Topic: Art Exhibition Opening Speech by Debbie McCauley (2014)

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To commemorate 150 years since the Battles of Gate Pa and Te Ranga in 1864 an art exhibition was held in St George's Church Hall at Gate Pa with over 70 entrants from adults and schools. This is the opening speech given by Debbie McCauley on Saturday 19 April 2014.

Kia ora Tawharangi Nuku (mihi, karakia). Tena tatou katoa. Ko Debbie McCauley. Welcome everybody to the Battles of Gate Pa and Te Ranga Art Exhibition. The aims of this exhibition are to enable community expression through artworks inspired by the Battles of Gate Pā and Te Ranga in 1864. It is an opportunity to manifest emotion, thoughts and understanding of the events that founded our city, shaped our community and still impact upon it today.

This is our history and our story to tell – and these commemorative events are one of ways we can tell our story to the rest of New Zealand and to the world.

The exhibition showcases 70 entries from adults and local schools inspired by the battles. Schools who have submitted entries include Brookfield Primary School, Greenpark Primary School, Otumoetai College, Tauranga Girls’ College, Tauranga Intermediate, Tauranga Waldorf School and Tauriko Primary School.

The competition is a chance to express history through art. We’ve received outstanding entrants in both divisions and they are going to be incredibly hard to judge. Many thanks must go to Debbie Tipuna, one of the judges of the school’s division, Ian Dustin, Fiona Kean and Mischelle O’Donnell who helped to put the exhibition together. Also many thanks must go to the very patient John Hebenton and his wife Bonnie.

St George’s Church Hall has been specially refurbished for the event which included repainting the walls and varnishing the floor. Thanks must go to Mitre 10 Mega managers Dave Shotton and Wayne Mansell for discounting the paint and painting equipment needed, to the Department of Corrections for supplying the labour; to Tower Scaffolding who assisted with getting to the hard to reach spots and to our chippie Warren Evans for doing a ceiling fix. Thank you also to Tauranga City Council for providing our morning tea.

The adults division has been sponsored by Simpson Grierson, and the winner will be announced at April 28’s Commemoration Dinner. Many works are for sale, with prices being set by the artist themselves so please let us know if you would be interesting in purchasing.

The mural and school’s division has been sponsored by Te Tuinga Whānau Support Services Trust, and the winner will be announced on Saturday May 3rd during an awards ceremony here at 10am. We will also be announcing the artwork chosen for a new Tauranga City Library card.

As we move through the exhibition, you will hear in the background poetry that was entered into the Battle of Gate Pa Poetry Competition which has been recorded by Peter Hodge at his Oropi studio.

Please also take the opportunity to view the Gate Pā Images Exhibition, a collection of historic images, which is displayed inside the Church. The exhibitions are open from Monday to Friday from 9am to 12.30pm for the next two weeks.

  • Speech by Deputy Mayor Kelvin Clout.
  • Speech by Buddy Mikaere, commemoration organiser.
  • 'As well as the art entrants, we have displayed in the hall our entrants in the Battle of Gate Pa Poetry Poster Competition. The $50 class prizes are sponsored by Nga Tahatai Coastal Care. As the entrants were so outstanding, Tommy Kapai has donated a copy of his book ‘T is for Tauranga’ to each class. You’ll see that the lovely artwork on the front is by our very own Debbie Tipuna. I am also donating a copy of my book ‘Taratoa and the Code of Conduct’ to each class': 
  • · Terry Furmage and Room 15 from Gate Pa School
  • · Sarah Te Mete and Room 17 from Otumoetai Intermediate
  • · Wayne Miller and Room 21 from Tauranga Intermediate School
  • · Annette Munkedal and Room 10 from Arataki School
  • Waiata from Annette and Arataki Primary School students with Tawharangi Nuku.
  • Speech by John Hebenton
  • Tawharangi Nuku (grace & invitation to join us for morning tea).

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