A new exhibition at NorthTec's Geoff Wilson Gallery this Friday titled Manners of Speaking – Te Pūkoro o Tāne evolves around how artists perceive the world and embed it into their work.

Curated by Kawakawa-based Sonja van Kerkhoff who brings 30 years of art curation experience into the gallery, Manners of Speaking will feature more than 50 works in diverse media with the common theme of Māori proverbs or whakatauki.

"Art is always an abstraction of the world, it's never literal," van Kerkhoff explained.

"The idea of the exhibition is to bring into focus how abstract the world is in our heads. Māori have a lot of beautiful sayings – the language is poetic and full of abstractions, which is why they are part of the exhibition."


She said curation wasn't about hanging things on the wall for her but to create experiences.

Piet Nieuwland poetry will be on display at NorthTec exhibition Manners of Speaking - Te Pūkoro o Tāne. Photo / John Stone
Piet Nieuwland poetry will be on display at NorthTec exhibition Manners of Speaking - Te Pūkoro o Tāne. Photo / John Stone

With strong connections to Europe, van Kerkhoff brought several international artists on board, including submissions from the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and the UK, along with New Zealand-made art.

Whangārei artist Piet Nieuwland will be featuring with three of his poems that are printed on A3 sheets of card for display. He worked the whakatauki into his lines focusing on nature themes.

Nieuwland started publishing his writing – nationally and internationally– in the 80s, has been working as a full-time poet for the last seven years and is heavily involved in the local poetry scene.

"I have been writing furiously for 40 years. Poetry has always been important," Nieuwland said.

Next to attending spoken-word poetry groups, Nieuwland has collected poems by Northland artist and published several books under the title Fast Fibres Poetry with last edition sampling 55 submissions and a new edition on the way.

Nieuwland poetry was something he did for the love of it, and "certainly not because you make a whole lot of money".

"I get a lot of satisfaction of being published."


That being said, he enjoys performing his writing, too, and part of the exhibition will be a live reading which will help the poems on display to "become alive".

Manners of Speaking – Te Pūkoro o Tāne will be on display from today until March 26 at the Geoff Wilson Gallery, NorthTec, Gate 3, 51 Raumanga Valley Rd, Whangārei.