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History

- NEW ZEALAND PACIFIC STUDIO HISTORY -

Founding Members (2001): Amy Berk | Margery Blackman | Don Bowker | Jeanettte Brunton | Andy Cox | Catherine (Kate) Coolahan | Rosalind Derby | Kay Flavell | John Bevan Ford | Robin Lane | Anne McLean | Dennis McLean | Geoff Park | Marilyn Webb | Gareth Winter  


New Zealand Pacific Studio was founded as 'New Pacific Studio' in 2001 by Dr Kay Flavell, originally from Dunedin. Humanities Professor at Berkeley, University of California at Davis, Flavell is particularly concerned with Pacific projects for cross-fertilisation and mutual learning between Pacific Island, Asian-Pacific, and European-Pacific artists, writers, environmentalists and thinkers. 

Her impetus was the belief that shared ecologies, rich indigenous cultures, and diverse multicultural communities not only provide many areas for comparative study, but also offer creative solutions to the various environmental and cultural questions that confront us on both a local and global scale. With this vision, she purchased and restored Normandell, and for more than 12 years, selected and supported creative practitioners of diverse types while also pursuing her own writing practice that has seen much of the local area's rich history recorded. 

'The wealth of archival material and social history that Kay Flavell has compiled is truly impressive and a great treasure for the community as well as those who have family links to the place. Normandell has clearly touched many people and has benefited positively from the energy that has been put into its rehabilitation.' -- NZ Historic Places Trust, 2014.      

Kay Flavell retired from New Zealand Pacific Studio in 2013,  and currently directs New Pacific Studio in Vallejo California.  

In mid-2013, curator, writer and arts manager Jodie Dalgleish began to work with the New Zealand Pacific Studio Board to help build a new sustainable model, complete with a organisational plan and marketing plan: these have guided the growth of the centre. She worked in a voluntary capacity for over a year.

In 2015, author and photographer Madeleine Slavick joined the team as Community Programme Manager (16 hrs/wk contract). She ran the residency programme; assisted with securing support from various community bodies; and strengthened links with various organisations, such as Aratoi Wairarapa Museum of Art and History, Featherston Booktown, Gottfried Lindauer Studio, Homeprint, King Street Artworks, Kokomai Creative Festival, Toi Wairarapa, Wairarapa Word (Wai Word), and Yarns In Barns. Her contract ended in February 2017.

In October 2018, NZ Pacific Studio vacated the premises of Normandell, the former base of the residency, and is currently operating from several sites across the Wairarapa and Tararua regions. A registered charity, we continue to seek sponsors, supporters, volunteers, and donors to enable us to continue to enrich the lives of others.  In any year, NZPS artists and writers facilitate workshops at various cultural institutions, give readings and tutorials, and lead free activities with school children across the Wairarapa and Tararua, from Eketahuna to Gladstone.