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 and supports the preservation of our New Zealand artistic heritage. We have a friendly and enthusiastic membership of approximately 220 who come together to enjoy an annual programme of eight lectures 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

There are eight lectures 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, all of who are approved in the UK for their proven subject matter expertise and presentation skills.

Lectures are held on a Monday evening at 7.00pm. Our lecture 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 lecture. Members and guests enjoy this opportunity to mingle with friends, talk with the lecturer and meet other members. In 2020 we are also offering a Special Interest Session with Stella Lyons – see our full 2020 programme below for further details. For news on The Arts Society Hawke’s Bay, please follow us on Facebook and also on Instagram.


Our 2020 Programme was affected by the Covid-19 situation, however we were still able to deliver two live lectures and two broadcast lectures – one to members at home and one to our venue. In 2021 we have made the decision not to attempt bringing any lecturers in from overseas. However, we are still offering a full programme of eight lectures, the four New Zealand-based lectures will be with us in person and the four UK-based Arts Society lecturers will deliver their lectures by live broadcast to our venues or to members at home if Covid-19 restrictions require this. We are optimistically anticipating an undisrupted year, but of course our arrangements may be subject to change if the need arises.


Returning members: due to the disruption of our 2020 programme, and thanks to the money that we have in reserve, TASHB committee has agreed that we will roll over all 2020 paid membership subscriptions to cover the full 2021 programme as well. Therefore current members will not need to do anything for the new year except update any changed details if necessary. Please email: to do this.

New members: to apply for membership please download and complete TASHB Membership Form 2021

Our bank is phasing out cheques, so the preferred payment is by direct credit to BNZ Bank Account: 02 0644 0164828 00 and include your full name and reference as ‘2021 subs’. Either complete and scan the membership form back by email, or post it to the Membership Secretary, TASHB, PO Box 8444, Havelock North 4157.

The annual fee is $150 per person or $280 for two people living at the same address. This covers the cost of the venue and equipment, travel and accommodation costs for the lecturer and refreshments after the lecture. As an incorporated charitable trust we are a non profit organisation. Guests are welcome to attend two lectures a year at a fee of $20 per lecture. 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 lecture if you are bringing a guest or to notify changes of contact details.   Phone: 027 568 8720 or Email:

Early Bird Special : Take advantage of a discounted subscription rate for the full year of 8 lectures – $130.00 per person for subscriptions fully paid no later than 1 February 2021.

2021 Lecturer Biographies and Topics

Neil Faulkner

Havelock North Lecture Date : Rescheduled to Monday 15 February – broadcast live from the UK

Neil Faulkner was educated at King’s College Cambridge and Institute of Archaeology UCL. He works as a lecturer, writer, archaeologist and occasional broadcaster. Research Fellow, University of Bristol. Editor, Military History Monthly. Director, Sedgeford Historical and Archaeological Research Project. Director, Great Arab Revolt Project. Author of The Decline and Fall of Roman Britain, Apocalypse, Hidden Treasure, Rome: Empire of the Eagles, and The Ancient Greek Olympics: a visitor’s guide. Author of forthcoming Lawrence of Arabia’s War. Major TV appearances include Channel 4’s Time Team, BBC2’s Timewatch, Channel Five’s Boudica Revealed and Sky Atlantic’s The British.


Cinematic images are modern art forms. In the ‘golden age’ of cinema – before the development of CGI technology – film-makers had to construct sets to represent landscapes, townscapes, and interiors. Sometimes they used paintings and photographs, sometimes they built scale models, sometimes they constructed full-size replicas. In each case, they created an art installation they then captured in celluloid images.
Drawing on new insights from the archaeology of cinema, this lecture will use the films of renowned British director David Lean to explore the art of cinema. How do the ‘artists’ – in this case formed of large collaborative teams (directors, screenwriters, production designers, costume designers, camera crews, fixers, etc.) – choose locations, construct sets, dress actors, and, more generally, ‘imagine’ the world they seek to represent? How much is authentic, and how much preconception and prejudice? What are the influences on the way the cinema depicts the world?

Benny Castles

Havelock North Lecture Date : Monday 15 March 2021

For 20 years Benny has been associated with WORLD, a fashion brand now in its 3rd decade as one of NZ’s most iconic and Avant-garde fashion houses and retail experiences. WORLD was the first fashion brand in NZ to be given a retrospective at the Auckland War Memorial Museum in 2005. Benny started his career with WORLD in retail and is now a partner, designer and director of the company. Benny’s face may be familiar from his appearance as a judge on the recent TVNZ reality fashion show Project Runway.


