Taneatua house with long history to become home of Tūhoe art

By Maiki Sherman

While one of the oldest houses in Taneatua may be run down now, it will soon house some of the area's most beautiful art works.

Laurence Hughes says, “I drove past one day and saw this house and thought rather than let it fall down and go to rack and ruin it might be a good place for somebody to exhibit some stuff, I do a bit of hard stone carving and thought that would be alright.”

Laurence Hughes, who bought the house, says the idea is to set up a space for Tūhoe artists as well as inspire local youth. 

“I can see there's already a bit of local art on the walls? Well yeah it was vacant for a while Maiki but you never know they might start like that and end up a Picaso.”

Tūhoe artist Tame Iti says there are certainly many in the area who will benefit from the space.

He says, “There have been a number of us who have been involved in arts for a long time including Carly Rangiaho, Mihihia Davis, a lot of women. Stone carving, wood carving, all sorts of art. “

The hope is the art space will inject more life into the Taneatua community, and they're hoping to tap into those visitors who come to check out the new Tūhoe hub, Te Urutaumatua.

Tame says, “Many of us have had exhibitions which are mostly out of town so perhaps this is a way in which we can boost the Taneatua economy.”

There's clearly plenty of work ahead to fix and tidy up the place but what's even clearer is the passion to make this dream a reality.

Laurence says, “Not ideas about making heaps of money, just ideas about giving some down trodden poor artist a little break. Who knows, he might move on to bigger things from here.”

The hope is to have the art space opened in the New Year, before the Tuhoe Ahurei festival in Easter.