Author Archives: Depot Artspace


“You want a prediction about the weather?…….. It’s going to be cold, it’s going to be dark and it’s going to last you for the rest of your lives!” Phil O’Connor, in Groundhog Day, 1993

Jerry Howlett: Ascend, 2019 (diorama – mixed media)

Groundhog Day refers to a 1993 film where a TV weatherman who, during an assignment covering the annual Groundhog Day event, is caught in a time loop, repeatedly reliving the same day. He does this for 10 years until a revelation causes him to break this pattern and consciously move on.

We met recently with two policy advisors from Ministry of Culture and Heritage (MCH) about Artists Resale Royalties, an issue being revisited after more than twelve years when the Labour Government produced a detailed discussion document including international research and analysis and referencing the changing creative landscape of Aotearoa.  New research is being undertaken, a new report will be written by MCH policy advisors and once completed will be presented to Government for consideration or to the public for consultation. In the meantime, 81 countries have adopted ARR.

One of our team members also attended a workshop in Wellington where the needs of creatives were discussed with a view to supporting sustainability by providing appropriate career and business development services. This discussion has also been ongoing since 2007 with a raft of initiatives researched and posited and in some instances added to policy – for example, Creative Internships and the reintroduction of PACE (Pathways to Arts and Cultural Employment). In 2009 we met with the founder of a recently established UK agency, Creative and Cultural Skills, invited to NZ to discuss internships and apprenticeships, and the potential for establishing a creative sector Industry Training Organisation (ITO). While this agency has since provided and brokered 1000’s of apprenticeships in the UK, NZ has made no commitment to such a service, despite policy promises and ongoing research identifying the need.

Creative NZ completed a survey on the needs for artists, which identified three priorities:

  1. Fair reward – working towards:
  • ensuring lower-paid creative professionals are paid in line with technical professionals
  • lifting pay to the point where creative professionals start to feel it is a fair reward for their work.
  1. Sustainability – working to make the careers of mid-career and established creative professionals more sustainable through more continuous creative endeavours.
  1. Emerging creative professionals – working with the sector to find better ways to support creative professionals at the start of their career.

These outcomes were identified in much earlier research and formed part of Labour’s Arts Policy from at least 2011. Depot Artspace has been both advocating for and delivering services that address each of these issues since 1999 when we set up a mentoring scheme for creatives and most recently an online platform, Revolution Creative that supports sustainability.

In her newly released book Promises, Promises Claire Anderson addresses the question of why political parties continue to repeat promises, even over decades, that they never keep and asserts we continue to be wooed by the dream of what might be.

And so, while the strategists and policy makers busily beaver away revisiting, reviewing, revising and reproducing reports that address the needs and hopes of creatives identified over decades, the creative sector continues to languish. 

Since 2002, we have:

  • Run Helen Clark’s innovative PACE/ArtsLab programme. For 18 years we have proven the value of professional development for creatives as we continue to run the most comprehensive and successful arts employment programme in Aotearoa.
  • Successfully run and brokered apprenticeships and internships and subsequently advocated for a national scheme supported by an ITO to ensure regulated and recognised training. From 2007 we lobbied for an internship scheme and a creative ITO that would establish training criteria and outcomes for the sector. In 2009 we were invited by MCH to meet Tom Bewick who headed a new UK- agency, Creative and Cultural Skills, set up to develop, deliver and broker creative apprenticeships.  Ten years later we are no closer to this objective while CCS has run and supported 1000’s of apprenticeships.
  • Documented and made public the successes of internships, along with the extent of exploitation when they are not regulated.
  • Advocated for legal assistance for artists and established a Creative People’s Centre where legal information was freely available online.
  • Supported the call for Artists Resale Royalties to assist sustainability by undertaking research and producing a book on the subject. 


We appreciate the 2017 post-election imperative of Mark Amery regarding government’s commitment to the arts, but we doubt whether even the sector itself can activate necessary structural change, at least for as long as we put faith in promises. 

If this new government really values the arts, it now needs to start acting with real vision to its potential to impact across society at every level. That requires assistance from those who know the potential of the arts – the sector itself – to shape and activate that vision. Mark Amery 2017 Advocating for the Arts on The Big Idea

So we have our reference to Groundhog Day, where the life of the hapless star is a nightmare of repetition – and approximates our own efforts at making a difference  to creative sector sustainability, except that our nightmare has being going on for much longer.

Jerry Howlett: The Fall, 2019 (diorama –mixed media)



Depot Artspace is a socially conscious creative hub. We employ the transformative capacity of the arts to engage, inspire, and challenge the community. We are guided by the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi: partnership, protection and participation.