Unlike the older nations of Europe, New Zealand has little or no history or culture in fine fragrance and scent. The talk will focus on fragrance etiquette and scent profiles, but most importantly brand and fragrance history. Many of the brands date back to the 1700’s and some earlier. They touch on historical figures like Napoleon, Marie Antoinette, Grace Kelly, JFK and Winston Churchill, as well as moments in time and object history. Benny’s presentations have been extremely successful with both men and women and especially for those less interested or experienced in fragrance as they are a wonderful eye-opener into history, culture and the cult of fragrance that has become such a globalised and dominant industry. The talk promises to be educational and informative as well as being fun and thought-provoking.

Nigel Bates

Havelock North Lecture Date : Monday 3 May 2021 – live broadcast from the UK

Nigel Bates was the Music Administrator of The Royal Ballet from 2012 to 2020 and has been a performer for nearly forty years in and out of London’s Royal Opera House, including seventeen years as Principal Percussionist with the Orchestra. He has worked with many of the leading figures in the classical music industry and was also a producer for both the BBC’s Maestro at the Opera and Pappano’s Classical Voices documentary series. He is a regular contributor to the printed and online content of the ROH. Nigel has given lectures for over twenty years, including arts societies and conservatoires in the UK and across Australia.


What is it that conductors do that makes orchestras respond in so many different ways? Is it a good baton technique? A strong personality? The way they look? Why are there relatively few women found on the podium? And why are the conductors paid so much more than anyone else on the concert platform? Drawing on history and his own musical experiences from well over six thousand performances and recordings, Nigel seeks out some answers. This lecture contains some rare video footage of conductors in rehearsal and performance.

Dominic Riley

Havelock North Lecture Date : Monday 14 June 2021 – live broadcast from the UK

Dominic Riley is an internationally renowned bookbinder and teacher. He specializes in the restoration of antiquarian books and the creation of contemporary fine bindings. He teaches bookbinding both in the UK and USA, and his prize-winning bindings are in collections worldwide, including the British Library. He is a Fellow of Designer Bookbinders and President of the Society of Bookbinders. In 2013 he won the prestigious Sir Paul Getty award in the International Bookbinding Competition, and his winning binding was acquired by the Bodleian Library in Oxford. Contact for Guest Registration


Why was the best paper made from the worn out clothes of peasants? Why did leather have to be tanned outside the city walls? Why is gold leaf so thin that it is measured in atoms and cannot be touched with the hands? Why do printers have to do everything upside down and backwards? Why did gold finishers get paid more than other bookbinders despite not washing their hair? And why is the art of bookbinding itself, surely the most complex of all hand crafts, as beguiling and enchanting today as it was when it was invented on the banks of the Nile 2,000 years ago. This lecture is a ‘Through the Round Window’ for grown-ups, and tells the fascinating story of everything that makes a traditional hand bound book.

Pete Bossley

Havelock North Lecture Date : Rescheduled to Monday 26 July 2021

BArch (Hons), NZCD (Arch), Registered Architect (NZ), Fellow NZIA, RAIA, NZIA Gold Medal 2012, Alliance Partner Group GSA, Chair NZIA Auckland 2006-2008
Pete Bossley has an extensive reputation in architecture and interior design, with particular experience in galleries, museums and residential. He is known for several memorable buildings such as the Museum of NZ Te Papa Tongarewa, the Sir Peter Blake extension to the National Maritime Museum in Auckland, many iconic houses throughout the country, apartment buildings and social housing projects. He has exhibited and lectured extensively on his work here and overseas. He has also taught architectural design for over 25 years and was adjunct professor of Architecture at Unitec Architecture and Landscape School. In 2012 Pete was awarded the NZIA Gold Medal, the highest honour in New Zealand Architecture.


