President’s Annual Report

March 2019

Watercolour New Zealand’s objects as stated in our Constitution are ‘to educate the public of New Zealand in the appreciation of watercolour painting by holding exhibitions of watercolour painting and arranging courses of instruction and social events which can be open to the public.’ This report outlines the ways in which we have done this over the past year.

Splash 2018 + Ceramicus

Once again we held a joint exhibition, Splash 2018 + Ceramicus, at the Academy Galleries in conjunction with the Wellington Potters Association. Guest artist was Alfred Memelink. At the suggestion of our patron, Adrienne Pavelka, we introduced a new category for small paintings. These proved popular with buyers. Artists from North Auckland to Southland submitted works. More than 300 were selected for hanging.

The WNZ Supreme Award of $1000 was won by Christchurch artist Min Kim. The Gordon Harris Award for Innovation in Watercolour went to Suzanne Herschell (Eastbourne) and the French Art Shop’s People’s Choice Award to Dianne Taylor (Wellington). The Gordon Harris Award for Best Painting by a Junior Artist went to Max Wootton (Kapiti). The 5 Merit Awards went to paintings by Richard Bolton (Geraldine), Judy Johnstone (Feilding), Marianne Linton (Lower Hutt), Ally Choi (Christchurch) and Judith Prictor (Rotorua). The Patron’s Award for Best Small Work was won jointly by Bernadette Parsons (Mercer) and Jacky Pearson (Masterton).

The exhibition attracted 3,333 visitors, the second highest number for any of our exhibitions. We had the second highest number of paintings sold at any Splash exhibition and the third highest sales by value - a very good result given the state of the art market.

Because the cost of hiring the venue increased by nearly 60% last year, we were forced to put the entry fee up to $15 per painting. It had been held at $10 for many years despite the duration of the exhibition increasing from 9 days to 16 days. We managed to make a modest profit on the exhibition. That the costs for venue hire and advertising were shared with the potters certainly helped in this respect.

Thanks to the efforts of Alfred Memelink, Splash 2018 was extensively publicised on the WNZ facebook page and elsewhere. The facebook publicity included videos of the exhibition by professional photographer Martin Warenczuk.

Gordon Harris Online Competition

This was won by Auckland artist Amanda Brett. Second place went to Bernadette Parsons of Mercer and third place to Auckland artist Ginette Wang. We thank Gordon Harris for their continuing sponsorship of this annual competition.

Outdoor Painting Groups

Our Monthly Painting Groups provide the opportunity to paint on location and equally important, the chance to meet and to socialise with other artists. We are grateful to Martin Jenkins for organising the Wellington group, which is open to artists using any medium, and to Audrey Moore who organises the Kapiti group.


The high demand for our watercolour workshops continues. We presented a full and varied programme of workshops in 2018. These included two three-day workshops in April by our international tutor, award winning Australian artist Greg Allen: Painting New Zealand’s Amazing Landscape and a plein air workshop, Painting Wellington’s Harbour Outside. In June, Christchurch artist Svetlana Orinko conducted a weekend workshop, Pushing Boundaries in Watercolour. Also in June, Daniel Reeve tutored a one day workshop, Calligraphy, held in association with Karori Arts and Crafts Centre. Jacky Pearson held a weekend workshop, Go with the Flow in August. We would like to thank Sue Wild for the great job she has done in organising our workshops.

Alfred Memelink continued to hold his highly successful youth workshops throughout 2018. To encourage young people to take up watercolour WNZ sponsors half the cost of these workshops.

Our autumn safari to Kaikoura was plagued by inclement weather. Consequently we spent a lot of time painting from photographs in the Kaikoura Primary School hall. We were well looked after by members of the Kaikoura Art Society, in particular President, Larry Field and his wife Mitsuyo, a WNZ member. In late September we travelled to Napier to paint Hawkes Bay. Both safaris were well attended – artists came from as far north as Auckland and as far south as Ashburton - and provided an excellent opportunity to meet and to paint with other artists.

===Five Day Painting Challenge ===
This event, organised by Sue Wild, challenged members to paint for 30 minutes daily for 5 days in July and to share their work on Instagram. 22 artists from throughout the country participated, posting 77 paintings. Others chose to share their work with friends, rather than post it online. The success of this initiative means that it will be repeated this year.


Our membership continues to increase - at the end of December it stood at 456, the highest it has ever been. The proportion of our members who live outside the Greater Wellington area is growing as well - it is now 45%, up from around 30% a few years ago. Offering prospective members the facility to sign up online thus making it quick and easy to join is in some measure responsible for our increased membership, along with our online presence (many new members say they found out about us by searching the internet) as well as artists who had WNZ recommended to them by friends who are members.


Our financial position continues to be healthy. We recorded a surplus of $4,657 for the last financial year. Our total accumulated funds stand at $118,357.
The committee would like to thank Treasurer Jill Hartstonge for all the hard work she has put in on behalf of WNZ and auditor Chum Te Whata for his part in preparing our annual return to the Charities Commission.


In the past 5 years we have doubled the size of the Newsletter from 8 to 16 pages. I continue to get a lot of feedback from members praising the quality of our Newsletter and the informative nature of the articles - a tribute to the efforts of Editor, Sue Wild.

Recently the library at Te Papa, the National Museum, has requested that we add them to the mailing list for our newsletter, an endorsement of its quality and importance.

We would also especially like to thank Daniel Reeve who does the layout for us, giving the publication its professional look.

The Newsletter is our main point of contact with our members, particularly those who live outside Wellington. It goes out to every one of our members and to art societies throughout the country. The WNZ Newsletter plays a major role in fulfilling our mission as stated in the WNZ Constitution, “To educate the public of New Zealand in the appreciation of watercolour painting.”


I would like to thank the Committee for their commitment and effort this past year. Watercolour New Zealand is a volunteer organisation and we couldn’t function without them.
We also appreciate the assistance we get from members who for one reason or another do not wish to join the Committee but who volunteer to help out in setting up and manning our Splash exhibitions. The exhibitions couldn’t take place without your assistance.

The Year Ahead Workshops

Sue Wild has organised a full programme of workshops for the year ahead. Alfred Memelink will continue his popular youth workshops which are introducing the younger generation to watercolour painting, and we will again feature a junior section in this year’s Splash.

Gordon Harris Online Watercolour Competition

Entries for this popular annual competition close on 15 April and the winning paintings will feature in our next newsletter. Once again there will be an additional People’s Choice Award which will be voted for on-line.

Splash 2019

We are investigating the possibility of another joint exhibition with the Wellington Potters Association, to be held towards the end of the year.

Time for a Change at the Top

After five years in the position, I am stepping down as president of Watercolour New Zealand. I would like to thank the committee for their support over my time as president, in particular two past presidents, Alfred Memelink and Sue Wild. I’m confident that our organisation is in good shape: membership is at an all time high and our financial position is solid.

We look forward to another interesting and productive year for Watercolour New Zealand.

John Toft

Watercolour NZ
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