Intermedia artist Rose McLeod made the shift from Waiheke Island to Whanganui four months ago.

It was a huge wrench to leave the island and all her friends, but she is loving her new house and garden in tree-lined Halswell St.

For the previous 30 years her home base has been the island offshore from Auckland, where she pursued her own self-taught art practice.

She is Ngai Tahu. In 2004 she was offered a Ngai Tahu artist residency in Dunedin, and took the opportunity to go to the Dunedin School of Art at Otago Polytechnic.


"The put me straight into fourth year BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts). I enjoyed studying so much that I went on and gained a Master of Fine Arts down there."

McLeod was in Dunedin for four years. She returned to Waiheke Island with very little money and found that the house she owned with her son and a friend had to be sold because the friend wanted out.

During the previous 30 years the island had become "a rich man's playground". She was priced out of the market.

Whanganui was an attractive alternative, because she has a good friend here, because of its supportive arts community and because her son is in Wellington.

She's filled her house with art work and made over the garden. Now it's time to launch out into the art world.

Much of her work has been to do with clothing.

"I deconstruct clothing and my whole practise is recycled and then upcycled," she said.

She also works with clay and paints with acrylics. She is planning a studio in her garden.

She's registered to be part of next year's Open Studios, showing women's streetwear, and is painting with a group of new residents calling themselves River City Artists.

"I enjoy the ease of the city. It's a beautiful city, and I like the climate - apart from the wind," she said.