St Theresa’s School Invercargill

February 2018


I worked with the whole school from the design to the painting and we decided the mural should face in so all children, staff and visitors could enjoy it.   The design was based on the rosary.

Resene Mural Masterpieces

Ross Home Centennial Calendar

December 2018

This calendar was produced over a series of workshops and many cups of tea.  Ross Home residents, staff and members of the wider community worked with oral historian, Helen Frizzell  and me to gather ingredients and make a memory cake.  The resulting ‘Happy Birthday’ cake celebrates the rich history of Ross Home with each month dressed in memories that celebrates the home’s centennial history.  Our thanks to all the cooks who contributed to the making and baking.

Workshop in the Rain – Riverton Aparima

January 2019

This workshop was part of the Riverton Arts Festival.  The day was spent moving from the senior citizens’ hall to underneath the Macrocarpa stand.

Painting amidst the wind swirls and the rain, trying to capture the changing moods of the estuary was exciting and exhilarating!  It was an opportunity to share my skills and experiences of the realities of painting out in the environment.  Some great painting was done!


Riversdale Mad Mosaics

July 2016

Bush telegraph works well from one province to another especially when creative endeavours are happening!  It was a pleasure to work with another group of creative women who actually travelled through snow to get there and be part of the Riversdale Arts Exhibition.  The mulled wine was a hit! Thank you!

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Gate Programme – REAP – Gore

June 2016

A big thank you to East Gore School – students and staff for making me and the other visiting students feel very welcome!  This was a 4 day art extension programme with contributing primary schools from around the district – Mataura, St Mary’s, Wyndham & East Gore.  The colours of Southland was the theme for the children’s work and they used different shaped wooden blocks to create the works.  They were amazing!

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Mosaic Workshop – Waikawa

May 2016

There are a few pluses when you are a collector of many things..not just plastic,   so I’m always looking for things to repurpose and I get given a lot of stuff to be used in community arts.  So armed with knowledge and objects off I drove to the Catlins.  People usually think of mosaics as just 2 dimensional but the more I have done the more 3 dimensional they have become. So pushing boundaries and sharing my knowledge with fellow creative people results in some amazing work.  Thank you for your wonderful hospitality and warm welcome!

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February – August 2016

The idea of this project was to use repurposed materials to tile a bus shelter positioned at Green Island Landfill that will be used as an education booth about the work of the landfill and Rummage.  Students from Warrington, Waikouaiti, St Brigid’s, North East Valley and Port Chalmers Primary schools painted the tiles, made from wooden bedheads, with their views on recycling.  If you are visiting Dunedin it’s worth a trip out to the Landfill to see the pukeko as well as have a rummage.

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Super Heroes – Enviro Schools Hui

October 2015

The place was packed with over 100 children from all over Southland excited to be coming together on a single cause!  It’s very heartening and gives me hope for the future to see this level of involvement and commitment amongst young people.  They did presentations of the work that they had done in their own communities and they were there to learn new things from each other and the tutors.  Hence my job to share my skills in making art out of what is normally thrown away.  The super heroes are like a talisman to help the child help the environment.

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Glenham Primary School, Southland

September 2015

This was a sculpture project aiming to encourage the children to think in three dimensions and to actually make their idea using wire.  This resulted in considerable problem solving and experimentation with the wire and me thinking – oh no I’m asking too much…. – but they kept at it and wow!!  I feel we underestimate children’s observations and imaginations – notice in the horse the bottle tops start out green in the tummy and then become brown as they hit the paddock!!  Click on these photos to see the detail!

Ant Horse

Riversdale Primary School, Southland

September 2015

I had a busy few days at Riversdale Primary school and one of the projects we completed was these graphic novels.  These novels were about making it exciting to mix and play with  words and images to tell their own stories.  The children chose to continue working through their breaks, in their excitement to complete their pages.

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East Gore Art Centre Project Fundraiser

August 20

This project, which is ongoing, aims to restore the historical Presbyterian church in Gore and turn it into an arts centre, including studios, accommodation, printing making and an education centre.  It’s an exciting, farsighted venture and dear to my heart.


The Chatham Islands

July 2015

I was privileged to be invited to go to the Chatham Islands in July of this year.  I  worked with the young people of the island during Youth week exploring the theme of ‘know yourself and your history.  We worked with materials found on the island – natural and recycled.

