Monica was a far sighted woman

Post date: Jul 22, 2016 4:22:59 AM

Tony and I are in New Plymouth for a couple of days. I had work in Stratford, about 20kms from New Plymouth yesterday and we are taking advantage of that to make a long weekend. Has been lovely. Yesterday the mountain was spectacular; today it is covered in cloud; tomorrow rain is forecast. Such is NZ scenery.One of the highlights of visiting New Plymouth is their art gallery the Govett-Brewster. Last time we were here- with Maria & Tim about 2 years ago- this gallery was being rebuilt. This time it is finished and looks incredible as photo shows. It is one of 5 NZ structures in an international architecture competition this year. I say structures rather than buildings because the pink Auckland cycle way is one of the other entries.

Anyway I only learnt today that the Govett-Brewster gallery is named for the person who donated the money to build the first modern art gallery in New Plymouth and once built also gifted enough money to start the collection. Monica Brewster (née Govett) was born in the late 1800s and died in 1970. She was the granddaughter of an early NZ Prime Minister, Harry Atkinson, and part of a Taranaki dynasty - the Govetts. Married a surgeon; had no children therefore had money. Loved arts, conservation and was ardent pacifist (not a popular stance in 1939).

The addition to the gallery commemorates another far-sighted Taranaki local Len Lye. We enjoyed the gallery including the huge Len Lye motion sculptures on display.

The cafe attached has been renamed "Monica's Place" in honour of Mrs Brewster. It served a lovely lunch.

We will return.