Project Description


DATE: 17 October – 05 November 2021
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, you will follow 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. Along the way you will gather ideas, images and objects that culminate in a workshop with Nelson based mixed media artist, Ronnie Martin. Whether you sketch, stitch, snap, dye, paint, collage or write, at the end of the journey, you will take home a visual record of your adventures, inspiration for future work 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.



October 17th – October 23rd: Auckland and environs
Accommodation: Rose Park Hotel, Parnell, Auckland

Sunday October 17th: 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 supper (included).

Monday October 18th: City Excursion
Auckland Museum – Tamaki Paenga Hira
You will spend the morning at the museum. Housed in one of the country’s finest heritage buildings, Tamaki Paenga Hira is regarded as one of the finest museums in the southern hemisphere and renowned for its unique collection of Maori and Pacific treasures. From the great Polynesian voyages which first brought people to Aotearoa, to the many cultures and communities that make up Auckland today, Auckland Museum 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.

In the afternoon you will travel by ferry to seaside Devonport to visit Cushla’s Village Fabrics offering a host of Pacific inspired fabrics with time to browse specialty stores and galleries before returning to the hotel at your own pace.

Tuesday October 19th: West Auckland
Morning visit 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. In the afternoon you will visit Titirangi for lunch and visit the studio of Anna Chrichton.

Titirangi, ‘Fringe of Heaven, is situated in the Waitakeri 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 Anna spent time with block printers in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, to produce a body of collaborative textile works. Anna’s recent work is reflected in her whimsical record of Mr and Mrs Dear’s journey through a pandemic.

Wednesday October 20th: South Auckland
Dinner included
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 enjoy a demonstration and workshop. Later we plan to meet tapa cloth artist Tui Gillies (TBF). The afternoon finishes with a visit to The Asia Gallery specialising in Vietnamese indigo textiles.

Alternate activities. Meeting with Auckland Art Quilters group and a paper maker.

Please note that we are currently negotiating a session with Tivaevae quilters in Auckland. Due to the impacts of Covid 19 in this area many groups are yet to reconvene. However you will spend time with a Tivaevae group in Wellington.

Thursday October 21st: Matakana
An hour north of Auckland, Matakana is home to internationally renowned fibre artist Alysn Midgelow-Marsden. In her practice Alysn combines metals and fibre and, under her expert guidance, you will explore these materials to create pattern and texture.
The day ends with a wine tasting tour to a vineyard chosen by our driver Vanessa of Kiwiness Tours (some costs may apply). The area is famous for producing delicious wines such as chardonnay, pinot gris and classic red varieties.

Friday October 22nd: Arts, crafts and design
Auckland City Art Gallery – Toi Tamaki.
In the morning you will visit Auckland City Art Gallery. After entering between majestic kauri columns you will explore four floors of exhibitions, seven centuries of art and one of the country’s most iconic buildings. Free tours are available. Immerse yourself in traditional and contemporary international works and discover the largest permanent collection of New Zealand art. In the afternoon you are free to browse the great op shops, designer stores and small gift galleries of Ponsonby Road.
A List of places of interest and map is provided.

Saturday October 23rd – Monday 25th: Ohakune
Accommodation: The Hobbit Motel
The Northern Explorer train takes you on a comfortable, epic journey along the spine of the North Island. You pass through stunning scenery while experiencing feats of engineering such the Raurimu Spiral, Turangarere Horseshoe and Makatote Viaduct. It’s one of the world’s great railway journeys and one that your tour operator and leader has travelled many times.

Saturday October 23rd
Dinner provided by Desert Traditions
After checking in you will go directly to the nearby (walking distance) studio of local artist Merrilyn George. Merrilyn has been recording her cultural history for many years using found and recycled materials. Combining textile techniques of botanical and mineral dyes, stitching, weaving, quilting, paper making, printing and manipulating fibres she creates work imbued with her Maori heritage and her surroundings. You will spend many hours with Merrilyn who is sharing her skills during your workshop. You will go into the field and forage, absorb the atmosphere and legends of the Volcanic Plateau and return to the studio to cook up a botanical brew! In the evening Merrilyn will present her own work.

Sunday October 24th
You will spend the morning with Merrilyn to complete your pieces followed by an afternoon
at leisure.

Monday October 25th – Saturday October 30th: Wellington
Accommodation: Quest Apartments, Lambton Quay.
Morning check out before completing the midday train journey to Wellington – ETA 6.45pm
It’s a short distance to your accommodation by taxi followed by check in and a quiet meal at a local café.

Tuesday October 26th: The Hutt Valley and environs
By minibus.
Today takes us to the river valley of Lower Hutt where you visit the Dowse Art Museum, a lively contemporary art gallery presenting the work of local, national and international artists. After lunch at the Museum you will visit Waiwhetu Pa for an immersion into Maori culture. Carole was born in Lower Hutt, attended Waiwhetu School and knows the marae from childhood.