In 2006, Depot Artspace hosted a meeting with Dr Ron Colman, world authority on progress indicators. Dr Colman is universally recognised for his work on a GPI (genuine progress indicator). He is head of GPI Atlantic, which created Nova Scotia’s Genuine Progress Index and is currently an adviser to the Royal Government of Bhutan on maximizing the country’s Gross National Happiness.



Much as I’m opposed to over-utilised, populist aphorisms there’s one that’s particularly pertinent to our previous posting on advocacy and activism. It’s ‘walking the talk’ and the piece by Jermaine Reihana is an example of this as he describes Depot Artspace exhibition Te Kuia Moko, prints of the lost paintings by Harry Sangl. Rather than continuously engage in a fruitless search for the works, Depot with the invaluable assistance of Soar Print produced prints of the originals in honour of painter Harry Sangl’s 97th birthday.



Peace posters workshop based on Nigel Brown’s peace painting


These days advocates outnumber activists and nowhere is this more evident than in the current creative sector. Academics, bureaucrats, politicians and other self-ascribed experts jostle for a place as harbingers of change but doing does not seem part of their change vocabulary. Hence, the wheels of progress move exceedingly slow. The plethora of reports produced over many years, decades even, about the same identified issues attest to this. As grassroots activists we advocate for a recalibration of the  bureaucratic machine.

A couple of treadmills Depot Artspace finds itself returning to are creative internships and artists’ resale royalties. In both instances 12 years have ticked by since they featured on the political radar.


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.



It’s now over a year since the Labour led government was voted in, with an agenda for the arts and culture which created a lot of optimism. At Depot Artspace we were particularly enthusiastic about the reintroduction of PACE and the initiation of creative apprenticeships/internships, especially after the drought in support for the creative sector over the previous decade.

Depot has offered PACE since early 2002, although in 2010 we were unable to apply the acronym to our programme, changing the name to ArtsLab. Before that, we ran our own creative industries mentoring scheme for 3 years, funded by J. R. McKenzie Trust (Arts Incubator Mentoring Scheme, AIMS) for which we won a Civic Award.



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



The Depot has been in the art world for twenty-one years now and continues to remain sustainable by being perspicacious, predictive and proactive.  We have been researching the changes in the art world.


We first discussed the state of the arts in 2003. We explored the notion that an increasing preoccupation with fiscal matters led to the commodification of almost everything; that our society was one where, as Oscar Wilde famously observed, “everything has a price and nothing has value.”   Included now in this commodified world, with its concomitant characteristics, including conspicuous consumption and investment potential, are the arts.

We noted that the shameful sale of Colin McCahon’s “Storm Warning” in 1998 by Victoria University to a private collection presaged in both the act and the substance of the work some of these major social trends, which finally filtered into the NZ art scene.  McCahon bequeathed the work with the expectation it would remain on public display. The text of “Storm Warning” prophetically read:

‘YOU MUST FACE THE FACT The final age of this world is to be a time of troubles. Men will love nothing but money and self.  They will be arrogant, boastful and abusive, with no respect for parents, no gratitude, no piety, no natural affections, they will be implacable in their hatreds. PAUL TO TIMOTHY.’


Storm Warning, Colin McCahon 1980 synthetic polymer paint, unstretched canvas

In a lecture titled “Money, Power and Contemporary Art” (2004), Los Angeles Gallery Director Robert Shapazian** warns that “within the world of contemporary art, works of art are traded like a commercial article….Art has become an ornament to power, celebrity, big money and control.”

We see very little let-up in this fiscal focus on the arts, but we have observed significant changes which relate to the ways and means art is marketed and sold, some of which unfortunately exclude the artist from any personal financial benefit.

  • The secondary arts market is going mad, with sales by auction houses reaping millions of dollars and sidelining artists, and the galleries which have supported them in the past. No rewards accrue to artists whose works are on sold at auction.
  • A work purchased at auction may also be a fraction of the cost a dealer gallery will sell it for. In some instances a work by a well-known artist may be less expensive than that of an emerging artist, which has significant implications for an emerging arts scene. Our publication, Artist Resale Royalties Aotearoa, ARRA, revised 2017, documents research into the possible income of artists who would receive a royalty if their work sold on the secondary markets and on that basis advocates for a resale royalty.
  • There is also a proliferation of other means for selling work, such as a variety of online sites from Trade me, which is non-selective and enables the artist to list their own works, to Ocula, a fine-arts, on-line gallery. On-line art sales are more prolific than when we first addressed this subject in 2004. This is also true for art fairs run for both charitable and commercial purposes.
  • Also there’s a far greater blurring of what defines ‘art’. YouTube, digital media, blogs etc. and greater links between art and design encourage the concept that anyone can be an artist. Also art’s becoming increasingly a life style/leisure activity like cafes, wineries etc. Venues for seeing art are opening up – artists are opening their studios and houses for showings and home galleries are on the rise too.”

