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Art meets ocean at aquarium

Published: 29 September 2022

NANZ Ocean and I Exhibition

National Aquarium of New Zealand Education Manager Amy Stevens (left) and General Manager Rachel Haydon (right), with Rosamund Stewart’s “Flotsum & Jetsam”

The ocean helps provide humans with 50% of the oxygen they need to survive, it makes up 90% of the Earth’s total water source and covers more than 70% of its surface area. For artists, it also provides inspiration, as showcased in a new exhibition on throughout October.

‘Ocean and I’ will be a month-long event at the National Aquarium of New Zealand featuring works by more than thirty New Zealand artists, many of whom are local to Hawke’s Bay.

National Aquarium General Manager, Rachel Haydon, says the ocean has long served as a source of inspiration for various forms of art given its significance to human life and biodiversity.

“We are all inextricably connected to the ocean whether we realise it or not. This concept is core to the idea behind ‘Ocean and I’,” says Rachel. “Our ocean is vastly unexplored and rich in diversity of living things and resources that we as humans rely on for our daily lives.”

For the show, the first of its kind at the National Aquarium, each artist has contributed a specific piece that expresses their connection and personal relationship with the ocean.

Rachel Haydon explains: “For many, the ocean offers peace, clarity of mind and a sense of calm. It also serves as a haven, a place to escape the chaotic nature of life and connect with friends and whānau.

“As visitors move through the exhibition, there will be various opportunities to pause and reflect on their own personal connections, memories and experiences in relation to our all-important moana.”

Opening on Saturday 1 October, the exhibition will be staged throughout the aquarium and will feature photography, paintings and sculptures from such artists as David Trubridge, Susan Mabin, Glen Colchin and Lisa Feyen.

Some of the pieces on display will be for sale. Details are available from the National Aquarium team.

During the month, there will be two late-night events including a family-focused evening and one specifically for adults. There’s also a holiday programme running for the duration of the October school break. To find out more, visit

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