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I also worked in Te One school with 3 different classes – we made wall necklaces, small wax sculptures and graphic novels.  What a cool school!!

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Wyndham Primary School, Southland

June 2015


The middle of winter in Southland is a challenging time to make concrete people but the young people of Southland are hungry for such things.  They are not fazed by it but just don gumboots, overalls and wet weather gear and get on with it!  It helps having a good caretaker as well!  A wonderful school!


Manapouri Art Group

April 2015

Sometimes the weather  is a gamble down south – but this can also turn into a good thing – learning the art of driving a big BMW backwards down Blackmount in the snow.  As well you get to have another class with a great bunch of people to make up for lost time.  A good thing about working with local people is that you get to find out where the best local views are and where to paint from.  Hence the unnameable barge in the photo!!


Wyndham School, Southland

March 2015

I worked with a group of children to push their creative boundaries.  We worked with tins, aluminum sheeting offcuts and wire and joined them together using the riveting technique.  These were new and challenging materials for the children to work with and new skills were developed.  They thought their finished works were amazing!  The works were then attached to the side of a building that catches the sun where they have become a focal point when you enter the school!  The woven pieces represent the school and its protection and nurturing role for the children.

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 Tuatapere Summer Day

February 2015

The Waiau Arts and Crafts Trail is held on Waitangi weekend and is very much a community effort involving a large part of the community.  There many activities on over the weekend including ‘Stump the Hump’ – an endurance walking event held on the famous Hump Ridge track.

Janet at Tui Gallery

The office in Aunt Tui’s garage opened for the first time in 80 years!!  Aunt Tui’s is where I base myself when painting in Fiordland and Southland and is now able to display some of my southern paintings.



As well my Jackson’s Cupid caravan caught up with a long lost relative over the weekend!



Blue Mountain College, Tapanui

December 2014

This is my seventh year of being involved in Blue Mountain College’s Art week.  This longstanding partnership has enabled the building on of student creativity from year to year.

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These drawings are a few examples of the work done in my latest involvement with the school where  I worked with every student in the school.  What I was trying to show them with this exercise was that drawing can be exciting and touch on their own inner world. Expressing their own personalities – some are very funny, some are moving, some very deep thinking.  The results stunned them all and gave a new found confidence in the art of drawing.

Blueskin Bay Library – Unrolling the Mat!

August 2014

This amazing community project to create a mat for the children’s library, reached fruition with a gathering to celebrate its unrolling on Saturday.  This large 3 dimensional mat, using the poor man’s loom technique, was made by students from Warrington and Waitati Primary schools and a group of dedicated women from around the area.   The students made the protection circles that edge the mat: the hills, valleys, sea and sky were made by the women.  This project reminded me of the hours I spent stitching as part of Bannerworks while in the UK.  It also reminded me of the hours of talking, laughing, sharing , eating and drinking that is so much a part of this kind of endeavour.  Funding by Creative Communities made this project possible as well as numerous donations of fabric by groups and individuals.

Blueskin Library Mat


West Gore School Whanau Class

1 July 2014

To celebrate the end of their whanau class the students made and decorated a waka to hold and carry all their taonga from their weeks together. I had a wonderful creative time with these students.

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West Gore School

16 – 20 June 2014

I worked with the whole school realizing some of their designs for the front pathway area of their school. Stage I involved work on a sculpture that will be representational of their school life – from new entrants to senior students standing tall.

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Bathgate Park School

4 – 9 June 2014

I have recently worked with the teachers and students at school on the black and white themed large props for their stage production of the stories of Maui. They all worked very hard to create an energetic and memorable show with a contemporary spin on these powerful traditional stories.

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Lawrence Area School

21 May 2014

A proactive art teacher and a visit to the Mataura River Art Project exhibition resulted in these young people working in their own way with jigsaw pieces.

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Waiau Area School Creative Writing Students’ Visit

4 July, 2013

I enjoyed a visit by senior students and their teacher from Waiau Area school who were exploring Dunedin in search of inspiration for their creative writing course.  The history of plastic and house design based on displaying collections was talked about.  It was great to have them visit!


The Mataura River Art Project gets to Parliament!!

It is very exciting to let you know that the project is now on show at Bowen House Exhibition Space at parliament.  It will be on show there from 26 August – 18 September 2015!

