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New faces join Public Art Panel for Council term

16 Jun 2023, 10:02 AM

Public art in Kāpiti is getting a boost with three new arts professionals joining the Kāpiti Coast District Council’s Public Art Panel for the triennium.  

The panel was set up in 2012 as an expert advisor on the Council’s public art programme and is required to be refreshed every triennium. 

Mayor Janet Holborow, who was on the panel in the last term, says the varied expertise and interests of the panellists would ensure Kāpiti’s public art was high quality and reflected and promoted the Kāpiti Coast communities’ distinctive identities, civic pride, and sense of community. 

“Public art is widely acknowledged as a great way of attracting visitors and making our communities more interesting and vibrant,” Mayor Holborow said. 

The panel has an arts professional nominated by Te Whakaminenga o Kāpiti, a representative nominated by the Mahara Gallery Trust, an elected councillor, and five community arts professionals. The positions are voluntary. 

“I’m proud of the contribution made by the panel in the previous triennium. Together we were able to give sound strategic advice on how the arts can be reflected in our strategies and plans, and on incorporating artistic elements into some of our major infrastructure projects,” Mayor Holborow said. 

Previously the panel has commissioned the Tohorā sculpture by Kereama Taepa in MacLean Park, the Metamorphic mural by Theo Arraj at Kāpiti Lights, and the Frances Hodgkins murals in Waikanae’s Mahara Place by artists Kate Hartmann and Ruth Robertson-Taylor. The panel has also contributed ideas and expertise to town centre developments and the Council’s Open Space Strategy, and instigated a register of public art. 

Council Arts, Museums and Heritage Advisor Rosie Salas said because of the high calibre of all the applicants this term, Council decided to appoint a further three new people from the arts sector who were keen to contribute.  

“I’m delighted most members were able to continue for the term and that we have several new faces to inject fresh thinking into the mix.  

“Together, they bring a wealth of expertise, experience and perspectives that will enrich our public art programme,” Ms Salas said. 

“The panel will also play a pivotal role as we start conversations with our community later this year on developing a strategy to better support and promote all that Kāpiti has to offer in terms of our rich culture and abundant creativity,” she said.  

The panelists are: 

  • Janet Bayly, Director, Mahara Gallery 
  • Liz Koh, Kāpiti Coast District Councillor, a long-time arts supporter with a background in financial planning and economic development 
  • Vianney Parata, Te Whakaminenga representative, an artist specialising in Māori visual arts, Taa Moko (Māori tattooing practices), and digital design.  
  • Nick Ray, a design consultant in workplace strategy and planning who lives in Waikanae 
  • Robin Simpson, landscape architect and urban designer, formerly from Kāpiti and now Wellington-based  
  • Sandra Smillie (new), an artist with a background in design and business, resident in Kāpiti 
  • Ellie Smith (new), a freelance art professional and consultant, based in Wellington 
  • Josie Whelan (new), an art educator with a background in the arts and cultural heritage sector who lives in Paekākāriki.

The panel chair will be appointed shortly.  

Read more about the Public Art Panel at  Public Art Panel.

Quotes from our 2022–25 panellists:  

Janet Bayly  “There has never been a more important time to assert and support the values of creativity and art for everyone across our diverse communities. Art still matters, art saves lives. Art enhances our environment and reminds us of our shared humanity and rich shared cultural heritage. Art grows future citizens and creative thinkers; art is essential in our daily lives for health and wellbeing as individuals and a society.” 

Liz Koh “I am excited to be involved in the work of the Panel which will play an important role in establishing Kāpiti’s reputation as a centre of creativity.” 

Vianney Parata Ko wai au, he uri tēnei nō Te Ātiawa ki Whakarongotai, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Ngāti Raukawa, me Ngai Tahu. I te taha ō tōku māmā, ko Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Porou me Ngāti Kahungunu ngā iwi. Ko Vianney Parata tōku ingoa. I have been incredibly inspired by Māori artists who paved the way in the revival of Toi Māori. I have been a Taa Moko practitioner for close to a decade now and have learnt so much on my journey and have become a better person because of it. I am looking forward very much to representing the mana whenua of Kāpiti on the Public Art Panel and sharing my experience and how te ao Māori perspectives can underpin and shape the artistic landscape.”

Nick Ray Having served on the panel since 2020, I’m keen to work with the new panel to develop the work we started in the previous triennium to embrace a wider view of public art and think more strategically, aligned around a vision for public art as part of the wider Culture and Community Strategy.” 

Sandra Smillie  I am a person who looks forward to ‘making a difference’, big or small.  I bring a strong strategic and collaborative approach to the Panel, having design thinking as a key aspect of my capabilities. I am a big picture thinker, who can adapt to both analytical and creative approaches to problem solving, and while I have a strong interest in learning from the past, I focus on outcomes and what’s possible for the future.” 

Robin Simpson I have been a member of the 2020-2022 Public Art Panel for Kāpiti Coast District Council.  I have enjoyed the projects, people and process of contributing positively to strategy development and outcomes.  

“It is with a desire to contribute to the flourishing cultural and creative expressions of the Kāpiti communities, and to successful processes and outcomes, that I have put myself forward as a member of the Public Art Panel for the upcoming term.” 

Ellie Smith Public art offers an incredible opportunity for local artists, and for artists from across the motu, to connect with the landscape, engage with communities, provoke conversations, and contribute to Kāpiti Coast’s sense of place and identity. 

“I have a strong knowledge of public art in New Zealand, its importance to communities, as well as experience in commissioning and curating art in public spaces. I bring a genuine love for the power of public art to the Panel and am privileged to act as an advisor to Kāpiti Coast District Council as it embarks on this next stage of its arts, culture and creativity journey.” 

Josie Whelan As an arts educator, I am deeply committed to inclusion, accessibility, and diversity. I am currently on Porirua City Council’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee. I have a strong understanding of the guiding principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and value this significant area of our cultural history which is embedded in our physical history and material culture.” 

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