New Plymouth was a destination on our list early on in our time in New Zealand primarily as a friend of ours in Melbourne was raised in the area. It is also the location of the Govett-Brewster Contemporary Art gallery which we wanted to visit. However, what we found in New Plymouth was a coastal community with a thriving arts scene that was a pleasure to visit – and I have not even mentioned Mt Taranaki…
As we had our dog with us, soon after arriving we took her for a walk along the foreshore. There is a pathway that hugs the coastline and draws you right into the heart of New Plymouth and to the Wind Wand, which is a famous sculpture designed by Len Lye. Originally installed in 1999, it is a fibreglass structure that bends depending on the direction of the wind. Within weeks of installation however, it had to be deconstructed for repairs. Reinstalled in 2001, it is definitely an attraction that no visit to New Plymouth is complete without.
Along the foreshore we were also treated to the annual sculpture exhibition and auction. There were some stunning works on display by local, New Zealand and International artists. Very much an unplanned treat.
The Govett-Brewster Contemporary Art Gallery was built to house the works of Len Lye. Len Lye was driven by a lifelong passion for motion, energy and the possibility of composing them as a form of art. Lye’s interests took him far from New Zealand; after sojourns in the South Pacific, Lye moved to London and then New York, where he became known as an intensely creative film-maker and kinetic sculptor. The Len Lye Centre was opened on 25 July 2015. This is the first gallery in New Zealand to be dedicated to a single artist and contains some incredible work by the renowned sculpture. Apart from the art, the building itself is something to be admired in itself, it definalety stands apart from the rest of New Plymouth with its shining metallic exterior.
In New Plymouth we also found the dog friendly public bar & restaurant called The Good Home. It was amazing at the end of a day exploring New Plymouth and the surrounds to relax and enjoy a beer and a great meal without having to worry about where to leave the dog – great people too!
All in all I would highly recommend New Plymouth to anyone visiting New Zealand.