NZ Sculpture OnShore began on a chilly, rainy morning in 1994 - with a belief amongst a small group of North Shore women shaking collection boxes to raise funds for the local Women's Refuge Safe House that there had to be a better way.
And there was.
At a meeting held at the home of now-Patron, Erika Congreve, it was suggested an art exhibition be held. Friends of Women's Refuges Trust was born and their first exhibition, in July 1995, was successful beyond expectation.
The group wasted no time in organising another exhibition - and then another.
The inspiration to exhibit sculpture came from involvement of Genevieve Becroft and the first sculpture exhibitions were held in the garden of her home on the shore of Lake Pupuke in Takapuna.
Eventually the scale of the exhibitions became too great for the garden, and the move was made to the NZ Sculpture OnShore's current location - the Fort Takapuna Historic Reserve site in Devonport,
The first NZ Sculpture OnShore exhibition at Fort Takapuna was held in 2004, making this year's exhibition doubly special as both the tenth anniversary of our association with the site - and the twentieth anniversary of Friends of Women's Refuges Trust.
Some of our milestones:
1995: first art exhibition, held at Mairangi Bay Arts Centre. Exhibition and sales net $23,000
1996: NZ Garden Sculpture and Outdoor Art exhibition in the garden of David and Genevieve Becroft. Fifteen hundred people visited, raising $40,000.
1997: Art Exhibition at Mairangi Arts Centre. Over $25,000 raised.
1998: NZ Garden Sculpture and Outdoor Art Exhibition once again at the home of Genevieve and David Becroft. $80,000 raised.
1999: NZ Contemporary Studio Glass Exhibition, Mairangi Arts Centre. Organised in conjunction with the NZ Society of Artists in Glass. $20,000 raised.
2000: NZ Sculpture Exhibition held in Becroft garden. Ninety two artists participated, 4,500 people visited and $90,000 was raised in support of Women's Refuge.
2004: The first NZ Sculpture OnShore Exhibition held at Fort Takapuna Historic Reserve in Devonport. That year’s donation was used by Women’s Refuges to provide emergency essentials for children (pajama, toothbrush, school essentials, backpacks) entering Refuge with their mothers.
2006 - 2012: NZ Sculpture OnShore over these years showed growth in the quality of sculpture displayed and in the enthusiasm and number of exhibition visitors.
2014: More than 18,000 people visited the exhibition and the associated Children’s Sculpture Exhibition. A total of $180,000 was donated to Women's Refuge from the proceeds of the exhibition.
All of these exhibitions have been organised, managed and staged mainly by volunteers and all have supported the work of Women's Refuge. As of May 2014 Friends of Women's Refuges Trust has raised $1.5m for the refuge movement in New Zealand.
Sally Tagg, 'Pollen Hybrid', 2008. Photo: Tom Gray