Project Description


DATE: 11 March – 29 March 2022
LAND ONLY TWIN SHARE: AUD $7,250 per person
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: AUD $2,250 per person

The tour is presented by New Zealand born artist and cultural textiles expert Carole Douglas of Desert Traditions. It traces the pathway of Pacific inspired arts and textiles from the arrival of the first Polynesian settlers through to the present day. The tour will travel by bus, local transport, train and ferry from Auckland to Nelson and is a rich mix of visits to cultural institutions and arts centres and hands on workshops with leading artists.



Pacific Patterns is an immersive textile focused journey into the rich layers of New Zealand’s arts traditions. Beginning with the arrival of Polynesian voyagers more than one thousand years ago, it follows the evolution of a material culture that reflects Aotearoa’s patterns of settlement, celebrates the differences and honours traditional heritage. You will visit museums, Maori maraes, markets, galleries, private and public collections and artists’ studios. You will meet cultural groups, experience traditional practices and explore new techniques. The journey ends in Nelson with New Zealand’s premier contemporary textile event ‘Changing Threads’ and its exciting associated activities. Whether you sketch, stitch, snap, dye, paint or write, you will take home a visual record of your adventures, inspiration for future work, new friendships and a wealth of experiences to fuel your creative fires.

Please note that the tour commences in Auckland and finishes in Nelson.

YOUR TOUR LEADER: Carole Douglas has been on the move since her early 20s when she travelled overland from Panama to Northern British Columbia.
An educator, practising artist and curator, Carole has worked on numerous international and local projects. Her company, DesertTraditions, specialises in tours with a focus on the arts and the cultures from which they spring.
Her tours are immersive and hands on, and follow the Gandhian philosophy of tolerance, compassion and understanding of all people and our shared environment.



March 11th – 17th: Auckland City and environs
Accommodation: Rose Park Hotel, Parnell, Auckland
Two dinners and two lunches included

Friday March 11th:  Arrivals: Fly into Auckland.
Once flights recommence, you will be given suggested services to take. Transfers will be advised. Check into your hotel and join Carole for an orientation talk and evening meal.

Saturday March 12th – Thursday March 17th: Auckland
Your five days in Auckland include the following events:

Auckland Museum – Tamaki Paenga Hira: Tamaki Paenga Hira is regarded as one of the finest museums of its kind in the southern hemisphere and is renowned for its unique collection of Maori and Pacific treasures. From the great Polynesian voyages that carried Aotearoa’s ancestry, to the many cultures and communities that make up Auckland today, Tamaki Paenga Hira portrays the rich diversity of New Zealand including a spine tingling Maori Cultural performance. The museum also houses a collection of print and pattern in New Zealand textiles providing a fascinating window onto the country’s social history.

West Auckland: By mini bus to Corban Estate Arts Centre, Henderson.
Nestled within the old Corban Estate with its historic wine buildings and parklike grounds, the centre offers a mixture of galleries, artist studios, performance space and many activities.
Visit Titirangi for lunch and artist Anna Crichton
Titirangi, ‘Fringe of Heaven’, is situated in the Waitakere ranges on the edge of Auckland. The village’s past Bohemian culture is echoed in a thriving community of artists, studios, galleries and cafés. Anna Crichton, is renowned for her illustrations, ceramics and textiles. In 2019 she spent time with block printers in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, to produce a body of collaborative textile works

South Auckland: ‘Pasifika’ arts including Tapa, textiles and tattoos! South Auckland is a Polynesian hub and vibrant multicultural landscape where contemporary and traditional arts and crafts thrive. Bone and stone carving, shell work, weaving, stitching and printing are part of community life. Cook Island women, renowned for Tivaevae – bold and brilliant applique quilts, meet regularly and you will also meet Tongan tapa cloth artists Tui and her mother Sulieti Gillies (to be finalised).

Matakana: Workshop with Alysn Midgelow-Marsden followed by village walk, coastal visit and lunch at local vineyard.
An hour north of Auckland and close to stunning beaches, Matakana is home to internationally renowned fibre artist Alysn Midgelow-Marsden. In her practice Alysn combines metals and fibre and you will explore these materials to create pattern and texture. The area is famous for producing delicious wines.

