The Arts Society Hawke’s Bay

Founded in 2013, The Arts Society Hawke’s Bay helps open up the world of the arts to everyone. We have a friendly and enthusiastic membership who come together to enjoy an annual programme of eight talks on a wide spectrum of arts-related topics. We also support the arts through a grant giving programme. Since inaugurating in 2013, The Arts Society Hawke’s Bay has contributed more than $40,000 to local and national arts projects and causes, including many with a youth focus.

Programme Details

We gather for eight talks annually covering a diverse range of topics from architecture, design, glass, fashion, porcelain, ceramics, art and art history, sculpture and literature. The success of the Society is built on the high quality of presentations delivered by accredited specialists, many of whom are approved in the UK for their proven subject matter expertise and presentation skills.

Talks are held on a Monday evening at 7.00pm. Our venue is the Magdalinos Room in the Havelock North Function Centre, 30 Te Mata Road. The Centre is situated beside the Library in the centre of the Village. Light refreshments with a glass of wine or juice are provided after each talk. Members and guests enjoy this opportunity to mingle with friends, talk with the speaker and meet other members. For news on The Arts Society Hawke’s Bay, please follow us on Facebook and also on Instagram.

With the speakers who deliver by live broadcast, there are opportunities to view additional topics from home. Links will be sent by email.

our 2024 programme

In 2024 we offer a mix of accredited The Arts Society speakers from the UK, two from New Zealand and one Australian-based. Six of these will be with us in person and two will come via live broadcast from the UK. With the online talks, there are opportunities to view additional topics from home, tuning in to the gatherings hosted by the other Societies around the country.

We hope that things will run smoothly but will be ready to adapt our programme arrangements if necessary.


Returning members:  Renewing members can simply pay their subscription as outlined below. You can email us to confirm or to update any changed details if necessary:

New members: To apply for membership please download and complete the 2024 TASHB Membership Form   which can then be scanned and emailed to the above email address or posted to the “Membership Secretary, TASHB, c/o 23C Chambers St, Havelock North 4130”.

Payment should be made by direct credit to The Arts Society Hawke’s Bay,  BNZ Bank Account: 02 0644 0164828 00
Please include your full name and reference as ‘2024 subs’ as a reference. 

Early Bird Special : Take advantage of a discounted subscription rate for the full year of 8 talks – $130.00 per person for subscriptions fully paid by the date of our first talk on 4 March.

This is a saving on our standard subscription of $160 for individuals and $300 for a couple living at the same address.

For subscriptions received after 4 March 2024, the annual fee is pro-rated to $20 per talk for the remainder of the subscription programme. The subscription fee covers the cost of the venue and equipment, travel and accommodation costs for the speaker and refreshments after the talk. As an incorporated charitable trust we are a non-profit organisation.

Guests are welcome to attend two talks a year at a fee of $25 per talk. Membership is not transferable. The fee for visiting members from other NZ Societies will be $15.  Please notify the Membership Secretary, Pamela Reading-Windle, by the Friday prior to the talk if you are bringing a guest – by phone: 027 568 8720 or email:

Please also notify Pamela if you wish to change any of your contact details.

Hawke’s Bay – 2024 Speaker Biographies and Topics

John Walsh

Hawke’s Bay Date : Monday 4 March 2024 – 7.00pm

John Walsh is a writer specialising in architecture. He edited Architecture New Zealand magazine from 2002 to 2011 and was managing editor of several leading design magazines before working as communications manager for Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects. He is the author of a dozen books on New Zealand architects and architecture, including City House, Country House: Contemporary New Zealand Homes (2016), Big House, Small House: New Homes by New Zealand Architects (2012) and Home Work: Leading New Zealand Architects’ Own Houses (2010). He edited the publications accompanying the New Zealand exhibition at the 2014 and 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale. Latterly, he has written guides to the architecture of Auckland (2021), Wellington (2022) and Christchurch (2023), published by Massey University Press, and with photographer Jane Ussher published Rooms: Portraits of Remarkable New Zealand Interiors.


In each of New Zealand’s four main cities you can still see 150 years of architectural history – despite urban growth and changes in economic fortune, seismic events, and civic carelessness. Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin all retain buildings representative of the international architectural styles and movements that over the past century and a half have enjoyed their moment, from the Gothic Revival through Modernism to contemporary computer-aided shape-making. But although they shared architectural styles, the cities had their own particular histories and characters, and these too can still be read through their buildings. Drawing on his recent series of architectural guides to New Zealand’s four major cities, John Walsh traces the stories of the country’s most significant buildings, and of the architects who designed them.     

