Shona Moller's popular art gallery in Paraparaumu Beach, which has been going strong for 20 years, is closing down.

Her gallery, called Shona Moller Art Gallery and Studio, has been a well-known destination over the years, especially as her artwork grew in popularity.

The gallery's closure is because Shona and husband Bryce are moving to Tauranga to be closer to family.

They had intended to move in about three years time, when the gallery's lease expired, but the expected arrival of their eldest daughter Zoe's first child in September has brought the plan forward.

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It will also mean they will be close to their other daughter Jessie, who lives in Tauranga, as well as Shona's parents Jocelyn and Red Blake who will be moving in a retirement village there.

And Shona won't be far from her brothers Ritchie and Barry who live in the Coromandel Peninsula.

Shona plans to open a new gallery, hopefully in Mount Maunganui, once she finds the right location.

Her gallery in Marine Parade, Paraparaumu Beach, opened to the public on January 21, 2000.

Shona Moller artwork called Anchor Me. Photo / David Haxton
Shona Moller artwork called Anchor Me. Photo / David Haxton

"I can remember it because it was my birthday."

It was originally intended as a studio space but soon she was selling her eye-catching layered impressionism/expressionism type artwork there too.

"People have been tremendous.

"I never expected the amount of support I received from Kāpiti and the wider community.

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"I thought I was just going to have a space to paint from, and continue how I had, family and friends, and then that just grew crazy to the point where at any one time I can have up to 27 people on my waiting list."

The gallery was originally called Art Attack until the name was bought by Disney.

"They flicked us a bit of cash, nothing to retire on, but it basically covered the cost to rebrand.

"And then after that we just used my name."

There have been a number of highlights over the years.

Shona Moller in her art studio. Photo / David Haxton
Shona Moller in her art studio. Photo / David Haxton

From her Paraparaumu Beach studio, Shona launched two successful galleries in Wellington, one in Tinakori Rd for six years and then another opposite Te Papa for another six.

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There was a sell-out solo exhibition in London where all 19 paintings sold on opening night and a further 13 commissions secured from the same exhibition.

She's donated over $100,000 of her art to schools, charities and fundraisers.

"I've been very fortunate and proud to have been supported by the Kāpiti community for so long and it has been fantastic to have been able to give a lot of that back."

Shona also appeared on the Holmes prime time television show after she wanted to put an 8m X 4m brightly coloured expressionistic nude woman artwork on a State Highway 1 billboard in Paekākāriki to publicise the gallery.

"They [billboard owner] said no but it went up in a clandestine kind of way and it lasted about two days before someone confiscated it."

It led to Shona creating a second similar artwork, for the Holmes show, to put it on the billboard which got confiscated too.

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"Somewhere out there are two very large original nudes."

Shona, who closes the gallery door on Saturday, also has deep ties with Kāpiti.

Shona Moller artwork called Kapiti Beyond the Harakeke (flax). Photo / David Haxton
Shona Moller artwork called Kapiti Beyond the Harakeke (flax). Photo / David Haxton

Her great, great, great-grandmother Heke Parata was kidnapped by Te Rauparaha from a South Island tribe in the 1840s and held hostage on the island for many years until eventually escaping with the help of a whaler and later settling in Pauatahanui.

Shona leaves the district with fond memories.

"I love Kāpiti, especially the people, the beach, the space, the lifestyle, but life moves on and unfortunately I can't stay here forever.

"I would like to say a huge thank you to the Kāpiti community for their support, for keeping me company, for their conversations, for never making me feel like a sole trader, and for celebrating milestones in their lives with a piece of my artwork."

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