Art Quilters: Show and tell with art quilters from the Auckland area.
This provides an opportunity to explore the textile genre of ‘art quilts’ from different perspectives and to share ideas and resources.
Visit The Asia Gallery specialising in indigo textiles.

Arts, crafts, design: Auckland City Art Gallery – Toi Tamaki
After entering between majestic kauri columns you will immerse yourself in traditional and contemporary international works and discover the largest permanent collection of New Zealand art. Free tours are available.

Ponsonby & Karangahape Roads: Freedom to browse the great op shops, renowned designer stores and small gift and art galleries that proliferate in this part of the city. A list of places of interest and map is provided. We will meet at a designated time and place to visit certain Pacific galleries in Karangahape Rd.

Farewell dinner with guest speaker – textile artist, writer and critic Helen Schamroth.

Thursday March  17th – Saturday March 19th: Ohakune, Tongariro National Park 
Accommodation: The Hobbit Motel
One dinner one lunch included

Morning departure to Ohakune
In one of the world’s great railway journeys, the Northern Explorer travels along the spine of the North Island passing through stunning scenery while experiencing the engineering feats of the Raurimu Spiral, Turangarere Horseshoe and Makatote Viaduct.

Forage, Fire and Fibre workshop with artist Merrilyn George: Merrilyn George has been recording her cultural history for many years using found and recycled materials. Combining techniques of stitching, weaving, quilting, paper making, printing, dyeing and manipulating fibres she creates work imbued with her Maori heritage and her surroundings. Merrilyn will share her work and philosophy and take us into the field to forage, absorb the atmosphere and legends of the Volcanic Plateau including active Mt Ruapehu, before returning to cook up a botanical brew to create your own mementos of this special place.

We will also visit the studio of renowned glass artist Gary Nash.

Saturday March 19th -Thursday March 24th: Wellington and environs
Accommodation: Quest Apartments, Lambton Quay

Two dinners and two lunches included

Morning check out before boarding the midday train and resuming our journey to Wellington – ETA 6.45pm
Your five days in Wellington include the following events, activities and workshops:

The Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa: New Zealand’s national museum opened in 1998 after the merging of the National Museum and the National Art Gallery. Te Papa Tongarewa literally means to‘Container of Treasures’. A fuller interpretation is ‘our container of treasured things and people that spring from mother earth (Papa) here in New Zealand.’  Te Papa’s philosophy emphasises the living face behind its cultural treasures, many of which retain deep ancestral links to the indigenous Maori people. The Museum recognises the partnership that was created by the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, te Tiriti o Waitangi, in 1840. During out visit you will meet with textiles curator Rangi Te Kanawa for a viewing of the museum’s textiles and conservation work.

Weta Workshop Tour: By shuttle bus to Weta Workshops, a special effects and prop company that produces materials for film and television. The company is named after the New Zealand weta, one of the world’s largest (harmless) insects. The workshop has produced creatures, costumes and makeup effects including those for New Zealand director Peter Jackson’s trilogy The Lord of the Rings. You will learn about props, costumes and creatures, see artists at work and enjoy a special behind the scenes viewing of the costume department.

A Day in the Hutt (river )Valley: The Hutt Valley, aka ‘The Hutt’, is a large area of fairly flat land in the Hutt River valley. It is named after Sir William Hutt, a director of the New Zealand Company in early colonial New Zealand. The river flows roughly along the course of an active geologic fault, which continues to the south to become the main instrument responsible for the uplift of the South Island’s Southern Alps. Almost the whole valley was clearfelled and converted to pasture or market gardens before the urbanisation of the 20th century. The lower valley contains the city of Lower Hutt.

Dowse Art Museum (Lower Hutt): The Dowse Art Museum is a leading contemporary art gallery with an international reputation for its high-quality visitor experiences. Entry is free to its regularly changing exhibition programme featuring contemporary visual art, fashion, jewellery, multi-media and ceramics. Often referred to as “The Dowse”, and founded in 1971, it has a significant public art collection numbering over 2000 items.

