Sculpture on the Gulf brings top New Zealand artists to Waiheke Island


Anton Forde’s ‘The Unity of Protection Te Kotahitanga o Whakamaru’ is one of many works featured at Sculpture on the Gulf 2022. Photo/Supplied

What do a life-size fake post office, a collection of colored resin cubes, and a Moa made from Nikau palm trees have in common?

These are delightfully creative works of art that you can find on Waiheke Island’s Matiatia Coastal Walkway for the next three weeks as part of the Sculpture on the Gulf 2022 event.

'The Last Post Office' by established Kiwi artist Denis O'Connor.  Photo / Provided
‘The Last Post Office’ by established Kiwi artist Denis O’Connor. Photo / Provided

Since 2003, Sculpture on the Gulf has transformed the iconic headland into a gallery without walls where people can experience awe-inspiring works by some of Aotearoa’s finest artists.

Just 35 minutes by ferry from Auckland, this is an ideal day trip for art lovers, families or just curious Kiwis who want to experience a healthy dose of culture in nature.

What you need to know before you go:

Don’t forget your ticket
This year, Sculpture on the Gulf will be a ticket-only event. While children 15 and under can come for free, older attendees must purchase a ticket and present it to enter. These will not be date specific, so you can come any day of your choice between March 4 and March 27.

Leave the heels and hiking boots at home
The track is a manicured mix of wood chips, grass, dusty gravel and dirt, so leave your pristine white sneakers and heels at home. However, you don’t necessarily need hiking boots or chunky sneakers; comfortable sneakers, ballerinas (or even jandals for the youngest) are perfect.

Lang Ea's playful installation
Lang Ea’s playful installation “KA -BOOM!” which is along the trail. Photo / Provided

Be smart about the sun (and the rain)
There is very little shade along the trail, so watch the weather before you go. If it’s blue skies and sunshine, pack sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and a bottle of water.

Don’t miss the guide
If you’ve ever visited a museum with a guide, you know how context and background can transform the experience. The sculpture on the gulf is no different. Weird or confusing pieces turn into cutting social commentary or poignant reflections when viewed alongside the event guide. This can be purchased at the information tent for $5.

Prepare your masks and passes
All participants over the age of 12 will need to show their My Vaccine Pass, so have it handy in your wallet or on your phone. Face masks will be encouraged in all indoor venues and required for the ferry and public transport.

The installation of 'Te Kura Nui from Nine Heavens' by Ioane Ioane.  Photo / Provided
The installation of ‘Te Kura Nui from Nine Heavens’ by Ioane Ioane. Photo / Provided

Prepare for a short wait
To allow for distancing, only 100 people will be allowed on the one-way lane at a time. If you arrive using the event shuttle (which runs from Mataitia to the event entrance), this will be scheduled every 20-30 minutes to allow you to start walking shortly after your arrival at the entrance. If you arrive by private vehicle or on foot, you will be admitted according to capacity.

Switch from art viewer to art collector, if you wish
Since 2003, the event has helped well-established emerging artists network, gain exposure and sell their work. All of the works (except 12 that were already sold before opening) will be for sale, so watch out for the little red stickers on their panels.

Make the most of the extended program
Did you like the trail? Continue the artistic adventure and discover other installations in the district of works of art. This includes a special exhibition of sculptures at the Waiheke Community Art Gallery, where artists will make smaller scale models inspired by their larger catwalk works.

For information on transportation, wheelchair accessibility, shuttles, and more, check out the Sculpture on the Gulf website.

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