so well; of supporting creatives and the creative sector to develop sustainability.


Nga mihi nui,

Linda Blincko, MA, QSM
Creative Director
Depot Artspace



Opening Event of the 2018 Depot Members Exhibition

We enjoyed a fantastic turn-out at the event opening the much loved Depot Artspace members exhibition ‘Big Little Show’ on

Saturday 3 November.  The walls and gallery are laden with wonderful small works, all available for under $250.

Memories and Promises

Jacinda Ardern at the Labour Party Arts Policy launch at Depot Artspace in 2011. The launch included the commitment to the continuation of PACE and the establishment of Creative Apprenticeships, which the Depot had been advocating for, hence the launch here. MP Steve Chadwick, Arts and Culture Spokesperson, now Mayor of Rotorua, led the event. MPs Darien Fenton and Maryan Street were also in attendance. It was exciting to have so many Labour Party MPs support the Arts and Culture Policy

Depot Artspace Members Exhibition – CALL OUT


Depot Artspace Members Exhibition – CALL OUT

Depot Artspace extends an invitation to all Members to present works for Big Little Show: Members Exhibition 2018, a curated exhibition of small works. See details here or give us a call on on 9632331 to find out more.

PulseArt: Potpourri Opening


At the opening of Potpourri, an exhibition by PulseArt at Depot Artspace, 6 – 24 October 2018

Lesbian art collective PulseArt was formed in 1999 and while only one of the original artists remain in the group, their objective remains;

“We wanted to have a way of expressing our identity without constantly arguing for it. This wasn’t an intentional political act although we are very aware that ‘the personal is political’, nor was it a deliberate act of separatism, but rather a desire to exhibit together in a comfortable and safe space. We wanted greater lesbian visibility.

Our reason for being a lesbian group remains the same; identity is important to us. Some labels are more acceptable than others. Identity politics is now seen as anachronistic. Our desire to maintain it in our current climate of equality has often been seen as unnecessary when we’ve achieved so much. We feel strongly that without asserting our identity we will disappear.

Labels exist. As lesbians we exist. Our art is an important vehicle for claiming who we are – for labelling ourselves ‘lesbian’. It speaks out for us”. PulseArt 2018

BiblioHub – book launches and celebrations

BiblioHub: September 28 – October 3

As part of celebrating Devonport’s rich and diverse literary community, BiblioHub brings together local booksellers, book-makers, book writers of all genre, and book lovers.

BiblioHub events at Depot Artspace included book launches by local authors Geoff Allen and Mickey Smith; Michael King:  A Commemoration by the Michael King Writers Centre in the Vernacular Lounge;  Frank Sargeson – 70th Anniversary of the Sargeson House and displays from Paradox Books, Devonport Library Associates, Flagstaff, Bookmark and Depot Press.

BiblioHub is Depot Artspace’ inaugural celebration of Devonport’s rich literary community; its writers, writing collectives, readers clubs’, book outlets and bibliophiles .

Devonport may have the biggest population of writers, aficionados and affiliates, along with its significant literary heritage, in Aotearoa and BiblioHub is here to celebrate this phenomenon.

This is our first event and we have hardly touched the surface of this fertile field, but we hope to have planted a small garden which, by this time next year will have borne more splendid fruit.

Guests enjoyed launching Mickey Smith’s latest book,  As You Will: Carnegie Libraries of the South Pacific at Depot Artspace on Saturday, as part of Depot’s BiblioHub.

As you Will is available online through the publisher Te Tuhi and at selected bookstores.


Depot Artspace, publisher Makaro Press, Geoff Allen and guests celebrate his new publication Fairies of Down Under and other Pakeha Fairy Tales.  The book is available through Makaro Press and selected bookstores.