Topic: Learn history for the future

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Tauranga and our surrounding area has a rich and colourful history yet how often do we stop and think about the interesting, sometimes tragic events that shaped our history? As we lead our busy modern day lives it is easy to forget the people and happenings that took place where we now live.

Heeni Booth by Bryce BrownThese stories about our eventful local history are the subject of Tauranga artist Bryce Brown's new series of paintings.
The first painting of the series depicts the now famous story of Heeni Te Kiri Karamu giving water to the mortally wounded Lt. Colonel Booth at the Battle of Gate Pa in 1864.  In this beautiful picture we see human compassion in a time of gruesome conflict when our area resounded to the din of desperate war.  

In this series, Bryce is asking us to look at and consider finding out more about our local history so that we can move forward together armed with knowledge, understanding and a desire to seek healing for some of the very human actions and frailties of our predecessors.
When we look at the second painting of the series we discover the site of the Battle of Te Ranga that was fought near Aquinas College – also in 1864. This piece shows Bryce being freer with his brush, paints and colour. In the painting the large macrocarpa trees of today stand as kaitiaki or guardians of the land on which so much blood was spilt.

Dawn from Te Ranga, by Bryce Brown.

I congratulate Bryce for setting out to tell us these stories and for encouraging us to think about our past. I look forward to seeing the paintings to come as he makes his own very personal journey of discovery.
You can visit Bryce Brown at his studio/gallery in Judea by appointment and can find out more about one of our favourite Tauranga artists at

by Pete Morris (2010).

Pete Morris is an occasional painter and art lover. He is a free lance writer with a particular interest in promoting the visual arts in Tauranga.

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Learn history for the future