Here at the Depot we constantly question how, under such circumstances of change, we can best meet the needs of artists. Galleries are no longer a great source of sales, as we witness through the closure of art galleries both locally and internationally, and as artists take their creative sustainability into their own hands. The establishment of personal websites with online sales facilities, the connection with the organisers of school and other charity art fairs are means by which artists are building their own audience and potential buyers.

As a result the Depot realises it may be able to support artists more effectively in the following ways:

  • Offering professional development services to artists; assisting them to design websites, to draw audiences to their websites, to prepare artists’ statements that attract and interest audiences, and to offer advice on materials, technique and marketing.
  • Providing workspaces where artists are able to work on projects and to collaborate.
  • Offering opportunities for participation in shows that do two things:
  1. Build a community of support for artists; they are not alone and nor is their profession without recognition and value.
  2. Develop and promote the creative critical mass that showcases the local community as rich in the arts which contribute to its identity, vibrancy and economic sustainability.

In a recent article, titled The Future of Art Galleries, Mark Adams notes that many galleries are attempting to build a sense of community. “One trend I have noticed recently is how galleries will sponsor workshops or an in depth demo from their artists.  They have become more than just an art gallery, but built a community where people can buy art, learn how to make art, or just talk to people about art.”

We are aware also that the arts contribute more to society than an additional economic stream. The arts are kept alive in our society not by the incentive of an income but by the passion and calling of artists. If the production of art were governed by the profit motive it is unlikely that the arts would feature significantly in the lives of so many practitioners. And how much more impoverished would we be both as a culture and a society if this was the case. Thus, to value art on a dollar basis or to be is to under-value it at any price, for the arts emanate from and are an expression of the human spirit which is itself definable in what it creates.

In “The Story of Utopias” (1922) visionary social philosopher, Lewis Mumford, made the following observation: “A community whose life is not irrigated by art and philosophy, is a community that exists only half alive. The fundamental values of a true community are to found in poetry, art, music and the free use of the imagination…the production of non-profit-making goods, the enjoyment of non-consumable wealth. Here are the sustaining values of a living culture.”

These words, like those on McCahon’s “Storm Warning”, are harbingers of dire possibility when we neglect who we truly are and succumb to the gross and transient pleasures of commodity fetishism in which art also becomes implicated; the victims of a world-wide phenomenon.

Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri’s Warlugulong was reportedly bought for A$1,200, but in 2007 it went for
A$2.4m ($2.2m) at Sotheby’s in Melbourne, an auction record for an indigenous work


*Commodification is a process “in which something enters freely or is coerced into a relationship of exchange, a transaction enabled by an instrument of payment…..Parties in this exchange identify themselves as owners.” Rainer Ganahl “Free Markets: Language, Commodification and Art”

**Robert Shapazian has master’s and doctorate degrees in literature and fine arts from Harvard University. He has worked extensively with artists, museums, curators and private art collectors.


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”.’



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.






Grassroots and Change

Kuini Karanui speaks at the Turangawaewae: Sense of Place exhibition at Depot Artspace

‘Grassroots’ is defined as ‘community-engaged’; grassroots are the people in and of a community, as contrasted with those at the top, ‘the leadership or elite of a private or government organisation.’

Depot Artspace is proudly grass roots. From this point it keeps an ear to the ground, the place where people stand – their turangawaewae – and from which, if nurtured, things grow and are sustained.

Over nearly more than two decades, the Depot has developed facilities, services and new initiatives that respond to the needs and interests of the creative community, both local and beyond. These include: galleries; recording and rehearsal studios; ArtsLab, the biggest professional development programme for artists nationally; creative internships research and development; Cultural Icons, a filmed interview series (78 interviews so far) with people who have been significant in the cultural landscape; Depot Press, including ‘The Vernacularist’ journal, W’akaputanga, Turangawaewae/Sense of Place and LOUD magazine.



Arts and culture have taken a bad beating across the country this year. The following is a litany of losses, both imminent and already undertaken:

  • The closure of the Elam Arts School and School of Architecture Libraries
  • The dire under-funding of Auckland Art Gallery resulting in threats of closure or charging entry fees
  • The cutting of Te Papa collections staff
  • The closure of a number of regional galleries including Manawa, Rotorua Museum and Southland Museum and Art Gallery
  • The threatened cutting of an art history course at Southland Institute of Technology
  • The downsizing of NZ’s biggest architectural firm Jasmax, with significant staff cuts


The Photographer as Nature’s Friend

It’s no secret that our native flora and fauna are under threat of extinction. From the kauri to the dotterel the extent of loss to Aotearoa of living taonga is heart breaking.


