Don Binney: Drawing the Waitākere Coast

Don Binney (1940–2012) is one of the country’s best-known artists, famous for his stylised capture of Aotearoa’s birds and landscapes. In this suite of 24 coloured pencil drawings, Binney maps the Waitākere coast, from Huia to Te Henga / Bethells Beach, finishing at the Pukematakeo lookout.

This is a stretch of coastline the artist knew intimately. Binney grew up in Tāmaki Makaurau and first visited Te Henga as a boy. Throughout his life, Binney spent periods living on the Waitākere coast, initially at Te Henga and later at Piha. From a young age, Binney hiked many variations of the route from Huia to Te Henga and frequently returned to favourite spots to sketch the landscape. He developed an in-depth knowledge of the local birdlife and was a founding member of the Waitākere Ranges Protection Society, putting up emphatic opposition to a proposed causeway and landfill in the early 1970s.

In 2010, Binney published Drawing the Waitākere Coast, which pairs reproductions of his Waitākere Coast drawings with an extended piece of writing describing the journey from Huia to Te Henga. Drawing from the publication, this exhibition includes original drawings and excerpts of Binney’s textual accounts, which range in subject from the gradient of the walking tracks to memories of those with whom he has shared this landscape, and the artworks it has inspired.

18 November - 03 March 2024

Photos by Sam Hartnett