After months of repurposing the old Gardener's Cottage, sourcing funding, running some trial workshops and appointing a co-ordinator, the Rotorua Children's Art House will officially celebrate its opening this weekend.

Guest of honour will be Shona Hammond Boys, QSM, who established the New Zealand Children's Art House Foundation in 1997 based on the idea that "creative children ensure creative communities".

Mrs Hammond Boys and mayor Steve Chadwick will give opening speeches to mark the occasion and share their thoughts about the new creative space for children.

Two dragons - the Rainbow Dragon of Peace made by the North Shore Children's Art House and 'Arty' the original Art House dragon made by Mrs Hammond Boys, will entertain the crowd.


Fifteen children from the Paeroa Children's Art House will be there to support the opening and perform the dragon dances.

There will be live music performances by students from the Rotorua Music School and Rotorua Youth Centre at 1pm, 2.30pm and 3pm, a costume parade at 1.30pm, and a ukulele performance at 2pm.

Children are invited to take part in painting a collaborative banner to mark the day as well as have fun making their own dragon puppet.

Families, children and grandparents are welcome to come and enjoy the free celebrations along with interested parties, potential volunteers and potential tutors from noon to 3pm.

Co-ordinator Ally Rogers will be on hand to discuss the new creative sessions starting in the new school term beginning May 2.

The aim with all sessions is to provide children with the tools, resources and knowledge to explore their own creativity.

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* What: Rotorua Children's Art House official opening

* When: Saturday, 12pm to 3pm

* Where: Government Gardens

* Cost: Free


* Pre-schoolers messy art play: Monday mornings

* Visual arts: Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays 3.30pm to 5pm

* Learn to play the ukulele: Mondays and Wednesdays (TBC) 3.30pm to 5pm

* Raranga (flax weaving): Thursdays 3.30pm to 5pm