A report produced in 2017 by the Ministry for the Environment documents the profound effects on the bird life of Aotearoa and in doing so offers up a challenge to reverse this potential devastation.


MāoriGrl in the Context of Atua Wahine [Videos]

On Sunday 8 July we were privileged to have renowned researcher and author Dr Aroha Yates Smith and her daughter Kahurangiariki Smith hosting a special artist talk discussing the development of the video game MāoriGrl in relation to Yates-Smith’s thesis Hine! E Hine! Rediscovering the Feminine in Maori Spirituality (1998).

Together they expanded on the story of Hine-nui-te-pō and other atua wāhine (Māori goddesses) presence in today’s world, the reciprocal interaction of ancestors and descendants taking care of the environment, and the relevance of atua wāhine in Aotearoa’s society today.


Here is Part One and Part Two of the Artist Kōrero: MāoriGrl in the Context of Atua Wahine that was live streamed on our Facebook page – Sunday 8 July 2018 [1pm – 2:30pm]

MEDIA RELEASE: Aotearoa forest, flora and whenua enrich Depot Artspace gallery for Matariki 2018

Two thought-provoking exhibitions honouring the natural environment will be on display at Depot Artspace from 14 to 25 July for the Matariki Festival 2018.

Forest has the Blues is a printmaking installation project that draws the unique plant life of Aotearoa into the gallery space to boldly question the limits of plant regrowth and regeneration in a high density urban environment like Auckland.

In keeping with this theme, the exhibition Whenua: Land curated by Depot Artspace Māori Liaison, Jermaine Reihana, celebrates distinctive perceptions of and relationships to whenua of artists both past and present.


Click here for the full media release. 


Image credit: Celia Walker (top artwork), Takuranga by Richard Joughin (bottom artwork)

Vision and values in Auckland’s urban design: Shaping a liveable city

Arts in Action envisions a society enriched by the values that influence decision making across all disciplines and forms of practice.

Creative thinking is at the nub of social change because it offers alternative ways of viewing what is often regarded as fixed and non-negotiable, being attached to a dominant ideology.


Richard Reid is a visionary architect whose values inform and shape his work. When he returned to Aotearoa in 1997 he added a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture to his degree in Architecture in order to understand and integrate into his practice the natural and social environments of Aotearoa. He established his own practice in 2001 and continues to actively contribute to community and environmental groups, in particular the Auckland Volcanic Cones Society (2003-07) and Ngataringa Bay Society (2007-2011).


Kerr St Artspace becomes Whare Toi with unique blessing ceremony

Tuesday, July 3, Takarunga Mt Victoria

6am, and the maunga wears its fading korowai of night. There are stars still and the moon at half-mast. Below us the baubled city stands to attention.


We are gathered in the arms of Takarunga, mana whenua, manuhiri, kaitiaki, community, those for whom the maunga is home, guide, companion and seer, to bless Kerr St Artspace with a new name, Whare Toi which signifies our relationship with Tupuna Maunga Authority and honours our attachment to Takarunga.

Among us are Roger Giles of the Bunker, Jan McEwan and Tania Stewart of MKWC, David Wright, Director of the Navy Museum, Council and Local Board representatives, Chris Darby, Richard Hills and Mike Cohen, TMA members Paul Puru, Dominic Wilson and Nick Turoa and Depot Artspace whanau, represented by Jermaine Reihana who speaks to the kaupapa of the Depot which brought us to Takarunga more than 15 years sgo.

Whare Toi is blessed by kaumatua Jim Rauwhero and kaikaranga caller Dolly Tai Rakena both gifted by ancestry tupuna with the whakapapa of the maunga.

Each of us follows them through the building, touching its wooden bones, acknowledging its presence on Takarunga for 7 decades or more, and its constant service to this community; as a post-war transit house for those waiting to be re-homed, as one of Auckland’s early community houses, as a youth employment centre and now as an arts hub offering arts classes and a professional development programme for creatives.

As the sun rises we share kai and some good conversation with our community of friends, old and new, and with hearts warmed and bellies content we take our leave from Whare Toi.

Kahurangiariki Smith interviewed by Radio New Zealand for MāoriGrl exhibition

The very talented Kahurangiariki Smith was interviewed by Te Manu Korihi reporter John Boynton from RNZ last week about her #debutsoloshow MāoriGrl!

