Topic: Bryce Brown: Generous Gift to the City

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Tauranga artist Bryce Brown has gifted his painting ‘Mangatawa’ to the Tauranga City Council’s Civic Art Collection.

Looks wrong?  Archived version here.

Mangatawa, painted on canvas with acrylic paints, represents the Maori tale of three whales.

The work will be installed in the New Zealand Room in the Tauranga library and will take up residence in the Papamoa library at a later date. “This is a very local piece, so it’s very appropriate that it stay local,” says Bryce.

“Nearly every child in the Bay of Plenty studies the three whales at school.

“It’s nice for the work to start off, and stay, in the right place.”

Mangatawa was completed last year and was selected as one of 40 paintings by local artists for the Miles Art Award exhibition at Tauranga Art Gallery.

This painting represents the local Maori legend of the three whales.

Mangatawa: Bryce Brown.

The area of Mangatawa, sacred to Nga Potiki, was taken in 1955 for use by New Zealand Railways Department under the Public Works Act 1928 and used for housing their employees until the mid 1980s.

The area was quarried for ballast to build roads and wharves in the Tauranga area from the 1950s up to the1980s.

Bones from those buried over past centuries were removed as often as possible during this time, but many remain in the local wharf and roads today.

The Pohutukawa tree shown in the painting, once stood at the burial site of the head of Nga Potiki Ariki (Chief) Tamapahore.

This was at the northern most point, which was the head of the whale (Mangatawa). This tree was removed along with large quantities of rock, changing the land’s form forever.

Bryce Brown was born in Auckland in 1971 and studied at the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic in 2004.

He has been a full-time artist since 2005 and has had eight solo exhibitions to date. His work is in private and public collections in New Zealand, Europe and the USA and includes the John Deere Art collection in Moline, Illinois (2005) and Foodstuffs New Zealand for Nga Potiki Iwi of Papamoa, NZ (2010).

He is one of the Bay of Plenty’s best known figurative artists and continues to produce work of an exceptional quality. Of his distinctive earthy figurative style, Bryce says, “I like to explore positive human emotion and activity through my paintings.”

“I’m always drawn to large scale boldness and always accentuate form as well as the balance of positive/negative space and masculine/feminine elements.

“The use of the human form in my work is vital and couldn’t imagine completing a painting without the use of the figure.

“My paintings are created to accentuate the positive aspects of life and to take the viewer to a place of calm, where they can delight in the everyday things that pertain to our visceral and spiritual, rather than material natures.”

Bryce Brown’s studio is in Newton Street, Mount Maunganui.

Visitors are welcome by appointment.

View more of his works and find contact details at

by Pete Morris (2011).

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


This page archived at Perma CC in November of 2016:

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Bryce Brown: Generous Gift to the City