Pete will discuss the importance of ideas to underline good architecture, identifying themes which have run through 40 years of architecture, using projects from his practice as examples. Themes which have been developed over the years and in numerous projects include…
-Fault lines: architectural responses to the perils of living in a faulted land. This is not in terms of seismic engineering, but more of the narrative arising from our fragile geological situation, and how this awareness has generated ideas which have driven the design of architectural projects.
-Encampments: a series of projects which respond to the New Zealand landform by referencing the traditional courtyard house, modified to accept the power of our landscape, incorporating it in to the design of the houses rather than precluding it. Camp formations ranging from Roman military bases to kiwi campsites suggest the value of creating a large whole from a series of smaller pods. Other themes will include the importance of our skyscapes, natural light, balance and imbalance. Contact for Guest Registration

Nicholas Merchant

Havelock North Lecture Date : Monday 30 August 2021 – broadcast live from the UK

Nicholas Merchant’s career has mirrored his abiding interest in antiques. He has worked for some of the major auction houses in London as well as running his own book business devoted to the decorative and fine arts. His particular interest is English 18th century furniture and country houses; he enjoys discussing objects, particularly in their historical context. He lectures extensively in the USA, South Africa, Europe and UK, including the V&A, as well as for the principal cruise lines. He is the Art Fund’s West Yorkshire Representative. He arranges specialist short breaks for collectors and a range of prestigious clients including groups of The Arts Society who enjoy visiting the treasures of the UK.


Imagine, late 19th century Southern Ireland, a young girl of “good family”, living in an 18th century mansion, a tranquil rural existence. It sounds idyllic, the sort of life colour supplements write about with floods of purple prose. This was the life of the subject of this lecture, as the 19th century drew to its close. In 1900 Eileen’s Mother took her to the Exposition Universelle in Paris, and as the saying goes “she never looked back”. An imaginative, and determined girl, Eileen was determined not to see Enniscorthy again. She enrolled in the Slade School of Art, progressed to learn the true art of lacquer in Paris and after the First War became one of Paris’s most recherché and sought-after designers. Not for her the stuffed Victorian furniture of her home but for her, what we now call, “cutting-edge” design. In her studio in the rue Bonaparte she created works which rivalled all the great 20th century furniture makers of Paris. The Art Deco Exhibition of 1925 was the turning point of her life, when the world became aware of her. Ever restless, she built in the late 20’s an extraordinary house at Roquebrunne which became the envy of one of the best- known architects of the period, Le Corbusier. This is a fascinating story of the girl from Enniscorthy, who became one of the most innovative designers of the 20th century.

Michelle Brown

HAWKE’S BAY Lecture Date : Monday 4 October 2021 – BRODCAST LIVE FROM THE UK 

Michelle Brown, FSA, is Professor Emerita at SAS, University of London and a Visiting Professor at University College London. She was formerly the Curator of Illuminated Manuscripts at the British Library. She is a leading expert on Late Antique, Celtic and Anglo-Saxon culture and on manuscripts such as the Lindisfarne Gospels and the Book of Kells. She has published, lectured (including in Australia) and broadcast widely. Her many publications include: Art of the Islands: Celtic, Pictish, Anglo-Saxon and Viking Visual Culture.

Note: This lecturer replaces Gregory O’Brien, who is rescheduled to February 2022


This illustrated lecture examines the different cultures present in these islands before the Norman conquest – Celtic, Pictish, Anglo-Saxon and Viking – and traces their interaction across the various artistic media, setting them within the historical context. Stunning metalwork, such as the Sutton Hoo and Staffordshire Hoard, the Ardagh Chalice and Tara brooch, magnificent manuscripts such as the books of Durrow and Kells and the Lindisfarne Gospels and sculptures such as the Ruthwell Cross and the enigmatic Pictish carvings are amongst the masterpieces considered.

Mary Kisler

Havelock North Lecture Date : Monday 8 November 2021

Mary Kisler is an author, art historian and Radio New Zealand art commentator, having recently retired as Senior Curator, Mackelvie Collection, International Art at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. Mary earned her master’s degree in art history and Italian at the University of Auckland in 1994. She has been a curator at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki since 1998, caring for a collection that spans from c.1150 to 1950, a large part of which is European art but which also includes a small collection of Indian miniatures and Japanese ukiyo-e prints. In 2010 Godwit published her book Angels & Aristocrats: Early European Art in New Zealand Public Galleries. In 2019 the Auckland Art Gallery published her Hodgkins catalogue raisonnée to accompany a major Hodgkins exhibition.


This lecture examines the dialectic between Victorian morals and social constraints, not least for women, and how these ideas played out within the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the women they loved.

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

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

Contact The Arts Society HB


Chair :  Meg Bremner /
Membership :  Pamela Reading-Windle  /
Treasurer : Alison Ritchie
Committee  :  Jeanette Kelly, Carol Nelson, Diane Morris, Jan Cunningham, Ashley Macpherson, Charlotte Jackman, Jenny Corban

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