Britomart highlights this week – Thursday 9 May to Thursday 16 May

Mother’s Day Special: a gift edit, a dining suggestion and an interview / How to win a trip to Hawaii / Waving flags for art


Like most mums, Becky Ollivier juggles multiple projects daily (including raising good small people). As an illustrator, her work has a subtle joyfulness, and includes textile designs for Huffer, product packaging for The Natural Co, and a book about motherhood, Little Gems, which took the same incubation time as a human baby. We threw another project into the mix when we asked her to illustrate our Mother’s Day campaign. Read what makes Mother’s Day special for her at this link. 

Still in search of inspiration for what to get your mum for Mother’s Day this year? Click through to find our round-up of pretty and precious ways to say thanks, from an eco-friendly gift that won’t break the bank, to a way to win your mum (and yourself) a beautiful Ted Baker coat to keep you warm for winter.

Right now, Mexico has an extra-special dessert on in celebration of Mother’s Day – a blend of Kiwi and Mexican flavours. Pavlova meringues are drizzled with kiwifruit sorbet, strawberry and coriander compote, coconut crema, almond soil and las flores. Better yet, on Sunday 12 May, mum eats it for free.

ICYMI: Last weekend Britomart was a proud sponsor of the Auckland Art Fair, which led to two art events taking place in the precinct. One was Hikalu Clarke and Rainer Weston’s Crowd Source, a collection of moving images projected against the Australis Nathan building, home to Tiffany & Co. The other was a Saturday afternoon event that was pretty much pure joy: Rachel Ashby and Sarah Callesen’s I Wish to Communicate With You, a performance work involving 13 musicians and performers and a whole lot of members of the public waving nautical flags. Each musician was draped in a flag and played their instrument when a matching flag was waved by one of the many passersby, which created a fascinating blend of impromptu symphony and charming cacophony. See more of Joe Hockley’s pics of the event here. 

This week we drew the winners of our competition to win five annual memberships to the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. Those lucky folk will now be able to enjoy the fabulous new (landmark, even) Frances Hodgkins: European Journeys exhibition for free, as well as every other excellent exhibition the Gallery presents in the next 12 months.

We’ve got a new artwork coming to Britomart soon too. The flags around the precinct are changed every few months, and the new set of designs, due to go up in the next couple of weeks, have been created by ‘Ahota’e’iloa Toetu’u. Born in Tonga and based in Auckland, ‘Ahota’e’iloa works as an artist as well as a senior art teacher at Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate in Otara. 

Some of the concierge crew at Britomart Carpark are part-timers who study in the hours when they’re not valeting and keeping an eye on cars – it’s just a quick stroll up the hill to the university precinct. Simon Preston is one of those who dashes between classes and carpark on a regular basis. We talked to him about the inner workings of the human engine. Portrait and interview by Florence Noble. Click here to read.

If you’re dreaming of a getaway somewhere warm, cheerful and peopled with sculpted abs to gaze upon, we hear Hawaii is great this time of year. To get there, get a friend who’s a member at Les Mills Britomart (also warm, cheerful and peopled with sculpted abs) to take you in for a workout in May and they’ll go in the draw to win a trip for two to Hawaii. (We hope they’ll be kind enough to take you along if they win.) If you’re a member already, start roping your friends in!

You might have noticed that the walls of the first storey of The Hotel Britomart have gone up in the last two weeks. There are 180 brick-clad pre-cast concrete panels that will eventually make up the hotel exterior, designed to sit harmoniously with the heritage buildings that surround it. We talked to Nat Cheshire of Cheshire Architects about designing a sustainable new building that will blend in naturally with its century-old neighbours. Click here for the full story.