GIBBS FARM: Sculpture by the Sea, New Zealand

Jane Adams discovers rolling verdant green farmland is the setting for an extraordinary private contemporary sculpture collection overlooking Kaipara Harbour, just north of Auckland.

Neil Dawson at Gibbs Farm

New Zealand business magnate Alan Gibbs has been very low key about his passion – contemporary sculpture, a fascination dating back to the early 1990s when he bought his 400-hectare farm overlooking the expansive Kaipara Harbour. At Gibbs Farm, instead of stocking it like most graziers, with ruminant animals, he has chosen to rear one of the world’s great private sculpture parks.

Stroll its electrically fenced paddocks and you will marvel at the impressively scaled works specially site-commissioned from major artists, including minimalist American sculptor Richard Serra, creator of the curvaceous Te Tuhirangi Contour in Coreten steel. Anish Kapoor’s red steel and PVC oversize Swiss Alphorn inspired Dismemberment straddles a hill calling to the tidal estuary beyond. Other artists represented include Zhan Wang (China), Bernar Venet (France), Leon van den Eijkel (Holland) and NZ’s Neil Dawson and Jeff Thomson.

Gibbs Farm Van Eijkel at Gibbs Farm Zhan Wang at Gibbs Farm

The notion of living art is best expressed by Thomson’s recently installed Giraffe standing triumphantly on a mound adjacent the giraffe house, where three very alive and hungry long-necked siblings are adjusting to their new Kiwi surroundings. All the other animals grazing the Gibbs Farm paddocks are real, and some decidedly quixotic – ostriches, water buffalo, Canadian geese, alpacas and big-horned Highland cattle. Sheep also gambol and graze this extraordinary, detour-worthy open-air sculpture park that will make your spirits soar.

Anish Kapoor at Gibbs Farm

Gibbs Farm is about an hour’s drive north of central Auckland. It is open to the public by appointment once a month on scheduled dates (10am – 2pm), free entry. There is no on-site café so visitors are recommended to wear sensible shoes, dress for the weather and pack a picnic.

To register for future available dates contact: Kirsten@gibbsfarm.org.au or visit www.gibbsfarm.org.au for more information.

Jane Adams

Jane Adams

Jane is an award-winning food and travel writer based in Sydney, and chair of the Australian Farmers’ Markets Association. Her perambulations of plate and place have appeared for over 20 years in publications including Gourmet Traveller, Cuisine, Qantas magazine and Selector. She has a passion for farmers’ markets, local food and old Asian teapots.
Jane Adams

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