Meretoto: Wero - the Challenge

The Diversion Gallery, Picton

Wednesday, November 20 to Saturday, December 14

Open Wednesday to Sunday 12-5pm or on request

As the excitement builds towards the arrival of the Tuia 250 flotilla in Totaranui/Queen Charlotte Sound, the Diversion Gallery opens their third Meretoto/Ship Cove exhibition of artistic perspectives on 250 years of shared histories.


Some lay down a fierce challenge—hence the title Meretoto—Wero. From striking photography to mixed media printmaking, watercolour to oil painting, this is diverse in media as well as commentary from five prominent New Zealand artists.

The prominence of cannon around the Ship Cove monument has perplexed artists on our Meretoto
visits, and Neil Pardington casts them in a challenge of his own, mounted photographic images on the saltire flags of the Union Jack—a motif employed differently but with an equally keen edge in Denise Copland’s mixed media works.


Nigel Brown develops his decades-long exploration of ideas around Cook, challenging established viewpoints, urging debate, while Michel Tuffery brings a further Pacific-NZ perspective in two new watercolours based on his recent visit to Meretoto.


Master NZ printmaker, Barry Cleavin (image above, has joined the project with his distinctive, acerbic commentary on place, history and interpretation.


The events marking 250 years since the first encounters between Māori and Cook have proved a
catalyst for debate and looking forward, and we value the cut-through these artists offer in works that are dramatic, poignant, or provocative, exploring dual heritage and shared futures.


In 2019, New Zealand will mark 250 years since the first meetings between Māori and Pākehā during James Cook and the Endeavour’s 1769 voyage to Aotearoa New Zealand. Tuia – Encounters 250 will acknowledge this pivotal moment in our nation’s history as well as the extraordinary feats of Pacific voyagers who reached and settled in Aotearoa many years earlier.

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