Waiwhetū literally means ‘stars reflected in the water’ and refers to the fresh water stream that flows through the suburb. Waiwhetū Pa is the home of 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. Waiwhetū Marae (tribal meeting-ground) was, officially opened in 1960, and includes the whare whakairo (carved meeting house). This building features a number of significant carvings and has associations with a number of notable Māori artists, including Rangi Hetet (who did much of the original carving for the marae), his wife and noted weaver, the late Erenora Puketapu Hetet and their daughter and noted weaver Veranoa Hetet.

From Waiwhetu you will travel to Petone to experience the briny foreshores and breezes of Wellington Harbour and take coffee in one of the many cafes of Jackson Street.

Wednesday October 27th: Porirua Cultural Centre and Pataka Museum
Lunch provided
Morning train to Kenepuru station
The morning will be spent with a local Tivaevae (Pacific island quilting) group for a demonstration/workshop followed by lunch at Pataka Museum café. In the afternoon you will enjoy a flax workshop with Claire Smith, well known textile artist and costume maker who specialises in surface design. Clare is a highly qualified tutor across many mediums and from 2018 to 2019 she studied Raranaga (Maori weaving) at Te Wananga Aotearoa. In your workshop with Clare and her assistant you will learn the protocols for working with Harakeke, New Zealand flax, how to sustainably harvest and prepare the leaves for basket weaving and extract the fibre, muka, for making twine. You will take away samples of muka and a small basket made by your own hands. There will be time to visit Pataka Museum before a shared evening meal and an exchange ‘show and tell’ with the Mauri Oho weavers who also meet at the centre. Taxi van back to hotel.

Thursday October 28th: Te Papa Museum
The Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa, is New Zealand’s national museum and an easy walk from our hotel. Te Papa, or ‘Our Place’, opened in 1998 after the merging of the National Museum and the National Art Gallery. Here you will discover the rich stories of New Zealand’s geological, cultural and social past and the invaluable national art collection.

Weta Workshop Tour
We travel 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 (but harmless) insects.’ Founded in 1987 the workshop has produced creatures, costumes and makeup effects and its output was used in New Zealand director Peter Jackson’s trilogy The Lord of the Rings. Here you will learn about props, costumes and creatures, see artists at work and enjoy a special behind the scenes viewing of the costume department.

Friday October 29th
Dinner included
A day of options including op shops, small craft galleries and design stores.
A list of venues and map provided.
Farewell to Wellington dinner with surprise.

Saturday October 30th: Nelson
Accommodation: The Palms Motel
Morning: 9.00 am departure by inter island ferry to Picton arriving at noon. You will be taken to Nelson by minibus (ETA 2.00 pm). You will be taken on an orientation walk later in the afternoon and if time allows visit to local arts and produce market.

Sunday October 31st (All Hallows Eve): Coastal tour and arts trail by minibus
Welcome lunch included
Nelson brims with culture and has numerous art and pottery studios, vineyards, cafes, charming coastal towns and beautiful beaches all lining 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. Here you can indulge in Pacific Rim cuisine with plenty of seafood such as green lipped mussels, crayfish Bluff oysters, fresh fish and whitebait (in season), award winning cheeses and of course New Zealand lamb.

Monday November 1st
A morning visit the Suter Art Gallery, Te Aratoi o Whakatu, is followed by lunch at the café overlooking a waterway. In the afternoon you will visit WOW (the World of Wearable Art) museum however this is dependent on the collection being available for viewing. You end the day with a not to be missed Pic’s Peanut Butter tour. Beginning with a blender in his kitchen, and later adapting a concrete mixer to meet demand, Pic Picot has gone on to create what many regard as a national institution. You’ll leave with a smile on your face, a red star and peanut butter of course!

Tuesday November 2nd: Completion
Today is your final workshop of the tour with Nelson based textile/mixed media artist Ronnie Martin. Ronnie, creative director of Nelson’s annual Changing Threads Contemporary Textile Awards exhibition, is a popular tutor. She teaches and exhibits widely in New Zealand and overseas and her work is held in private and public collections. Under Ronnie’s expertise you set your inner child free and put together the pieces collected during your journey. All materials and equipment required will be supplied to create a visual record of your journey, your very own Pacific Patterns and a lasting testament to learning, sharing and creativity.

Wednesday November 3rd
In the morning you will complete your project with Ronnie followed by a shared lunch and an afternoon at leisure.

Thursday November 4th: Marlborough wine tour
Farewell lunch included (some costs may apply)
Hailed as one of New Zealand’s sunniest and driest regions, Maori referred to the Wairau Valley as ‘Kei puta te Wairau’ – ‘The place with the hole in the cloud’. This combination of a cool yet high sunshine climate, low rainfall and free-draining, moderately fertile soil produces unique wines. Marlborough, the country’s largest wine region, put New Zealand on the international stage with its exquisite Sauvignon Blanc in the 1980s.

Friday November 5th: Departures
We will assist you in making your arrangements.

The tour book that accompanies you on your tour will provide comprehensive background information. You will also receive regular updates and news items after booking.



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


• Transport in comfortable air conditioned coaches
• 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
• English speaking local guides
• Services of Tour Leader
• 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 if not travelling on suggested flights
• Visa requirements of the tour member
• Items of personal nature (phone, laundry etc.)

Please contact Tony 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.