Waiwhetu Marae (Lower Hutt): An immersion into urban Maori culture. Carole was born in Lower Hutt, attended Waiwhetu School and knows the marae from childhood. Waiwhetu literally means ‘stars reflected in the water’ and refers to the fresh water stream that flows through the suburb. Waiwhetu Pa (meaning fortified village) is home to the Te Ati Awa tribe and traces its origins to members of that iwi (tribe) who arrived in the Hutt Valley in the middle of the 19th century from Taranaki. Waiwhetu Marae, opened in 1960, includes the whare whakairo (carved meeting house) which features a number of significant carvings and woven panels by notable Maori artists.

Petone: From Waiwhetu we travel to Petone (Pito-one) where the first European immigrants settled in 1840. The settlement lay close to the pa of Te Puni, the paramount Te Ati Awa chief who sold a vast tract of land to the New Zealand Company for settlement. Here we experience briny foreshores and breezes, visit the Settlers Museum and enjoy a beverage in one of the many cafes lining Jackson Street.

Flax Weaving Workshop and Cultural day with artist Clare Smith: Porirua Cultural Centre and Pataka Museum by train
Morning: Tivaevae (Pacific island quilting) demonstration/workshop
Lunch (included) at Pataka Museum café
Afternoon : Hands on Harakeke (flax)

Flax workshop with Clare Smith, well known textile artist and costume maker who specialises in surface design. Clare is a highly qualified tutor and from her we will learn the protocols of working with New Zealand flax, how to sustainably harvest and prepare the leaves for weaving and extract the fibre, muka, for making twine. You will take away samples of muka and a small basket of your own making.

Evening: Enjoy a shared meal and ‘show and tell’ with the Mauri Oho weavers
Taxi van back to hotel

Woven, Stitched, Repurposed: Optional meetings and mini demonstrations with fibre/textile artists
Walking tour of design and craft shops

Thursday March 24th -Tuesday March 29th: Nelson, Marlborough Sounds
Accommodation: The Palms Motel

Two dinners and two lunches included

Morning departure by inter island ferry to Picton arriving noon and to Nelson by minibus

Your five days in Nelson includes the following events:

Changing Threads – Arts Council Of Nelson

Friday March 25th Opening Event, The Refinery Space
‘For thousands of years textiles have been part of the lives of people across the globe. The craft of designing or creating textiles involved the skills and creativity of weaving, knitting, felting or knotting fibres which could then be embellished by the maker. From the early uses for shelter, warmth, and household needs, textiles also had decorative purposes and have held an important place in many cultures around the world. Since the late 1960s Textile and Fibre artists have been developing new forms,stretching the use of traditional techniques. Their work in this area has become more conceptual and involves different materials which are both natural and synthetic.Contemporary Fibre and Textile artists explore a variety of possibilities, pushing pre-conceived ideas of the limits of this medium as they employ them for personal expression.

World events of the past year have allowed more time for reflection, experimentation and individual contemplation. Artists in the show have used this time to produce work of an exceptional standard which utilise fibres as their medium for expression.We are grateful to our entrants for their continued enthusiasm for the show, and to the sponsors who support our ongoing vision.’ 

Veronica (Ronnie) Martin. Creative Director’ Changing Threads
In the days leading up to and immediately following the opening Nelson will come alive with Textile artists, afficionados, accolytes and admirers who flock into town. The events are still evolving and you will be kept up to date on the final workshop program as they evolve. During this period we will set aside time to put the finishing touches to your visual diary of the journey. Ronnie will also do a floor talk of the exhibition and there will be further opportunities for workshops and dialogue with local and visiting artists.

Suter Art Gallery, Te Aratoi o Whakatu: Lunch at the Gallery café overlooking the river.
The Suter Art Gallery Te Aratoi o Whakatu, is a memorial to the second Bishop of Nelson, Andrew Burn Suter (1830-1895) and is the public art gallery for the Nelson region. The Suter holds a nationally significant collection of art and presents a varied programme of exhibitions, events and education services. The Suter complex also includes a theatre, cafe and shop.

Coastal Arts and Tasting Trail: Numerous art and pottery studios, vineyards, cafes, charming coastal towns and beautiful beaches line the route to Able Tasman National Park. You will follow local knowledge for an introduction to yet another of Aotearoa’s creative hubs, take time to fossick, soak your toes or more into the Tasman Sea and absorb the changing patterns of land, sea and sky. Nelson is also famed for culinary arts that go far beyond fish and chips and barbeques. You can indulge in Pacific Rim cuisine with seafood such as green lipped mussels, crayfish, Bluff oysters, fresh fish and whitebait (in season), award winning cheeses and of course New Zealand lamb.

