Canterbury update — Nov/Dec 2023

Halswell Pottery Group

Halswell Pottery Group has had a busy winter and spring season and we are looking forward to an even busier festive season. In August, renowned potter Greg Barron visited us for a two day demonstration. Greg showed us techniques such as building large pots in stages using coils, throwing in stages and carving for texture and effect. We’ve also had our annual wood firing and pit firing, both of which produced some beautiful pots. Membership applications have been steadily increasing throughout the year and our classes remain very popular. On the horizon is our annual Christmas market on December 2nd, which coincides with our participation in the Arts Canterbury Open Studios Event on November 25/26 and December 2/3. After that, the end of the year is a quieter time for the club as classes wind down for 2023 – a perfect time for members to come and enjoy working in our sunny cottage.

Hakatere Ceramics & Pottery

Our annual exhibition opened on the 18th October and runs until the 19th November at the Ashburton Art Gallery.  Attendance and reaction on the opening night was really positive, and with a shift in the awards that we are now presenting we had a good eclectic mix of winners, with Lois Orchard taking out the Supreme Award.  Our guest artist and judge this year was Hannah Kidd.

This year members were asked to make and donate tiles, with all tile being priced the same and all sales money going to the club as a fundraiser.  Overall sales have been brisk, but of course like all clubs we would always like to see more red dots on items.  We also have a raffle running with 20 prizes and this has been hugely popular.

Our club has really blossomed, and the calibre of works displayed has impressed everyone, and with over a hundred pieces the overall display is very impressive.  It’s great to see that our members have really developed their skills, with many focusing on cohesive bodies of work.

Photos are courtesy of our Facebook page and were taken by Jen Dearborn.


Located in Canterbury, about 25km north of Christchurch , the rapidly growing town of Rangiora is in the Waimakariri District. Currently the population of Waimakariri is more than 70,000 people which is treble that which existed when the group first came together in 1968.
In the early days the group met at Fernside and dug their own clay from local sites. They built their own kiln from recycled bricks and progressed to
become a recognised and valued group within the community. By 1984 the Rangiora Pottery Group became an incorporated society and as such were
established as a separate legal entity. Eventually around 1999, the need for more space and better facilities, led them to build a basic club house on
council owned land at Loburn Domain where they are still located today at 154 Loburn-Whiterock Road. This situation initially worked out well as
the club room was adjacent to the old Coronation Hall; this also served as a Boy Scout Hut and had a toilet that club members could use.
Unfortunately, just a few years after the club room was built, the nearby hall became unused and fell into disrepair which prompted the council to
demolish it, along with the toilet!
Over a year ago the committee resolved to review the club’s needs to meet our objectives and future expectations. More space in the clubroom and the
provision of a toilet were high on the list, so plans were drawn up to address the issues. An extension to our club room would allow for the electric kilns to be relocated and provide more space around the wheels and benches. In addition, an accessible toilet would be a much-needed inclusion in the layout.
The club has been actively fundraising in various ways, and over $15,000 has been raised and spent on work in preparation for a 36 sq/m extension
to the building. There are many hidden costs that are encountered when wanting to progress even a relatively simple building project. A basic soil
test by a qualified engineer costs $1200. Waimakariri District Council, our landlord, have assisted us greatly and issued a new ‘Licence to Occupy’
(LTO) on an enlarged plot at the Loburn Domain which protects our future presence and activities, including pit firing, raku, etc. The building plans
have been approved and a ‘Permit to Build’ has been issued together with a ‘Resource Consent’.

The next step is to commence construction of the extension, in staged steps, as funding becomes available. It is an ambitious project that will provide
for our needs in the immediate future and make the facilities more accessible and enjoyable for members and guests, no matter their ability or mobility.
Classes are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays; club day is every Tuesday when members gather between 10am and 2pm (and enjoy a shared lunch),
and we also meet on Thursday evenings. Visitors are welcome to call in and any travelling potters can stay over at the Loburn Domain, as it is registered for freedom campers. Over recent months we had a series of workshops presented by club members and these will continue in 2024. For a modest donation to the building fund, we have each enjoyed learning from our colleagues and sharing different techniques, information and gaining knowledge.
The Rangiora Pottery Group has a Facebook page which is regularly updated and our website, currently under construction, should be up and running by January 2024.
Enquiries can be directed to
Bernard Fears, (President), 021 618 686


  1. Photo of Rangiora Pottery Group club house before work begins.
  2. Drawing of floor plan with new extension highlighted
  3. Sketch of how building will look when extension is added