History of Wharepuke
Wharepuke means “house” on the “hill” in Maori. Wharepuke was named by Stan and Joyce Booth when they brought the property in 1938. They hand built their house on the hill and planted and grew citrus and Chinese Gooseberries which were developed into kiwifruit. The Wharepuke land is reputably the first land in New Zealand to be ploughed.
Stan and Joyce had four sons, Robin (eldest- Nurseryman, developed the gardens here at Wharepuke), Webber (Marine Biologist), John (Marine Biologist) and Chris (Sculptor). Each brother is now an owner of a part of the original land that makes up Wharepuke.
About 30 years ago the brothers had an idea to set up a sculpture park on a communal piece of land with a cafe and a museum. Things happened (or didn’t) and it didn’t reach fruition. Now the idea is being revisited by Mark Graver and Tania Booth (Robin’s daughter) in Robin’s established award winning subtropical gardens.
Wharepuke is just 500 m from the iconic Stone Store Basin. The Stone Store is NZ’s oldest stone building and the Mission House the oldest surviving wooden building in Australasia. It is important in NZ history as the Stone Store was a trading post and was the place of first contact between the Maori and the Europeans.
Kerikeri is a boutique town bustling with tourists in the Summer months. Cafes, wineries, chocolate, farmers/artisan markets and galleries. It has a reputation for the arts attracting artists and art lovers. Kerikeri has The Centre- a purpose built performance building attracting National and International acts.
Kerikeri is in the Bay of Islands. Paihia, Waitangi, Russell are just a 20 min drive away. A tourist summertime mecca with its stunning beaches, watersports, history and culture. Many cruise ships come into the BOI’s.
Bachelor Fine Arts at Canterbury NZ. Developed some art skills but had no life experiences to talk about so travelled extensively (Asia, Europe, Mexico, Australia )for 10 years being based in the UK where she could work. Tania helped her uncle Chris Booth on numerous sculpture projects around the world.
In 2003 she dragged her partner Mark back to NZ where they found themselves on the old family land. Robin was retiring from the Subtropical Nursery business. The gardens he planted in 1993 were getting established. An old army barrack (now leased as a cafe/restaurant) was moved (from Auckland via Whangarei- in one piece!) to Wharepuke. Originally used as “The Venue at Wharepuke” the hall was used for music, dance, theatre, poetry, conferences, weddings and much much more .
In 2007 Wharepuke Subtropical Accommodation (5 x cottages communally owned with family) was started and is managed by Tania. With Mark the Gallery Art at Wharepuke was built in 2009. The Wharepuke Sculpture Park is the latest development.
Mark Graver is an award winning artist/printmaker, curator and tutor specialising in Acrylic Resist Etching, Digital Printmaking and Video Art.
Born in St. Albans UK in 1964, Mark studied at Leeds Polytechnic (B.A. Hons Fine Art 1985-88) and Camberwell College of Arts, London (MA Printmaking 1994-95).
Moving to NZ in 2003 he established the Wharepuke Print Studio in 2005 (NZ’s only dedicated Non Toxic Acrylic Resist Etching workshop) and with partner Tania Booth Art at Wharepuke gallery, 2009, and the Wharepuke Sculpture Park, 2015.
He is author of the printmaking handbook Non-Toxic Printmaking (2011, London, A&C Black), has sat on printmaking selection panels in China, Bulgaria and NZ and curated international print projects in the UK and Australia such as Parallel Prints 2013 UK/2015 Aus, Combinations, UK 2014 and the RE:Print/RE:Present exhibition and symposium UK 2015.
His work is held in many international collections including the V&A Museum London and in USA, Australia, Mexico, China, Thailand, NZ and Europe.