Classes, groups & activities News

May 2018

Gardening Group: What a brilliant "hands-on" floral art session the Gardening Group had this morning. As you can see below the results looked gorgeous. This group meets on the 3rd Friday of every month and visitors are always welcome - do come along and try it out. Starting soon a Floral Art Course for beginners starting Monday 28th May. See our website for more details:

Book Interest Group (Making and Appreciating Handmade Books): Book Day at Karori Arts and Crafts on 6 May was great, Jill Rose taught us how to sew headbands.  It wasn’t as easy as she made it look but we had such fun trying.  Jill is always well prepared with plenty of materials and there was enough equipment to go round, thanks to Susan Peacock and Rosemary Greager.  It was a tricky process to master, but we tried our best and produced some lovely results.  It was a very sociable day and everyone managed at least one headband out of the two (per book) that looked really good.  More practice at home for us all I think.  [Note: Some photos will be added next week once Margaret has re-sized them - so pop back to have a look].

Walking Group: I can highly recommend the Awakairangi (Hutt River) Loop Walk to artists, photographers and walkers, who will find something unique and noteworthy along the way.  Thirteen keen walkers gathered in the Awakairangi sports ground carpark, where the walk begins.  The paths were well-constructed and mostly flat and we met many walkers, joggers and dog-walkers along the route.  The river bridge was quite distinctive with its concrete buttresses and metal tension cables. It also provided an excellent view of the riverbank in both directions. As the deciduous trees were shedding beautiful russet-toned leaves, I really wanted to stop and paint. During lunch a gaggle of ducks and pukekos beseeched us for food.  Many of us hearing the strange squeaking cry of a pukeko for the first time. We enjoyed the warm sunny weather and found the route remarkably sheltered from the nippy wind during the hour and half of the loop route.

Karori Camera Club: members recently headed to Wright's Hill, Karori for an astronomy image taking field trip.  It was a mainly clear night with some passing clouds due to the northerly wind but plenty of opportunity to practice our image making skills. Tripods and torches were mandatory but everyone came away happy with their images as you can see by the image from Justin Blakie.  For more details see  

Antique Appreciation: Following the Royal Wedding hype our Antique Appreciation group gathered memorabilia that commemorates special events and celebrations.  As you would expect almost all the items shared were made to celebrate events of a royal nature or were war medals.  One remarkable find among a collection of coins was a gold sovereign and half sovereign in their post box style tin.  As you can see from the pen they are quite small for such valuable coins - thanks Kate for bringing these along and Clint for discovering their importance.  The most unusual item was an Airforce Squadron bottle of wine developed to commemorate the last flight of the Air Force's Iroquois helicopter prior to their retirement in 2015.  Another nostalgic item was a child's dress worn by Maria Anderson to mark her first day at school. A small child's coat hanger with insignia of Princess Elizabeth and a fabric pram to mark Prince George's birth in 2013 were also present.

April 2018

Walking Group: Sadly the walk along the Kapiti Expressway was cancelled due to horrendous weather battering the entire country.

Antique Group: The group enjoyed a visit to Tim Hawley's house, dating back to the 1850's and conveniently located in Parkvale Rd, a few minutes walk from our building.  Tim is also a member of the Yorkshire based Hawley family and is a keen collector. Hisn extensive ceramic collection that he shared with those gathered was much appreciated.  Kay thanked Tim for sharing his collection and house with the group and presented a small token of their appreciation.

Garden Group: On Friday 20th April we had a return visit from Sarah Hooker, who last year shared the mysteries of planting and nurturing bulbs.  This year Sarah shared her knowledge of planting hanging baskets and pots. Being the school holidays it was a select group who gained the benefit of her expertise. as I helped her operate the slide show and projector I learned the following very useful tips that I have since put into practice.

