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Creative Northland – Connecting Northland’s Art Sector

To be a part of the next Whangarei Sculpture Symposium Complete an Expresion of interest form here:


The Whangarei Sculpture Symposium is a unique arts event held on a biennial basis in Whangarei’s Town Basin area and Creative Northland are encouraging sculptors from around the country and overseas to take part in the 2018 event with registrations open until 18 October.

In 2016, 24 artists from around the country worked for 10 days straight on the Hihiaua Peninsular in Whangarei, creating sculptures made out of supplied wood and stone. The theme for the 2016 event was migration and the resulting works were of such a high standard that almost all 29 sculptures were sold on the final day at auction, making it the most successful symposium in the event’s history.

Due to the location on the Hatea Loop walk, the event gained a big following from the public with locals sometimes calling in on a daily basis to see the artists’ progress. Tauranga sculptor Rex O’Brien was judged the overall 2016 winner by a panel of judges for his piece ‘Kaitiaki Manu’ which now sits permanently on the Loop walk for the whole community to enjoy, thanks to the Whangarei District Council who bought the piece and had it installed.

Deputy Mayor Sharon Morgan says, “This is such an eagerly awaited part of the Endless Summer Festival, an exceptional opportunity for artists and the public to interact while a sculpture in wood or stone takes shape in a beautiful setting.

The Symposium makes a huge contribution to Council’s vision of the Town Basin as a focal point for art.  It enhances our connection with the water and the land, and is a vibrant and living part of our community.”

For the 2018 event which runs between 12 and 22 March, artists are invited to create a piece that relates to ‘Journey’based on first encounters, exploring and navigation. This theme was inspired by the Sestercentennial 250th anniversary of the voyage of the Endeavour captained by Lieutenant James Cook, which commemorates his exploration of our coast and will be celebrated in 2019.

As with previous years, at the end of the 10 day symposium one piece will be selected and awarded a $6,000 prize and the winning sculpture will be installed in a public space within the Whangarei District. A second prize of $4,000 will also be offered next year and located in the Bay Of Islands to mark the celebrations of 250 year anniversary of Captain Cook’s voyage of discovery. There will also be a $500 People’s Choice cash prize awarded.

Previous Symposium Event Information:

WSS 2018


Welcome to Creative Northland!

Creative Northland has an ongoing commitment to making sure that the arts sector in Northland is dynamic, thriving, influential and productive.