Dr. Natalia Murray

Hawke’s Bay Date : Monday 8 April 2024 – 7.00pm

Dr. Natalia Murray was born in St Petersburg where she gained BA and MA in the History of Art at the Academy of Fine Arts before taking the PhD course at the Hermitage Museum. In 2015 she has been awarded PhD at the Courtauld Institute of Art. At present she works as an independent curator and an associate lecturer at the Courtauld Institute of Art where she teaches her MA course on the role of the exhibitions and private collections in Europe in 1863-1930. In 2017 she curated a major exhibition Revolution. Russian Art. 1917-1932 at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. She is currently working on several exhibition projects in London, Paris and US. Her latest exhibition The World as Non-Objective. The Birth of a New Art which traced the development of the new abstract art from Chagall to Malevich, was opened with high acclaim at the Jewish museum in Moscow in November 2022. Her books and articles extend across the wide field of 19-20 century European art, and she has featured in films and art programmes on BBC 4, BBC Radio 4 and the BBC World Service. Natalia is also trustee of the Avant-Garde Art Research Project – a UK-based charity which shares one of her aspirations to reduce the number of fakes in the art market.


One of the finest collections of Impressionism anywhere in the world was assembled by the English industrialist and philanthropist Samuel Courtauld (1876-1947). During the 1920s, he acquired seminal works by all of the major Impressionists, at a time when Impressionism still struggled to gain acceptance among English public institutions. After a decade of collecting, Courtauld gave the majority of these remarkable works to establish The Courtauld Institute of Art and Gallery in London. This talk will explore Courtauld’s collection and his role in promoting Impressionism in the United Kingdom.

Peter Medhurst

Hawke’s Bay Date : Monday 13 May 2024 – Broadcast Live from the UK – 7.00pm 

Peter Medhurst appears in the UK and abroad as musician and scholar, giving recitals and delivering illustrated lectures on music and the arts. He studied singing and early keyboard instruments at the Royal College of Music in London and at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. He has presented events at all of the major concert venues in London – the King’s Place, the Barbican, St John’s Smith Square, and the Royal Festival Hall – on subjects that range from Beethoven String Quartets to 18th Century Venetian culture.  Radio work has included Classic FM, Radio 3, and Radio 4.  His recordings number For Two to Play, Schubert Songs, Handel and His Satellites, Tyme at the Virginalls, and On Christmas Night – a programme of Christmas carols and seasonal songs.


It is arguable, that ‘The Glory of Venice’ might be seen as a 500-year period starting in 1453, when Venice began its steady decline, due to the knock-on effects of the fall of Constantinople. However, from that moment on – in the middle of the 15th century – Venice balanced its waning political importance, its loss of trade, its prominence as a sea-faring nation, by taking its artistic achievements to ever greater heights. Therefore, the paradox of Venice is that its ‘Glory’ is inextricably linked to its decline, because its ‘Glory’ reflects Venice’s never-ending passion for survival. The talk looks at Venice’s history, its art and its music, in order to assess how magnificent were its contributions to Western culture.

Note: With his online speaking circuit, Peter will be delivering six unique talks to all the NZ Societies so there is an opportunity to view additional topics from home. Details and links will be sent in advance.

Sarah Burles

Hawke’s Bay Date : Monday 17 June 2024 – 7.00pm

Sarah Burles studied History of Art at Cambridge University before doing a master’s degree at University College London. She went on to have a career in museum and gallery education, establishing new services in three different museums before working at the Fitzwilliam Museum for many years.  Sarah is the founder of Cambridge Art Tours, which runs tours and courses in and around East Anglia. She is also a Tour Director for a travel company and has led tours to Italy, France, Germany, Belgium and America. At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Sarah moved her work online, offering art history courses to audiences all over the world.