March 2018

Walking Group: On Tuesday 13th March, twelve keen walkers traveled on the Kowhai park #8 bus to Ashton-Fitchett Drive to start our walk through Polhill Reserve.  It was a warm, sunny and windless day. Therefore, the track through shady second-growth natives, made a most enjoyable journey across the hill to George Denton Park at Highbury.  We also enjoyed occasional views to the city and harbour along the track.  After a picnic lunch we continued down Clinical track to Holloway Road.  We had seen and heard tui, kaka, saddleback, warblers and fantails all day and in particular saw a takahe grazing where the track met the Sanctuary fence.  Near Anges Bridge the birds were very noisy.  As we went down Holloway Road we identified buildings which had been a grocery store, butcher and workers' cottages.  The planned walk ended at Aro Street but we continued via Willis Street to Manners Street to catch our buses home.   [Margaret: Thanks Janet Tremewan for this report.]

Antique Group: On Friday 2nd March Linda Paris, from Paris House Jewellers, shared her expertise regarding gold in a captivating session that proved extremely popular with those present. Linda explained the different colours of gold made by adding a variety of minerals.  She also described the different carats which range from 9 to 24.  As urged by Kay many came attired in the precious metal.  Ailsa Wong-She brought family heirloom 22 carat gold bracelets that were stunning and much admired.

Garden Group: by Jenn Keenan and Eileen McLeod

On Friday 16 March, Jenn Keenan was thanked for her amazing five years of co-ordinating the group and presented with a gift basket and a cyclamen plant.  Jenn in turn thanked Ailsa Wong-She for her help over the years, describing her as her “right hand woman”.  Eileen McLeod and Ann Hargraves will now take on the co-ordination role.    Twenty-four people attended an enjoyable session run by Jean about plant propagation. She brought a large collection of plants and spoke about how to plant them. It was interesting to hear people talk about the history attached to the plants they had brought to share, these are too numerous to list fully here, but included hydrangea, mint, geraniums and daisies.  Jenn reminded people that some plants like daisies need to be re-propagated every couple of years. She also demonstrated a gadget with which you can take a small piece of newspaper and form a small pot for filling with her cutting mix recipe, Jenn’s cutting mix recipe is equal parts of soil, pumice and potting mix.   Then Kay Klitscher demonstrated how to plant cuttings in a large garden container. We were very lucky to have two such knowledgeable and wonderful speakers. 

After morning tea we had a lovely visit to Mary Stevens delightfully sheltered garden in Old Karori Road. She gave an interesting tour and talk about the plants in her garden. Her garden had many swan plants full of Monarch butterfly caterpillars feeding. Mary also showed some of the interesting floral arrangements she had made.  We really appreciated Mary's enthusiasm and shared knowledge and thank her and John very much for such inspiration and cuttings.  As a quick side trip we enjoyed going through the garden fence to see Beth Greensmith's perennial border and pruned trees.

As a group we would also like to thank Pam and Yvonne for initiative they have taken in organizing for the tidying of the garden and if anybody wants to join in their Wednesday roster please let Centre Manager Margaret know.

February 2018 

Walking Group: February 13th: Catchpool Valley Walk by Janet Salek 
Fourteen walkers met to enjoy one of our favourite areas, the bushy Rimutaka Forest Park.  This time, though, we did not walk over to the Orongorongo River and back, but branched off to the left to do the Five Mile Loop (not five miles).  The valley floor was beautiful with its nikau palms and the sun shining through the beech tree leaves.  We crossed the river and had a climb up to a lookout from which we could see the regeneration effects following a long ago bush fire.  Afterwards we went down to a grassy lunch spot, complete with picnic tables, close to the car park.  Unfortunately there were not many birds, but we were intrigued by the innovation of wind-up bird call installations. We thank Gwen and Bruce Levick for their informative and as always, competent leadership.

Classes: This term we have welcomed new students from as far afield as New York and Canada.  Barbara Camfield looks forward to her annual sojourn in Wellington when she can attend Robyn Eastgate-Manning's Tuesday watercolour classes. Robyn has explored charged washes in her classes this term. These produce very interesting colours and neutrals that you simply cannot achieve by painting directly. John Huckerby has returned to Wellington from New York and has also joined Robyn's class.

