Jewellers shine spotlight on past and future in new Puke Ariki Exhibition

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Two New Plymouth jewellers have taken inspiration from artefacts in Puke Ariki’s vaults and stories from the Taranaki community to collaborate with the Museum on its first new exhibition since re-opening to the public in May. 

Redecorating Taranaki opens in the Lane Gallery on 18 July and features 10 new taonga/artefacts designed by Jennifer Laracy and Sam Kelly from The Jewel and the Jeweller. 

The exhibition has been two years in the making with the pair working closely with curators at Puke Ariki, going out to the people of Taranaki to get their thoughts on creating awards for the modern world, and then six months to create the new pieces at their Devon Street studio.

“We really wanted to collaborate on a special project for Taranaki so we approached Puke Ariki with the idea of this community-focused exhibition. When we went out to the community, we initially thought we would get nominations for individuals and their acts but the focus, especially from youth, was on the environment and the wellbeing of our people. It is really exciting to have these values and future vision represented in a physical form in the museum setting,” say Jennifer and Sam.

“Hopefully, visitors will get a chance to consider their own perspective on our community.”

Puke Ariki Museum Manager Colleen Mullin says: “It’s been wonderful for NPDC’s Puke Ariki to collaborate with two incredibly talented jewellers for Redecorating Taranaki. Sam and Jen have worked so hard to translate local stories and objects from our storerooms into 10 special new taonga and deserve an award themselves for their enthusiasm and motivation. It’s an exhibition that looks both to the past and the future and will be thought-provoking for our visitors.”

The exhibition runs until 31 January and will feature a number of events/public programmes and a scavenger hunt later in the year. 

Redecorating Taranaki: The 10 new awards:

  • Taranaki Perseverance Brooch: For working hard, persisting through struggle, and showing courage in the face of adversity.
  • Taranaki Sustainability Brooch: For thinking and acting for the good of our future world and caring for te taiao. This is made from recycled milk bottle tops.
  • Taranaki Kaitiakitanga Chain: For offering protection and being a champion of your cause.
  • Taranaki Self-love Brooch: For recognising your own wholeness and worth.
  • Taranaki Friendship Neckpiece: For being inclusive and kind, and for sharing the love.
  • Taranaki Diversity Brooch: For the art of welcome and celebrating the colour and vibrancy others bring.
  • Taranaki Activity Trophy: For finding joy in movement, following your passions and getting out there and doing it.
  • Taranaki Whānau Trophy: For role models and nurturers who show us care and support, and the ancestors who carry us.
  • Taranaki Service Brooch: For deeds big and small that make our communities better.
  • Taranaki Creativity Chain: For people and communities expressing themselves through artistic pursuits and innovation.