Eva and Heina at home in Whanganui – a happy reunion

We have not visited Whanganui for some time so we made the tourist pilgrimage to i-Site and obtained an Arts Guide. In case you have missed the point, we love garden art so were delighted to see a number of sculptors or artists whose work could survive outdoors, listed in the guide.

Two of those artists were Eva Busch and Heina Petzold. They seemed very familiar names. Not in the way that you must have been at school together, but definitely loud bells were ringing. Sure enough, we pull up outside the Awa Art Hub, Eva and Heina’s home and gallery and realise that these artists are refugees or escapees (depending on your point of view) from our home town, Waiheke Island. In fact, we were all residents of the rock at the same time for 11 years. It was a very happy reunion.

The gallery was actually closed for the day while Eva and Heina complete another project – a cottage in their back garden that they will rent via Air bnb. They are a very industrious pair these two, this not being their 1st building project. However, Eva saw us skulking in HQ (our motorhome) at the end of their driveway and came to see if we needed directions.

Instead we ended up having a lovely tour of their latest venture – Awa Art Hub. Eva and Heina moved to Whanganui, via Marlborough around 3 years ago, the siren call of 6 grandchildren proving too great. They have settled in a lovely spot near the Whanganui river where they have created a Sculpture Courtyard and set up their gallery and have enjoyed developing a garden, which prior to their arrival consisted of only a lemon tree.

Eva and Heina are both extremely accomplished artists in their own fields – Eva hand carves beautiful organic forms from either Oamaru stone or stone sourced from Mt Somers Station; and Heina is one of the few enamelling artists in this country. Both are award winners in their own right and you can see why looking around the gallery and the sculpture courtyard.

They are loving Whanganui. It is an artist’s mecca with over 400 artists living in the area. Nearly 200 artists participated in this year’s Artists Open Studios (24 March – 2 April 2017) and Heina expects next year to be even bigger and better. Pencil it in your diary now!