Marlborough Wine Tour: Hailed as one of New Zealand’s sunniest and driest regions, Maori refer to the Wairau Valley as ‘Kei puta te Wairau’ – ‘The place with the hole in the cloud’. This combination of a cool, high sunshine climate, low rainfall and free-draining, moderately fertile soil produces unique wines. In the 1980s Marlborough put New Zealand on the international stage with its exquisite Sauvignon Blanc.

Farewell dinner.

Tuesday March 29th: Departures



Land Only per person, twin-share A$7,250
Single Supplement A$2,250

• Transport in comfortable coaches, trains and ferries
• Transfers, touring and entry fees as per itinerary
• Twin share accommodation in comfortable hotels with private facilities
• Daily breakfast plus meals as indicated in the itinerary
• Services of Tour Leader/Guide
• Tour booklet

• International air travel from Australia to New Zealand
• Airport taxes
• Beverages with meals (excl. tea and coffee at breakfast)
• Meals not listed in the itinerary
• Travel Insurance
• Airport to hotel transfers
• Any visa requirements of the tour member
• Items of personal nature (phone, laundry etc.)

Please contact for the best fares available at the time of booking.

I’m Interested…How Do I Book?
Fill in the online Booking Form, read and agree with our Terms & Conditions, select your payment option for your deposit of $750.00 per person to Alumni Travel and Submit. Upon receipt of your Booking Form and deposit, you will receive a confirmation of your place in writing.

The deposit is accepted as a first installment of the tour cost and will be fully refunded if the arrangements can not be confirmed or the tour is cancelled by Alumni Travel. Final payment for the tour needs to be received at least 60 days prior to tour departure. An invoice will be sent to you about a fortnight before the final payment becomes due.

Any cancellation from the tour needs to be done in writing. The cancellation date will be taken from the day your written cancellation is received by Alumni Travel. Because of the tour cancellation charges imposed by our various suppliers, the following cancellation charges apply, per person:

Over 60 days $100.00 – Administration Fee
59 – 40 days 25% of tour cost
39 – 10 days 50% of tour cost
Within 10 days 100% of tour cost

If a difference occurs between these cancellation conditions and those imposed by our suppliers, then the conditions of the supplier shall apply.

There is no refund before or after travel has commenced or for any unused portion of the tour, either in regard to the standard group arrangements or separate independent arrangements.

Any payments by credit card will be subject to a 2% non-refundable Merchant Administration Fee.

It is now standard policy with our company that all our international travellers have some type of international travel insurance, so that you are covered for any unforeseen circumstances that may arise. A comprehensive Insurance brochure is available from Alumni Travel. The insurance brochure contains the terms and conditions under which insurance cover will be offered to you.

If you would like Alumni Travel to assist you with any additional arrangements pre or post tour, please contact our office for assistance at time of booking. All arrangements need to be finalised at least 30 days prior to your departure.

An administration fee of $30.00 per amendment will be charged for any changes made to any reservation within 30 days prior to your departure. Any additional charges imposed by our suppliers will also be payable.

It is the traveller’s responsibility to ensure that they possess the necessary travel documentation for the tour, such as a valid passport and any required visas. Your passport should be valid at least 6 months beyond the end of your journey and have two clear pages for each country to be visited in your journey.

In the event that passenger numbers do not reach the minimum number of tour participants (approximately 10, excluding the tour leader) required for the tour, it may be necessary to either surcharge or cancel the tour. If such an event does occur, you will be notified at least 60 days prior to the tour departure.

This tour price has been calculated on the basis of exchange rates and tariffs at time of print and is subject to change up until final payment has been received. At the time of final invoicing (approximately two months prior to the tour departure date), Alumni Travel reserves the right to re-cost the tour based on actual exchange rates. This could mean an increase or decrease to the above listed prices. Should you decide to cancel your arrangements on the basis of a change in the tour price, normal cancellation charges will apply.