Matariki at The Incubator Creative Hub

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Matariki exhibitions, events and performances opened, happened  and occurred last night in the appropriately penetrating cold of of an Incubator evening.

As a regular attender at evening events at the wonderful Incubator Creative Hub at the Historic Village in the mid-Avenues of Tauranga I know I need to be “rugged up” and Friday night was no exception.  It was a superb, clear, star-bright evening.  A slither of moon with an undertone of orange and therefore, cold.   I wore what I lovingly describe as my “marae coat”.  It’s the second edition of an ankle length coat I wore when attending often rural marae and when I had to go to Wellington.  The second edition skims the top of my ankle boots and is dark-green wool – vintage and a $10. recycle shop find.  It provides the shelter of a tent when you’re waiting to be called on or standing on the Historic Village tarseal, it’s bliss.

These ladies have been here before!

Events at “the Inc” rely on the voluntary hard and well-honed teamwork of the Committed – a group who seem to have been here since the earliest days of this creative hub.   Artist and musician, John Baxter, is one of the evening’s photographers and photographer and painter Nicci Baxter is in The Artery kitchen putting finishing touches to “the kai”.  

The multi-talented and multi-tasking artist Nicci Baxter

There are also numerous non- Incubator faces including Western Bay of Plenty’s creative Mayor Garry Webber and Mrs Carole Webber – it’s so good to see them here too. I tell Mayor Webber I will not go on at him about the roads.  He laughs and I know we’re both on the same page.

A crowded house

The evening’s programme is opened by the Tauranga Hospital Choir group Vocal Chords  (it’s formally called the BOP Health Providers Choir)  – they are wonderful and talented and my enthusiasm for their performance is only curtailed by the cold seeping into my feet.  I used to find it hard trying to explain what participating in a kapa haka group meant to me – I’d have no difficulty talking about this with the Pakeha members of Te Hauora a Toi – the Bay of Plenty District Health Board Kapa Haka group, led by Te Pona Martin.   (There is a live video of their performance filmed by the inimitable Lynette Fisher of The Incubator on the ARTbop facebook page).   They finalise a wonderful performance with the district anthem “Tauranga Moana” and He Honore – I cannot stop myself.  On the tarseal in the semi-dark I join in.   I’m so absorbed in the performance I don’t even see I’m standing next to the team from Creative Bay of Plenty – on realising this I manage to hit up their General Manager about funding options for an original  music band.  The exhibitions are formally opened and the participating artists speak.  Then the queues form for the “kai” and the galleries – where did all these people come from….the Incubator Gallery is packed out as is The People’s Gallery a step away into the Village.

I’ve been coming to these events regularly now and know that, unless I wish to join the scrum to buy a painting (yes that’s what often happens as the works are so amazing) I’m better to come back another day.   Tonight however I do something I’ve never done before – I move the curtain and photograph part of Michelle Estall’s wonderful exhibition “Ruahine” I capture the artist’s statement for Mumu Moore

And I am entranced by the intricately painted guitar exhibited just inside The People’s Gallery doorwayI don’t stay for the food, the cold is taking my breath away so inside my marae coat I slip away.  As I turn towards the gate I notice that even the gazebo covering the supper is creatively engaged in the event – the lights and movement of the guests creating the most wonderful magic lantern show against the back wall.  I seem to conclude every article about events at the Incubator congratulating them on their professionalism and the level of enjoyment they provide.  I’ll have to do it again – this was a wonderful combination of waiata, kapa haka, creativity, food and people  – the fundamental elements of Matariki

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