Maria's Oil and Acrylic class has tackled more adventurous landscapes this term and are now learning to blend oil colour to represent a squirell's fur.  Helen's drawing classes continue to challenge existing and new students, with a range of subject matter from large scale wooden mannequins to leaves, flowers and the necessary yet infuriating at times, white crockery - it seems so simple but it really makes you observe.

July 2017


A small and dedicated group of learners worked with Julie to design, cut and print their very first linocut.  The results, as you can see above, were quite impressive.  As with many printmaking techniques patience is essential. The design process can be relatively quick, however, the cutting of the linoleum itself takes a great deal of concentration and practice.  It takes time to master the correct angles for cutting and the amount of force applied to the linocut tools.  The group really enjoyed Julie's tuition and a follow-up session of learning the linocut reduction technique with the application of multiple colours will be scheduled for Term 4.

COLLAGE - PART ONE with Rosemary Stokell

A group of enthusiastic members joined Rosemary's workshop to learn basic collage skills that they applied to a number of small scale works, shown above.  Collage is a technique applied by many well-known artists such as Picasso and can add a great deal of interest to a mixed media work.  The group really enjoyed working with Rosemary and requested a Collage Part two workshop to explore collage asan element in a painted canvas.

On Friday, 5th May Helena Hawke delighted a large crowd with her discussion of 19th Century NZ watercolour paintings accompanied by a fascinating slideshow. There really was something for everyone to appreciate and great conversations occurred over the many beautiful art books that she brought along.

On Friday 2nd June many yesteryear brides came beautifully attired in their wedding regalia or bought along their head-dress or elements of their outfit for a “Wedding” themed session. A great deal of fun was had.

On Friday 7th July, Bridget, Bethaney and Moira presented an exquisite session on Lacemaking accompanied by the glamorous “Genevieve” and many precious items.

Our May 2017 walk was in the lower Wainuiomata River valley, in part of the East Harbour Regional Park. A sunny day with a few clouds and not too much wind made for an enjoyable day out.

We got under way rather late as two car loads of walkers got diverted – one went into the Rimutaka Forest Park, and the other carried on down to the sea. They eventually made it to the meeting place, whence 14 walkers set off. Our track led along the edge of the valley next to the hills, where Victoria University of Wellington is conducting a lizard habitat study and working hard to trap predators.

The valley floor has ponds and marshy channels marking former river beds. A small pumping shed, above one of the deeper holes in the river and currently being restored by a local group, dates from WW2. It pumped water from the river up to a bunker on top of the hill operative during the war as a watch station. From there the “long walkers” carried on round the river while the “short walkers” returned to base. The former group successfully negotiated the narrow track along a scree slope above the river, and climbed a low ridge.

Here there was a view of the sea, and by sitting down with our backs to the low bushes of coprosma propinqua we were reasonably sheltered from the moderate northerly wind. Then it was back to the pumping shed and along a different track closer to the river back to the start. A few people then went to check out a karaka grove and possible ancient dendroglyphs (carvings on the trunks of trees). We were not sure whether they really were genuine dendroglyphs. Thanks to Frances and Janet for organising the walk.

On May 19th Paul Stevenson and Annette Charlson discussed the Karori Community Centre at the corner of Beauchamp St and Lewer St. After this we all walked around to see the site and Annette was delighted by the generous collection for resources from the group as well as 4 new members to help with the garden.

On June 16th Jen led a brilliant Matariki type celebration, making waxed seed heads and simple floral arrangements for a time of year when our gardens lack flowers to cut and arrange.

On July 21st Mark Anderson from Holistic Fitness, a trainer who specialises in the 60 plus age group, led the group through a range of exercises to keep the group limber for gardening. With an emphasis on up and down movements. Mary Day will send copies of the exercises on request as promised.