Six members of one family are sharing the walls at Whanganui's Milbank Gallery this month.

Three generations of the Te Ua whānau have combined their considerable talents to exhibit together.

Elly Te Ua does not believe her beautifully woven coat and cushion covers made with wool she has spun and died herself constitute art, says her son Ahu.

"She doesn't see it as art - it is just something she does.


"Dad was a house painter and had a great eye for the right colour palette but he wouldn't have called himself an artist either."

Artists or not, Elly and Dick Te Ua's four adult children all have impressive creative abilities and their granddaughter Lucy, 16, is also a talented painter.

Ahu is a painter, graphic designer and sculptor (he even crafts figures from surfboard wax) who recently returned from Auckland to live in his Whanganui hometown.

His brother Richard's paintings of snowy mountain peaks are a testimony to his long-time "day job" as a Ruapehu ski instructor.

"I could be wrong but I believe he worked at Tūroa for at least 25 years," says Ahu.

"Now he has retrained and works as a medic."

Their brother Ronnie's talent has been woodcarving and there are two of his beautifully carved taiaha in the exhibition, but he has recently turned his hand to metal sculpture.

"Ronnie works as a welder so it wasn't too hard for him to start making metal artworks."

Teresa, the only female sibling, is a painter and her subjects range from a scene of a lone ice skater on a street in a Dutch village, roses and chrysanthemums, a tui with paua shells and a portrait of her father, Richard senior.

Her daughter Lucy has chosen birds as the subjects of her five small paintings in the exhibition.

They have a unique style which is possibly influenced by her mother's work and maybe by her uncles' as well.

Ahu says the family are pleased that Teresa has included their father's portrait in the exhibition.

"He was hard to capture because he would go through photo albums and cut out photos of himself."

Ahu says his mother came to New Zealand from the Netherlands as a child after World War II and later met young Dick Te Ua when he was working on a shearing gang.

Te Ua is open for viewing at Milbank Gallery, 1b Bell St, from 11am to 4pm most days. Call Bill Milbank on 027 628 6877.