Wellington Decorative & Fine Arts Society (WeDFAS)

Dr Helen Rufus-Ward enjoying Wellington in February 2018

The Decorative & Fine Arts Society of Wellington (WeDFAS) offers the opportunity to hear eight top quality, diverse and interesting lectures each year, as well as one Half Study Day, covering a wide range of Decorative and Fine Arts subjects.

Recently our members have enjoyed hearing about architecture, glass, painting, fashion, porcelain, artists, sculpture, art history, design, craft, archaeology, literature, ceramics and even the history of the design of golf equipment.

Our lecturers primarily come from the UK where they have undergone a stringent selection process to qualify as lecturers for The Arts Society (based in the UK). The Arts Society lecturers have a reputation as excellent speakers who deliver well-researched and illustrated talks.

WeDFAS had its first lecture in August 2006 and was the third Society to be established in New Zealand. Our membership has grown to 235 since then.

WeDFAS Programme Details

Wellington DFAS hosts eight one-hour lectures per year. They take place on a Monday evening with a 6pm start, at The Royal Society of New Zealand, 11 Turnbull Street, Thorndon, Wellington, unless otherwise advised.

We round off the evening with a glass of wine and sandwiches, providing members with an opportunity to meet the lecturer and each other.

Our Half Study Days consist of two 60 minute lectures and include a break for refreshments. Their subject matter differs from the programmed evening lecture and they are a more in-depth and interactive event. There is a fee of $35 for all members and guests attending.


WeDFAS has a full membership and a waiting list. The waiting list operates in date order. Membership is not transferable. Waiting list members are invited to attend our Study Days.

To express an interest to join WeDFAS please download the WeDFAS Application Form 2018 and send it to the Membership Secretary at PO Box 19030, Courtenay Place, Wellington, 6149 or to wellingtondfas@gmail.com.

To enquire about lectures or have your name added to the waiting list please contact our Membership Secretary, Denise Almao, wellingtondfas@gmail.com or PO Box 19030, Courtenay Place, Wellington, 6149.

Annual membership is $130.00 or $230.00 for two living at the same address.

The membership subscription covers the cost of venue and equipment, travel and accommodation and fees for lecturers and refreshments after the lectures. As an incorporated charitable trust we are a non-profit organisation and support the arts within our community.

WeDFAS members are required to advise our Membership Secretary if they wish to bring a guest. We regret any one guest is restricted to attending just two lectures per year.

There is a charge of $20.00 per guest. Members of other DFASNZ Societies or international members of The Arts Society are welcome to attend our lectures at a charge of $15.00 on notification to our Membership Secretary.

2018 Lectures

Please click on the button to the right for biographies of lecturers, topic synopses and details of the optional Half Study Day.

Helen Rufus-Ward

Hagia Sophia: Constantinople’s Glorious Church of the Holy Wisdom

Monday 19 February 2018

Sarah Cove

Constable’s Great Landscapes

Monday 19 March 2018

Simon Rees

The Violin in Art and Craft

Monday 7 May 2018

Jacqueline Cockburn

Velázquez: The Meaning of Las Meninas 1656

Monday 2 July 2018

Julian Richards

Inspired by Stonehenge

Monday 30 July 2018

Gavin Plumley

Cultural Experiments in the Weimar Republic

Monday 3 September 2018

John Benjamin

The Life and Works of Harry Murphy

Monday 8 October 2018

Plus Half Study Day Sunday 7 October 2018

Chloë Sayer

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: The Golden Age of Mexican Painting

Monday 12 November 2018

WedDFAS Supporting the Arts

WeDFAS is one of the sponsors of Artsplash, the annual Wellington Regional Young People’s Arts Festival, a week-long festival that brings together thousands of primary and intermediate school children from throughout Wellington to celebrate and perform dance, drama, music, visual arts and wearable art in one of the city’s premium venues.

We have also supported the Friends of the New Zealand Portrait Gallery to enable them to bring students from lower decile schools in the Wellington region to view the Gallery’s exhibitions.

In 2011 we contributed to a DFASNZ fund for restoration work in Christchurch after the earthquakes.

Contact WedDFAS


Chair  :  Robyn Vavasour / vavasour.robyn3@gmail.com
Vice Chair  :  Karin Beatson / kfbeatson@gmail.com
Membership Secretary  :  Denise Almao / wellingtondfas@gmail.com
Committee  :  Jane Kirkcaldie, Peter Bull, Richard Eats, Belinda Langford, Kerry MacDonald, Jules Proctor, Lucia Tubbs