Art in motion at the Event Centre

From artistic floral arrangements to the event centre at Showgrounds Park, a group of women rest on their laurels.

From artistic floral arrangements to the event centre at Showgrounds Park, a group of women rest on their laurels.

CELEBRATION TIME: Next weekend the Gisborne Floral Festival Inc. will present Art in Motion to celebrate the event centre being open for 15 years. Pictured with the banner are members Lenore Barron and Lilian Phelps. There will be floral displays, candles, balloons, jewels driftwood displays and more. Afternoon tea will be available to buy and it only costs $5 for entry with children under five free. Picture by Rebecca Grunwell
WOW: This floral carpet runing the length of the aisle at Holy Trinity Church is an amazing example of what the ladies who design floral art displays can do.

IT'S hard to imagine Gisborne without the event centre at Showgrounds Park on the Main Road at Makaraka. It has become a staple venue during the A&P Spring Show every year and is well-known, and well-used, for award nights and festivals throughout the year.

But the catalyst for the large hall being built was none other than a very humble group of ladies who just wanted a flat floor to display their artistic floral arrangements.

As far back as the 1960s, floral shows were staged by the Poverty Bay Gardening Circle with proceeds from these shows invested wisely. The Poverty Bay Horticultural Society was also quietly putting money aside for the same purpose.

Almost 40 years later it culminated in a $350,000 donation from the umbrella group Gisborne Floral Festival Inc (GFF) and kick-started the building project that is now the event centre.

To celebrate the anniversary, GFF is putting on an event with around 40 displays: some floral, some clothing and some jewellery- inspired.

GFF member Val Needham said the A&P Association had plans to rebuild the existing trades hall but when the Floral Society stepped in with their large donation they were able to increase the size of the build.

Now, not a weekend goes by with it standing idle, and sometimes it is booked five years in advance, said GFF member Alison Crawford.

“It dresses up just so beautifully when all the silks are up. It’s like being in a huge marquee and you never have to worry about parking.

“It was a real dream of Florence Redstone’s.”

Keeping history relevant

Current members of the group want to remember the “clever ladies” of the past and ensure that their history is kept relevant for the younger generations.

A&P life member Tim Williams was president during the fundraising and construction of the event centre.

He remembers GFF president Florence Redstone as a real go-getter who, at the age of 90, drove the project for what was then called the Poverty Bay A&P Association’s Exhibition Hall.

Mr Williams said other groups that were approached for donations towards the project thought it was too far out of town.

This has not shown to be true, he said. In fact the huge parking area compensates for the short travel time.

“So while some didn’t support us, it just made us more determined than ever to do it.”

Mr Wiliams said they had a good crew, who managed to raise about $750,000 towards a venue that has been a tremendous asset to the community.

“It really was meant to be. It has been very successful and is booked for many weeks of the year.

“The other good thing about it, is that it is on mutual ground. It’s not political. The floral groups were tremdenous to deal with and I believe it has been a win-win for all parties, and for the Gisborne public too.”

Mr Williams said some people still felt Gisborne needed another type of hall.

“But perhaps they should talk to the A&P Association first about whether to expand the existing one.”

Art in Motion

• Art in Motion: March 12-13, 9.30-4.30, 40 displays, candles, balloons, jewellery, driftwood, afternoon tea. $5 entry, children under 15 free.

• Other sponsors for the build included the Eastern & Central Community Trust, Eastland Energy Community Trust, NZ Lotteries Commission, Rotary Club of Gisborne, J.N. Williams Memorial Trust and the Poverty Bay A&P Association, which all gave donations of $100,000 or less.

• Affiliates of the Gisborne Floral Festival Inc are the Catholic Women’s League, Maori Welfare League, Gisborne/East Coast Floral Art Society, Gisborne Floral Art Club, Te Hapara Garden Club, Country Garden Club, Poverty Bay Garden Club, Gisborne/East Coast Rose Society, Gisborne/East Coast Camellia Society, Women’s Institutes, Eastwoodhill (2002), Gisborne Garden Club and the Iris Society.

IT'S hard to imagine Gisborne without the event centre at Showgrounds Park on the Main Road at Makaraka. It has become a staple venue during the A&P Spring Show every year and is well-known, and well-used, for award nights and festivals throughout the year.

But the catalyst for the large hall being built was none other than a very humble group of ladies who just wanted a flat floor to display their artistic floral arrangements.

As far back as the 1960s, floral shows were staged by the Poverty Bay Gardening Circle with proceeds from these shows invested wisely. The Poverty Bay Horticultural Society was also quietly putting money aside for the same purpose.

Almost 40 years later it culminated in a $350,000 donation from the umbrella group Gisborne Floral Festival Inc (GFF) and kick-started the building project that is now the event centre.

To celebrate the anniversary, GFF is putting on an event with around 40 displays: some floral, some clothing and some jewellery- inspired.

GFF member Val Needham said the A&P Association had plans to rebuild the existing trades hall but when the Floral Society stepped in with their large donation they were able to increase the size of the build.

Now, not a weekend goes by with it standing idle, and sometimes it is booked five years in advance, said GFF member Alison Crawford.

“It dresses up just so beautifully when all the silks are up. It’s like being in a huge marquee and you never have to worry about parking.

“It was a real dream of Florence Redstone’s.”

Keeping history relevant

Current members of the group want to remember the “clever ladies” of the past and ensure that their history is kept relevant for the younger generations.

A&P life member Tim Williams was president during the fundraising and construction of the event centre.

He remembers GFF president Florence Redstone as a real go-getter who, at the age of 90, drove the project for what was then called the Poverty Bay A&P Association’s Exhibition Hall.

Mr Williams said other groups that were approached for donations towards the project thought it was too far out of town.

This has not shown to be true, he said. In fact the huge parking area compensates for the short travel time.

“So while some didn’t support us, it just made us more determined than ever to do it.”

Mr Wiliams said they had a good crew, who managed to raise about $750,000 towards a venue that has been a tremendous asset to the community.

“It really was meant to be. It has been very successful and is booked for many weeks of the year.

“The other good thing about it, is that it is on mutual ground. It’s not political. The floral groups were tremdenous to deal with and I believe it has been a win-win for all parties, and for the Gisborne public too.”

Mr Williams said some people still felt Gisborne needed another type of hall.

“But perhaps they should talk to the A&P Association first about whether to expand the existing one.”

Art in Motion

• Art in Motion: March 12-13, 9.30-4.30, 40 displays, candles, balloons, jewellery, driftwood, afternoon tea. $5 entry, children under 15 free.

• Other sponsors for the build included the Eastern & Central Community Trust, Eastland Energy Community Trust, NZ Lotteries Commission, Rotary Club of Gisborne, J.N. Williams Memorial Trust and the Poverty Bay A&P Association, which all gave donations of $100,000 or less.

• Affiliates of the Gisborne Floral Festival Inc are the Catholic Women’s League, Maori Welfare League, Gisborne/East Coast Floral Art Society, Gisborne Floral Art Club, Te Hapara Garden Club, Country Garden Club, Poverty Bay Garden Club, Gisborne/East Coast Rose Society, Gisborne/East Coast Camellia Society, Women’s Institutes, Eastwoodhill (2002), Gisborne Garden Club and the Iris Society.

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