Check it out on parliament’s web site:

Mataura River Project Invite

The Mataura River project was first mooted in a conversation between Community Artist Janet de Wagt and (at that time) the Principal of Glenham School, Cathi Knowles. Funding was sought and gained from Community Trust of Southland, Gore District Creative Communities and Southland District Council. Dongwha Patinna NZ donated the wood for the circles and the Gore Woodworkers donated their time to cut out over 600 circles in varying sizes. Other materials were sourced from the schools and their communities to keep costs down. Hokonui Runanga offered their support as the umbrella organization.

Cathi Knowles coordinated with the 21 schools involved who with their communities eagerly got behind and supported the project.The schools were: Garston School, Lumsden School, Waikaia School, Balfour School, Riversdale School , Otama School, Waikaka School, Knapdale School, Willowbank School, East Gore School, Gore Main School, St Mary’s School, Longford Intermediate School, West Gore School, Mataura School, Tuturau School, Wyndham School, Edendale School, Glenham School, Tokanui School & Gorge Road School. Janet began working with the first school Mataura Primary school in May 2013 and finished at the last school Willowbank in 2014.

The project was initially exhibited for 3 months at Croydon Heritage Aviation Museum at Mandeville where it was officially opened by Hokonui Runanga and Bill English. It attracted a great deal of interest both locally (many schools visited) and from further afield.

These are some photos of the exhibition.

The Mataura River Project

Southland Schools
27 May 2013

Like all really amazing projects it began with a great local idea, embraced and supported by the wider community!  In all nineteen schools and their communities will participate in this project.  I have just completed Term 2 working with 6 creative schools situated close to the mighty Mataura River.  I began the project on 27 May, fittingly at Mataura school. Here are a few examples of the schools I have worked with so far.  A travelling exhibition of all the art works created is planned for 2014.  Will keep you posted!


Glass Elevator – Professional Women’s Networking

City Gallery
30 May 2013

I spoke to this group about my life as a working artist both here and overseas.  The value of art buying groups as investment and enjoyment was discussed.

Hospice – Living Every Moment

10 May 2013

I was invited to speak at the opening of this exhibition and also to exhibit the ‘After Rembrandt’ series.  As well I spoke on a panel about the importance of creativity and the use of a visual language at all times in our lives.






 ‘Art Week’ – Blue Mountain College

November 2012

I worked with the students to make Welcome Poles.  The design of these was influenced by a study of 1960s ‘pop art’ and were based on school values and animal welfare.


‘Tryathon’ Mosaics Workshop

Rakiura / Stewart Island
September 2012

Encouraging participants to think more about making 3 dimensional mosaics, using broken treasures.


Term 2 Art Classes – Bathgate Park School

June 2012

I was working with students and teachers in different mediums based around ‘One Country, Many Cultures’.


Gore Garden Club

Gore June 2012

I was invited to share my mosaic skills with ‘the oldest garden club in New Zealand’.

Idea Services

Art Space
March 2012

I enjoyed a 10 week artist in residence with Idea Services at Art Space.

Art Week – Blue Mountain College

November 2011

I worked with the students on a printmaking /wood cuts unit and these cloaks/kahu were the end product of the work.


Teapots – Waitati School

June 2011

Working with students at Waitati school – keeping up the tradition of teapots in Waitati!


The Armitage – PACT

April / May 2011

This was a group project where everybody was involved and had input.  The group suggested the motorbike and using a picture from the Internet and they made the different components.  Ten wall necklaces were also made.


Hospice Southland

April 6 & 7 2011

I ran a two day open art workshop for Hospice Southland staff and volunteers where the staff explored their ‘philosophy of care’.  We produced a series of mixed media tiles that were shown in the ‘Living Every Moment’ Art Exhibition at City Art Gallery, Invercargill, NZ.  Fun and laughter was had by all!


Blue Mountain College ‘Artweek’

December 2010

I was artist in residence for the school’s artweek.  These necklaces are an example of a  group project where students problem solved the use of materials.

A painting class worked on the boxes, exploring painting and drawing an object and than painting it in a different context.


 Wall Necklaces

IHC Gore

A weeks residency working with clients in Gore.  We produced these wall necklaces using wire and wool.


Women’s Brain Injured Art Group

25 June 2010

This group, funded by CARA, continues into its 5th year meeting once a week during school terms in my studio at Macandrew Intermediate school. Assisted by Lee Houlihan the group recently made these kete.


Macandrew Bay School Sculpture Project


Macandrew Intermediate Art Camp


 Central Otago Schools

Art Books



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