The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge was founded on the death of Richard, 7th Viscount Fitzwilliam in 1816, five years after the Dulwich Picture Gallery and eight years before the National Gallery in London. His bequest included paintings, drawings, prints, medieval manuscripts and books and, in addition, a sum of money to build “a good substantial museum repository for the increase of learning”. Who was Lord Fitzwilliam? How did he acquire his extensive collection? What prompted him to leave it to the University of Cambridge and why was Napoleon partly responsible for the founding of one of the great regional museums? These, and many other questions, will be answered in a talk that will also discuss some of the key works in Lord Fitzwilliam’s bequest

Charlie Waite

Hawke’s Bay Date : Monday 22 July 2024 – broadcast live from the UK – 7.00pm

One of the world’s leading landscape photographers, he has lectured for 25 years throughout the UK, Europe and the US. Has held numerous one-man exhibitions in London, exhibited twice in Tokyo, and was awarded the prestigious honorary Fellowship of the British Institute of Professional Photographers, as well as a Direct Fellowship by the Royal Photographic Society. In 2007, he launched LPOTY – UK Landscape Photographer of the Year. Amongst many publications, the most recent includes Landscape; the Story of 50 Photographs (2005), and Arc & Line (2011). He was invited by the Royal Academy to exhibit in 2015’s summer exhibition.


A fully illustrated talk with in excess of 60 images exploring the relationship between the making of an image and the way in which it is perceived by the viewer. Further discussion around the eye and the brain being an extraordinary double act made up of visual references and intellectual interpretation.

Note: With his online speaking circuit, Charlie will be delivering an additional topic to view from home. Details and links will be sent in advance.

Kathleen Olive

Hawke’s Bay Date : Monday 26 August 2024 – 7.00pm

Kathleen’s PhD was a study of artisanal culture in Renaissance Florence, through the lens of a goldsmith’s commonplace book known as the Codex Rustici. She lived and studied in Italy for a number of years, and then taught Italian language, literature and history at the University of Sydney. Kathleen now works with Academy Travel, leading tours to Europe and, particularly, Italy.


Expanses of raked white gravel. Iconic trees – pines, maples, gingko – carefully twisted and pruned into dynamic and sometimes torturous shapes. The soothing drip of water onto stone. The autumn light shining through richly coloured leaves. When you deconstruct them, the elements of a Japanese garden seem so simple that they’re almost banal, yet their combined effect is undeniably engaging and soothing. In this talk, I investigate the historic roots of Japanese garden design that, like much of the country’s art tradition, developed in isolation from European influence and thus preserves something quintessentially “Japanese”.

John Francis

Hawke’s Bay Date : Monday 30 September 2024 – 7.00pm

John Francis is an experienced University lecturer, consultant, researcher and visual artist. He grew up on Merseyside and was educated in Fine Arts and pedagogy in the UK and New York. An inspirational speaker who has delivered talks and workshops in the US (Texas, California, Massachusetts), Beijing, Malaysia and the UK, John initially trained as a painter and was awarded the Max Beckmann Memorial Scholarship in painting in Brooklyn, New York and went on to be artist in resident for the state of Texas. Later in his career John produced and directed several short films and animations. He has taught film, art and pedagogy at the University of Exeter, Arts University Bournemouth, University Sains Malaysia, Southwestern College, California, Brunel University, London and Kingston University. Lectures and workshops.


The relationship of Art to Advertising has an early start. Sir John Everett Millais’s painting of ‘Bubbles’(1885) was sold for £2,200 to help sell bars of soap. In this talk we will trace how the advertising industry became so successful and in particular why advertising in the UK is often thought of as Art. From posters to the fifteen second television adverts, we explore some of the most successful adverts and unpack the psychological and cultural context behind them. Award winning adverts by Guinness, Silk Cut and Nestle will be subject to a detailed analysis.

Jill Trevelyan

Hawke’s Bay Date : Monday 4 November 2024 – 7.00pm

Jill Trevelyan is a writer and curator based at Pukerua Bay near Wellington. Her books, published by Te Papa Press, include Toss Woollaston: A Life in Letters (2004), Rita Angus: An Artist’s Life (2008), Peter McLeavey: The Life and Times of a New Zealand Art Dealer (2013) and Robin White: Something is Happening Here (with Sarah Farrar and Nina Tonga, 2022). Jill works part-time as Art Manager at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Te Manatū Aorere.


One of our best-loved artists, and with a strong connection to Hawke’s Bay, Rita Angus (1908-70) was a complex and fascinating woman whose ideas about feminism and pacifism played out in her art. Jill will discuss Angus’s life and work, focusing on her remarkable self-portraits.

The Arts Society Hawke’s Bay supports these local arts-related organisations:

Creative Napier
Toitoi Hawke’s Bay Arts & Events Centre
MTG Hawke’s Bay
Keirunga Creative Arts

Contact The Arts Society HB


Chair :  Ashley Macpherson
Membership :  Pamela Reading-Windle  /
Treasurer : Alison Ritchie
Committee  :  Jeanette Kelly, Meg Bremner, Jenny Corban, Hugh McBain, Christine Hickton


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