20 Mahara Place, Waikanae
Contemporary public art gallery Toi MAHARA is the district gallery for the Kāpiti Coast. As galleries often do, it helps form a vibrant and colourful heart for Waikanae and the surrounding region. There are four gallery spaces spread across two levels packed with wonderful art, craft and photography. Of all the gallery spaces, the Taonga Tuku Iho | Heritage Gallery is the must-visit. It is used for displaying the Field Collection works as well as other Kāpiti taonga.
The Field Collection comprises 44 works including 24 paintings by Frances Hodgkins. Hodgkins (1869–1947) is considered New Zealand’s most celebrated expatriate artist. It is the largest collection of her works in public ownership outside Te Papa and Auckland and Dunedin public art galleries. There is also purpose-built storage for works in the Field Collection that is open by appointment.
The gallery is situated in Mahara Place, a small shopping area in Waikanae, just north of Paraparaumu. The Waikanae Library is opposite the gallery. Shoreline Cinema is next door, and there is a host of eateries and shops dotted around the hub. Adding to the buzz in the town centre Toi MAHARA has an active education programme, concert and event programme that runs alongside exhibitions. On the way out the door make sure you stop into the gallery retail space. It sells merchandise, jewellery, books, and artworks by local artists.
Toi MAHARA was founded by artists and volunteers as a charitable trust in 1996. Along with reflecting the diverse local community, its mission is to offer enriching art experiences and present heritage and contemporary art in thoughtful and challenging ways.
The name Mahara has several meanings, including ‘memory’ and ‘reflection’. The name derives from Mahara House, an accommodation building built in Waikanae in 1901.