My former colleagues at NZ Historic Places Trust banded together and gave me a wonderful gift to mark my retirement recently. How they came to select it is a closely guarded secret, but their choice was spot on. It's a stained glass piece by Northland glass artist Kathy Shaw-Urlich. (I posted a blog about another work of Kathy's I have in July 2011).
The piece is entitled Tokerau Matariki and was first shown in an exhibition of work to mark Matariki (the Maori New Year) at The Herb Shack in Kaitaia in June. It seems to me it is a highly appropriate retirement gift for several reasons. Firstly, its a piece of New Zealand glass, by an artist whose work I love. Secondly, it speaks of Te Tai Tokerau, Northland, where I have worked for for NZ Historic Places Trust for the last thirteen years, and where I intend to continue living, in retirement. Thirdly, it speaks of Matariki, a time of new beginnings as we start the new year, highly appropriate for someone entering into a new phase of his life.
Kathy tells me the work shows the hills where she lives with husband Robert at Whatuwhiwhi, on the Karikari Peninsula, Doubtless Bay, and the planting of trees and a garden that Robert is doing next to the sea, an appropriate subject for Matariki, a time of planting. As Kathy often does, she has included glass from a variety of sources, including a piece left over from glass she had as a student in the 1970s.
Thank you, colleagues.