Kaipara's moody landscape is set to come alive on canvas as filmmaker turned artist Melanie Rodriga performs a live art demonstration.
The demonstration is set to coincide with the opening of her new art exhibition called Kaipara Day and Night at the Mangawhai Artists Gallery.
Gallery deputy chairwoman Lynn Middleton says it's the first time the gallery has held a live exhibit like this.
"We have had demonstrations before but just for an hour or so. This time Melanie will be working on a painting over several days so it'll be a good opportunity to watch her process take place."
Rodriga has had a 40-year career as an international filmmaker where for the most part working with light has played a crucial role, much like it has with her new solo art exhibition called Kaipara Day and Night.
"As a film director, each day on location, I've had to be attentive to the four major filmic elements of form, light, shadow, and the time of day, and then I've had to calculate how these things relate to one other under changing physical conditions."
For Rodriga, "painting replicates the attentiveness of filmmaking and also frees me from the tyranny of it. Industrial filmmaking is the art of compromise, whereas painting is making art that aims to be free of compromise."
In her large luminous oil paintings, Rodriga says she utilises soft contours with muted, neutralised tones, with an emphasis on atmosphere, mood and mist.
"Most of my paintings are the views I can see from my home at Oneriri — from a peninsula bordered by the Otamatea river.
"From there I can see Pukeareinga, Pukekaroro and the Brynderwyns in the north, over to Tanoa and Ngaupiko Point, and to the west, Whakapirau and Pahi."
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Rodriga said that in these paintings she is "contemplating the relationship between time, form and light.
"I'm interested in representing the memory of a place's atmosphere and spiritual essence at a particular time of day, shrouded and misted by time. Living on the Kaipara, there is a strong sense of the natural world, however modified it is.
"Landscape and light are always vibrant, dynamic and changing. They evoke strong responses. I paint to express my own response to the way light influences form and colour in the landscape."
In her work, Rodriga acknowledges other painters drawn to the west coast, artists such as Sarah McBeath, Mark Cross and Stanley Palmer, however she often chooses Kaipara views that have not been painted before.
Moreover, she says that she likes to paint the same aspect again and again, often at different times of day, often working towards a reflection of both day and night, or dusk and dawn.
A treat for gallery visitors will be the opportunity to see Rodriga painting the second of two large canvases, a partner to her completed painting titled Takahoa, Stormy Afternoon.
Middleton says: "These canvases require more space than Melanie has in her studio so, for her and us, this is a great opportunity to use the gallery as a working environment."
Having been part of the recent fundraising by Mangawhai Artists, Rodriga says, "I shall be imagining, not only the mists of the Kaipara, but also a beautiful new art workspace that is soon to be built."
Kaipara Day and Night opens Thursday, June 13 at the Mangawhai Artists Gallery.
Recognition for Dargaville school project
Close to 100,000 trees have been planted along Kaipara's waterways thanks to the hard work of students and staff from Dargaville Intermediate School – and now their efforts have been recognised.
The school recently received a highly commended award under the Environmental action in water quality improvement category, at the Northland Regional Council's inaugural Environmental Awards.
Deputy principal Diane Papworth has led the project and says it was great to get the recognition.
"It's really just recognition for the work we've been doing at the school, it's just really neat."
Papworth says the school started the riparian planting project to protect local waterways nine years ago and initially started with just 2000 plants, then 4000.
"But as demand grew this quickly saw the school producing 10,000 plants each year."
She says the students learn seed sowing, how to transplant seeds and then lastly they go out and plant them.
"We have four different locations that students visit and plant on, the rest of the plants are sold to local landowners."
Papworth says initially the whole school was involved with the project, however now it's a voluntary group of about 20 "very dedicated" students who have formed a Koha club who dedicate their time to it.
She says the project's success can also be attributed to the school's caretaker, Dennis Hewitson, who has dedicated a lot of his time to helping with sowing seeds and caring for the plants.
"We're really grateful we've got Dennis, he's an ex nursery man and he's been a big part of this project."
Carpark becomes a temporary new home for bank
ASB bank in Dargaville has relocated from its building in the centre of town to a carpark as it pursues options for a more permanent location.
"Our current branch needs an upgrade to ensure our customers continue to have a great experience when they visit us," says Craig Sims, ASB executive general manager retail banking.
From May 3, the 93 Victoria St branch has been closed, and staff have been operating from a temporary site between Countdown and The Warehouse.
However customers can expect all the same banking services to be offered at the new temporary branch.
"We're excited to move to a new upgraded branch and proud of the commitment that it shows to the area, and our intent to remain an ongoing part of the local Dargaville community.
"The new branch will have the latest banking technology to help us continue to support our local customers, and we look forward to welcoming everyone when it opens."
However it is uncertain if the bank will return to its old central location in the heart of the township shopping centre, on Victoria St.
"We are actively pursuing potential locations to ensure we can deliver the latest banking customer experience. As soon as we have secured a permanent location we will let our customers and local community know where and when we will be opening."
Kumara farmer elected to Horticulture NZ Board
Dargaville kumara farmer and accountant Kathryn de Bruin has been welcomed to Horticulture New Zealand's board of directors.
The board also welcomes re-elected directors Barry O'Neil and Hugh Ritchie, after four candidates contested three vacant director roles.
De Bruin joins the board with a wealth of experience in the vegetable sector. Based in Dargaville, she splits her time between an accountancy practice focused on the primary sector, and growing 40ha of kumara with her husband Andre.
Katikati kiwifruit grower and Tomatoes NZ chairman Barry O'Neil offered himself for re-election, and has served as board president since the departure of former president Julian Raine at the end of last year.
Hugh Ritchie, managing director of Drumpeel Farms, also successfully offered himself for re-election.
"We're thrilled to welcome Barry and Hugh back, and to welcome Kathryn who adds to the board skill set," HortNZ CEO Mike Chapman says.
Horticulture New Zealand represents more than 5000 commercial fruit and vegetable growers who employ about 60,000 people, making a significant contribution to New Zealand's economy.
Directors are elected for a three-year term, with the new terms to begin after Horticulture New Zealand's Annual General Meeting on August 1.
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