Saturday, December 8, 2012

Thank you, Alan Gibbs (again)

I first blogged about Alan gibbs' farm in December, 2009.  I said then my preferred route to Auckland was not via State Highway One but rather the less popular SH16 which twists and turns, following the Kaipara Harbour most of the way.  I still prefer to have a second rate road to myself than to share a first rate road with others.  Still prefer the road less travelled.

One of the big attractions for me about SH16 is the 1,000 acre property, modestly named Gibbs Farm, owned by millionaire Alan Gibbs.  He bought the windswept site in 1991. Since then, he has commissioned sculptures featuring original works by local and internationally renowned artists. 

My fascination with the place has been growing since 2001 when a huge wall appeared on the landscape.  I now know it's dimensions - 252 metres longs x 6m x 50mm, made from 56 Corten steel plates.  It has always looked huge to me and now that I've stood beside it, I am even more impressed by it.  And it leans out by 11 degrees from the vertical.  And, contrary to how it looks from the road, it has beautiful sensual curves.  

Every time I think about anything I saw when I visited, my sentances, even in my head, begin with "and".....and I saw this ... and I saw that ... and... and ...
I was so impressed by everything I saw at the farm.  Although it's so much more than a farm.  The farm it used to be didn't warrant a second look.  Since falling into Mr Gibbs' hands it has become a place of beauty.  It's a sculpture park like no other.  The scale of the sculptures are deceptively disguised by the scale of the landscape but approaching them on foot, they grow and become more and more impressive as you draw near.  The size of some of them just took my breath away.  I felt dizzy looking to the top of the one I've known as the steel struts for the past year  Eash of the 8 pieces of Corten steel are 27 metres long, 0.75m square.

When  I hurt my foot recently, my one thought was it had to get better before Gibbs Farm Day.  I had been so thrilled when my friend Chris announced she had gained access for us to an Open Day at the farm and I'd been looking forward to that day ever since.  I was so excited about it, I had even tried to prepare myself for a little disappointment - surely nothing could live up to my expectations.   

Hah!  It was even better than I expected!

To say thank you to Alan Gibbs falls way short. He allows the public to visit, for free, by prior appointment, about once a month.  It blows me away that I've visited one of the world's leading sculpture parks - and it cost me nothing.  I've been up close to monumental art works by some of the world's most famous artists - and I only had to travel an hour or so.  

And not just Chris and me, either.  We figured there were well over a thousand people there.  But at no stage did we feel crowded, the landscape seemed to swallow many or they looked like dots in the distance.

 Thank you, Mr Gibbs.


  1. This is a place I'd love to visit. It is a wonder of the world.

  2. Hello Pauline,

    Simply amazing, enjoyed looking at the sculptures, plus the green grass really sets of the pieces.

    Happy days.

  3. This is amazing, just wonderful. I can understand why you were thrilled with this visit. And your pictures are very good too.

  4. What an amazing place. I'm fairly certain I will never see these works of art first hand so I really appreciate you sharing your photos and adventure here - thank you!

  5. I'm glad you, your foot and Chris made it Pauline and glad that it came up to your expectations. Having travelled that road with you and seen some of the structures from afar and knowing how enthusiastic you've always been about it I am so pleased for you.

  6. Must be a fantastic place to visit! Glad you made it, and thanks for sharing.

  7. Wow....what an amazing place! You are very lucky to have experienced it.

  8. Oooh, it's now on my 'to see' list.

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