Whitecliffe alumni Rowan Belcher understands the desire to travel halfway around the world in search of adventure.
He did it himself when he 30 years ago moved to New Zealand to immerse himself in the Wellington art scene. So he understands why, despite the restrictions of the travel of old, adventurers of more than 120 years ago would make their way to New Zealand to view the magnificent Pink and White Terraces.
Or they did, until 1886 when the eruption of the volcanic Mount Tarawera blew up what was considered to be the Eighth Wonder of the World, at the same time burying nearby Maori villages and killing somewhere between 120 and 160 people.
Invited by former Tairawhiti Museum director David Butts to curate a small show based on the museum’s in-house collection, Belcher was rummaging around in the “vault” when his eye was caught by a huge, gleaming, gilded frame.
In it, he found, was a magnificent painting of the Terraces by revered Auckland artist Charles Blomfield (1848–1926)
Eighth Wonder, was curated by Rowan Belcher, at Tairawhiti Museum.