There's a bit of a buzz in the little Rangitīkei town of Mangaweka as men wearing walk shorts are moving artworks around inside an old church.
It sounds dodgy - and it is. The artworks are blatant forgeries and Richard Aslett who owns the Yellow Church Gallery encourages the shameless faking of famous artists' work.
And he is also guilty of recreating the biggest male fashion crime of the 20th century by choosing to wear walk shorts and white knee socks.
In fact, he's a very nice bloke - an expatriate Englishman who has called Mangaweka home for many years now and the forged artworks are entries for the upcoming Fakes and Forgeries competition, which opens at the gallery on October 23.
Entries close on October 17 and Aslett said he had received some fabulous works emulating a diverse range of artists from Picasso to Banksy and some from closer to home such as Colin McCahon and Peter McIntyre.
"It's always exciting to see whose work has inspired the entries and who the subjects are," said Aslett.
"The 2019 winner was a bust of Sir Edmund Hillary and in 2017 the winner was La Jacinda - a painted portrait of our soon-to-be Prime minister."
Aslett started the biennial contest in 2007 in recognition of Mangaweka-born Karl Sim - the first New Zealander ever convicted of forgery.
Sim was convicted in 1985 after he was caught selling his convincing copies of Rita Angus, Charles F Goldie, Francis Hodgkins, Colin McCahon, and Petrus van der Velden paintings and signing their names to his work.
The forger was fined $1000 and ordered to do community work for his deceptions. The likeable rogue later changed his name to Carl Feodor Goldie, so he could legitimately sign his paintings as CF Goldie.
He would continue to poke fun at the art 'establishment' and was a welcome guest of honour at the openings of the exhibitions he inspired until his death in 2013.
It is now time for contemporary art forgers to start putting the finishing touches to their own masterpieces to compete for a prize pool of more than $1000 cash and art materials.
The Fakes and Forgeries competition is open to three groups - the adult section, 16 years and under, and a special collective schools category.
"The school entries will be exhibited in the hall and there will be a number of events in town on the day of the opening," said Aslett.
There will be a book fair, all-town garage sales and at least two new large outdoor paintings to be revealed as part of the ongoing 'Mangaweka Masterpieces' village open air and walk around art display project.
"The exhibition and winner announcements will begin here at the gallery at 11am."
Aslett said he and gallery assistant Michael Cathels started sporting their walk shorts for a laugh and decided to keep wearing them as their work 'uniforms' as they are great conversation starters.
The two are preparing for Mangaweka's big day to proceed as planned but they are prepared for the unknown.
"It is a fluid situation at the moment as we're not sure what is likely to happen with Covid levels," he said.
"If we can't proceed, we will postpone rather than cancel with a backup plan to reschedule as soon as possible."
To find out how to enter Fakes and Forgeries visit richardaslett.co.nz or call 027 526 6612