An invitation to stay with friends at Mapua recently was an offer too good to turn down, and provided a thankful respite from the beaten and bruised town of Christchurch.
I hadn't been up that way for quite some time and we made straight for Nelson on the first day. Walking through the city centre shops was an experience that I suddenly realised I missed – malls just don't cut it for me here in Christchurch. Visiting the Suter Gallery was also a highlight, especially their collection display which included a great pairing of Bill Hammond's Along the Heaphy Highway with a John Gully landscape. Other highlights included a fantastic early painting by Julian Dashper and a large quatrefoil by Max Gimblett. But of course the most enjoyable time was spent with friends at their house which overlooks Ruby Bay at Mapua. This area was a favourite of Toss Woollaston and his contemporaries, Colin McCahon, Anne Hamblett, Doris Lusk, Rodney Kennedy and Patrick Hayman in the early 1940s.