Aotearoa New Zealand is a land of travellers. All who live in these islands have come from some other place or who have ancestors who travelled. Navigating by the stars across vast oceans in double-hulled canoes a thousand years ago or a satellite-guided Dreamliner yesterday. Travellers are innovators. They bring things with them. Things they must change and adapt for the new place they find themselves.
New Zealanders are innovators.
Aotearoa itself is a gift of the sea. Inclines and uplifts, chains of volcanoes thrust up in the clash of the two tectonic plates that meet where Aotearoa was made.
During World War II, when iron could not be imported, nor timber felled, they innovated. Building social housing from brick and tiles and making a domestic architecture from the earths and clays they lived upon.
When European architects fleeing Nazi Germany found refuge in New Zealand, they introduced modernist architecture to a country of wooden villas and brick bungalows. At the time, advances in material manufacturing in Europe meant concrete, glass and steel were the defining materials of the movement. The absence of these in New Zealand meant that while we see the ideology of modernist architecture, our mid-century houses are uniquely New Zealand.
The built environment, the spaces we surround ourselves with, have such an impact on how we feel, and how we move through the world and consequently, how we treat each other.
Colour is the easiest, most accessible, cost-effective way to change a space. Yet, the way we choose colour has not been a simple process, particularly in a long skinny land surrounded by sun reflecting seas and a dashing sky of towering white clouds.
Maybe that's how we ended up surrounded with so much white - a colour that does little to a room, especially the overly bright blinding whites that render all spaces dimensionless, that wash out surfaces.
Colour alters how we perceive space, with it we can make surfaces advance or recede, we can bring light into the shadows, colour can excite, activate or bring calm and quiet.
But as we become aware of the colours that surround us, choosing colour becomes a way of feeling comfortable with who and nurtured by where we are.
To PPG Paints has partnered with six Makers who have created their own bespoke paint colours available exclusively in PPG Paints. Each Maker has created six colours from their environment, from artist Saskia Leek's 'Fallen Fruit' a colour found at the Botanic Gardens in Dunedin to Glassmaker Suzanne Hanly's Opal Yellow, taken from a stain glass colour that 'gives a warm, beautiful, optimistic light'. Each Maker has created a beautiful collection of colours with stories to tell.
Writer Hamish Keith's gentle pale greens and bark browns, colours from the plane trees on Franklin Road, designer Beth Ellery's rich red paired with a pale green-blue a combination you wouldn't think of but is so perfect.
Photographer Mark Smith took all the Makers photos, getting him in front of the camera as one of the Makers required his sister Deborah Smith's help. Mark's life Jacket Orange and a green made to match the seaweed found at Auckland’s West Coast beaches are perfectly complementary as both colours are slightly off centre. Lewis Road's 'Milk White' because the perfect white is so hard to find and soft 'Creamy Strawberry Milk' a colour caught between pale pink and cream. The 'Pale Blue Sky' of dawn and a 'Field at Dusk' are taken from Mark Smith's photos of a farm in dairy country, colours that are familiar to us all.
Our first Six Makers with six colours, a palette of 36 colours. There are no wrong colours, as there are no wrong colour combinations, there is simply what you love.