“Kahurangiariki made the game over a year as part of an art project, and with a limited background in gaming and programming she found the process tough.

I just wanted to bring back this knowledge about atua wāhine like Hine-nui-te-pō – her in particular because she’s been kind of demonised over the years.

I’d love to expand on this story and expand more on mum’s thesis and the atua wāhine she mentions there.”


Click here to read the full article on the RNZ website! 

Life, Art and Community: A Sunday with Auckland City Mission artists at Depot Artspace

The Depot Artspace ethos embraces the arts community in all its aspects and attributes. The arts have a universal voice with which all are able to speak. This month we have been honoured to host the artists of the Auckland City Mission whose works are showcasing at the Depot Gallery in their second exhibition.

Clare Caldwell, Visual arts Tutor with the Mission, spent Sunday at the Depot Gallery along with the exhibiting artists, enjoying kōrero (conversation) with interested visitors, and sharing their hearty lunch.

Here is Clare’s colourful story of the day.

Auckland City Mission: Life & This Is Where I Live

Read the full article HERE

Life by Auckland City Mission opens Saturday 23 June, 2pm in the Main Gallery.

Many thanks to Stuff journalist Matthew Rosenberg for sharing this meaningful story.

MEDIA RELEASE: Emerging artist brings atua wāhine (Māori Goddess) story to life with immersive digital installation for Matariki 2018.

“It feels fitting to open my first public show during Matariki, celebrating atua wāhine, Māori knowledge and community within such a transformative time. I hope our old stories can resonate with people of all ages and backgrounds. To be able to share these stories is an honour.”


Kahurangiariki Smith is many things; fine arts student, artist, storyteller, video game developer and most importantly, advocate for indigenous art.

Her debut solo exhibition, MāoriGrl, combines installation and a role-playing platformer video game that reinvents the story of Hine-tītama /Hine-nui-te-pō, the woman who became the goddess of death in Māori mythology.

Click here for the full media release.

MEDIA RELEASE: Auckland City Mission and Depot Artspace host mixed-media exhibition with a global twist.

“Our previous collaboration with Auckland City Mission succeeded in deconstructing stereotypes at all levels. Homelessness is not a defining characteristic of a human being, it’s a situation some people are going through,” says Depot Artspace Creative Director, Linda Blincko. “The exhibition produced significant work. These artists have lives aside from the identity they are given. It’s important to continue to remind people of this.”


Depot Artspace is thrilled to once again host artists from the Auckland City Mission Arts Activities programme in a unique mixed-media exhibition.

Opening Saturday 23 June in Devonport, Life will feature art works from some of Auckland’s inner-city rough sleepers and marginalised people, as well as the global art exchange project, This Is Where I Live.

Click here for the full media release.


Arts in Action: The transformative power of creative leadership

Inspiring creative leadership has the capacity to transform a workplace, a community, a region or a country. The creative mind can provide new insight into ongoing issues that are continually plied with the same unsuccessful solutions. A few inspirational leaders have shown the significant difference that innovative solutions are able to make and Depot Artspace has been fortunate to take part in their initiatives.

“I have wanted to meet Jason Smith from 2011, the time I encountered his work as Senior Policy Advisor for the Ministry of Culture and Heritage where he produced a cultural map of Auckland which was initially displayed on the Auckland Council website.” Read More…

Walking, one sense at a time #smell

Our latest addition to Arts in Action is a piece by Iryna Zamuruieva that we received from our call out for submissions. Iryna is an artist, arts activist, researcher and project manager, who has developed an urban walking experience project for the CBD neighbourhood. She has designed a series of walks that will encourage the participants to re-experience city in a playful way. Her first sense-walk took place on Saturday 2 June in the Auckland CBD.

“I would like to believe there is another way – a deeply attentive one, the one where the smells are sniffed, sounds heard, textures touched, and tastes are tasted. Walking this way transforms the city space from a transit zone where a route may be just a way from one destination to the other, into a place where a different kind of experience is co-created, different kind of relationships with material or abstract things are made and maybe even curious questions about the things are emerge“…read more…

Photo credit: Iryna Zamuruieva

MEDIA RELEASE: Anarchism features large at Depot Artspace for the 2018 Auckland Festival of Photography.

“More often than not, art is about pushing the boundaries, breaking the rules and exploring infinite creativity. Depot Artspace is celebrating the 2018 Auckland Festival of Photography by hosting two exhibitions that challenge its theme of Control.”


Here is the official media release for our latest exhibitions; Walk: An antithesis to the decisive moment and Out of Control, both included in the 2018 Auckland Festival of Photography programme.