The Kāpiti Coast District runs along the coast, 50 km north of Wellington, bounded by the Tasman Sea on the west and the Tararua mountain range on the east. The district is named after Kāpiti Island, a prominent landmark 5 km offshore. The population is concentrated in the towns of Otaki, Te Horo, Waikanae, Paraparaumu, Raumati and Paekakariki. Many residents travel to Wellington to work and Wellington folk frequent the beautiful beaches of Kapiti at weekends and holidays. The arts are strong in the region and watercolour is well represented by many revered painters. Among them are members of Watercolour New Zealand including Wendy Masters, Roger Daniell, Vivian Manthel-French, May Iremonger, Grahame Harris, Philip Markham, George Thompson, Mary-Annette Hay,Peter Augustin, Ebbett Marcus and many others. The connection to the arts in Wellington is lively, as many are active and supportive members of the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts.
The Kāpiti Arts & Crafts Society started from an early meeting in 1974 and has grown to a membership of 300. The Society Building at 192 Matai Road, Raumati Beach provides excellent facilities for artists and craftspeople to work together creatively. A large workroom is shared by painting groups, including watercolourists, spinners, weavers and knitters, embroiderers and patchworkers, and jewellery, teddy bear, doll and card makers and a pottery room used by the potters and woodworkers.
The Kāpiti Gallery in the same building is open to the public five days a week and showcases work by society members. Guest Artists are invited to exhibit along with members in themed exhibitions. There 10 to 12 exhibitions throughout the year. Members are also able to sell their work in the Society Shop at 20 Raumati Road, in the Raumati Village. Shop displays are updated regularly and are representative of the society’s talent. Contact details for the Society are: phone 04 9028549, www.kapitigallery.webs.com.
The Kāpiti Arts Trail: The Kāpiti Coast District Council produces an Arts Guide that lists studios and galleries, along with maps. The Kapiti Arts Trail is an annual event held in the spring, with about 130 exhibiting artists. Hundreds of people head out to explore the region’s diverse range of art and crafts.
Watercolour New Zealand Outdoor Painting Group on the Kapiti Coast meets on the first Sunday of each month. Their venues include beach, rivers and foothill valleys and they follow with a shared lunch or café visit. The group is co-ordinated by Eppie Murton. Details of contact, dates, times and venues are listed on Watercolour New Zealand website.