Waikato Decorative & Fine Arts Society (Waikato DFAS)

WaikatoDFAS meets at 7:30pm at The Centre for Performing Arts, Southwell School, Peachgrove Road, Hamilton. The evening starts with a welcoming glass of wine followed by a one-hour lecture. Members are invited to stay and enjoy light refreshments after the lecture.

In 2023 we were able to deliver a full programme of eight lectures to members. Additional online topics were also offered for home viewing. In 2024, we are looking forward to a mix of accredited The Arts Society lecturers from the UK, New Zealand and Australian based lecturers – most will be with us in person with just a couple by live broadcast. We are always ready to adapt our programme arrangements if necessary.

Our 2024 programme can be downloaded here: Waikato Brochure 2024


New members: To join WaikatoDFAS, please download and complete the 2024 WaiDFAS New Members Form  Our annual subscription is $160 per person.

A half year membership is available for $80 for new members who join any time after June. This membership will cover the last four lectures for 2024. Please use the 2024 New Members Form on this page or contact the Membership Secretary.

Please scan or photograph the completed form and return to the Membership Secretary –  dfaswaikato@gmail.com.

For further information, or to notify changes of contact details, please advise Jill Brown, Membership Secretary, phone 021 273 2161 or Lyn Jones, Chairperson, 021 0610 716. Or email dfaswaikato@gmail.com.

Membership is non-transferable.

Returning members: For members renewing for 2024 whose contact details have changed, please download and complete the
2024 WaiDFAS Returning Members Form

Returning members are encouraged to pay their subscriptions online – note that the Returning Members Form does not need to be completed unless your contact details have changed.


Guests are welcome. Please advise our Membership Secretary, Jill Brown, (021 273 2161) or dfaswaikato@gmail.com of their attendance prior to the lecture. A $25 per lecture guest fee is payable on the night. The fee for other visiting DFAS members is $15.00.


Waikato 2024 Lecturer Biographies and Topics

John Walsh

Waikato Lecture Date : Thursday 7 March 2024 – 7.30pm

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

Waikato Lecture Date : Thursday 11 April 2024 – 7.30pm

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 on the art market.


Already in 1917 the leader of the new Bolshevik State, Vladimir Lenin, proclaimed that culture should support political needs, which effectively meant that all culture was now viewed as propaganda. Like Lenin, Trotsky believed that ‘the essence of the new culture will be not an aristocratic one for a privileged minority, but a mass culture, a universal and popular one.’ This lecture will examine the impact of the 1917 revolution on artists and the quest of the new government for a new form of proletarian art. How was this to be defined? How would it come about? Where did it go? To answer these questions, we will look at the first expressions of so-called proletarian art after the revolution – especially Lenin’s Plan for Monumental Propaganda – a strategy that employed visual monumental art (revolutionary slogans and monumental sculpture) as an important means of propagating revolutionary and Communist ideas. In this lecture we will look at the new role of art and avant-garde artists after the 1917 October Revolution. Was art useful for the socialist revolution or was revolution useful for art?

Peter Medhurst

Waikato Lecture Date : Thursday 16 May 2024 – Broadcast Live from the UK – 7.30pm 

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. 


Despite the enormous political challenges that Vienna faced between 1780 and 1830 – the end the Holy Roman Empire, four battles against Napoleon, unprecedented inflation and state bankruptcy following the wars – the city thrived, culturally. In fact, it could be argued that Vienna never had a finer moment in terms of its artistic achievements. Much of the familiar, visionary building of the city was in place, outstanding writers, poets, architects and painters brimmed with original ideas, and above all, composers such as Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert had made Vienna the musical capital of the world. The lecture explores the history and the arts of Vienna in the late Classical and early Romantic eras.

Note: With his online lecture circuit, Peter will be delivering six unique lectures 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

Waikato Lecture Date : Thursday 20 June 2024 – 7.30pm

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 Impressionists were an innovative and radical group of artists whose took Paris by storm in the 1870s. Using new colours and techniques, they created paintings of modern life which shocked and horrified the art establishment. From the start the group included women artists but their contribution to Impressionism has often been overshadowed by their male contemporaries. Marie Bracquemond, Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt all exhibited regularly at the Impressionist exhibitions alongside artists such as Monet, Renoir and Degas. In 1894 they were given the title “Les Trois Grandes Dames d’Impressionisme” by the art critic Gustave Geffroy. This lecture will discuss the lives of each of these artists and their work, revealing their skill and originality as well as their willingness to take risks, despite the additional obstacles they faced as women.

Charlie Waite

Waikato Lecture Date : Thursday 25 July 2024 – broadcast live from the UK – 7.30pm

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 lecture circuit, Charlie will be delivering an additional topic to view from home. Details and links will be sent in advance.

Kathleen Olive

Waikato Lecture Date : Thursday 29 August 2024 – 7.30pm

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

Waikato Lecture Date : Thursday 3 October 2024 – 7.30pm

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 lecturers 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.


Daphne Du Maurier and Alfred Hitchcock had much in common. Du Maurier is sometimes described as a romantic novelist but this is completely misleading. Like Hitchcock, she dealt with themes of loneliness, gender, fear, suspense and gothic imagery. In their work they built compelling and complex emotional landscapes for their characters. Although they never met, the pair produced three key cultural landmarks of the 20th century in Jamaica Inn, Rebecca and The Birds. In this lecture we will explore Hitchcock’s, ‘The Birds’ (1963). We will closely unpack some of the essential scenes in the film and look at the masterful techniques both on the page and on the screen.

Jill Trevelyan

Waikato Lecture Date : Thursday 7 November 2024 – 7.30pm

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.


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has a collection of some 2800 taonga, displayed in New Zealand’s embassies around the world. Jill, who is kaitiaki for the collection, will discuss the role of art at the Ministry, and show images of recent building and refurbishment projects.

Contact Waikato DFAS


Chair  :  Lyn Jones [lynmarkjones@gmail.com]  P:  021 061 0716

Treasurer  :   Julie Sergel

Membership Secretary  :  Jill Brown  [dfaswaikato@gmail.com]

Programme Secretary :  Susan Law

Committee  : Brett Douglas, Anne Henzel, Lee Elliott, Heather Douglas