Trea­sured loans, gifts on show at Ara­toi


What do beer bot­tles, baby clothes, and a mi­cro­scope have in com­mon? All of the items, along with about 30 more, will be dis­played in ‘Gifted’, an ex­hi­bi­tion of re­cent ac­qui­si­tions to the Ara­toi Col­lec­tion.

Gift-giv­ing is an in­te­gral part of mu­seum and Ma¯ori cul­ture. Most ac­qui­si­tions are do­na­tions from mem­bers of lo­cal iwi and the pub­lic, the Friends of Ara­toi, or by the artists them­selves.

With a tiny ac­qui­si­tions bud­get, Ara­toi re­lies heav­ily on this gen­eros­ity, whether monet- ary or in terms of gifts and be­quests. ‘Gifted’ is an en­joy­able ex­am­ple.

You’ll see a mere pounamu, a Chi­nese shawl, a 5lb (2.27kg) honey tin from one of the largest api­aries in the south­ern hemi­sphere, a rare ce­ramic gin­ger beer bot­tle, em­broi­dery, a li­nen cloth from Tener­ife, a carved seat, and WWI mem­o­ra­bilia. Note that the do­nated mi­cro­scope was used in the brew­ing process, and the beer bot­tles (from around 1940) con­tain their orig­i­nal con­tents.

Since 2012, Ara­toi has ac­quired over 130 items for the col­lec­tion, and since 2005, has cared for most of the 145 works of the Rutherford Trust Col­lec­tion, a rich body of mod­ern and con­tem­po­rary art from lead­ing New Zealand artists such as Rita An­gus, Frances Hodgkins, Neil Daw­son, Colin McCa­hon, Anne No­ble, Kura Te Waru Rewiri and Gor­don Wal­ters. Ara­toi has ex­hib­ited the mas­ter­pieces in about 20 shows here in Master­ton, and loaned the work to many mu­se­ums na­tion­wide.

Now, af­ter 12 years, the Rutherford Col­lec­tion is de­part­ing to the Wal­lace Arts Trust, to which the col­lec­tion has been given.

‘‘While it is sad to see the Rutherford Trust Col­lec­tion go,’’ said Bron­wyn Reid, Ara­toi Mu­seum’s col­lec­tions man­ager since 2004. ‘‘It is also an op­por­tu­nity for Ara­toi to en­cour­age and grow a col­lec­tion that is na­tion­ally sig­nif­i­cant and also re­flects the Wairarapa.’’

Gifted, for in­stance, show­cases exquisite work by noted artists, many of whom have con­nec­tions to the Wairarapa: Brid­get Bid­will, Is­rael Birch, James Bragge, Annabelle Buick, Tina Rae Carter, Crys­tal Chain Gang, Re­bekah Farr, Kirsty Gardiner, Gina Jones, Mar­ian Maguire, John Mans­bridge, Paul Martin­son, Gra­ham Percy, Nik Player, Anne Tay­lor, Jake Walker and Harry Wat­son.

Gina Jones’s Un­ti­tled

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