Home to the only glass school in the country, Whanganui is known for its fine arts, graphic design, photography, spectacular glass blowing and fashion.
Whanganui is famous for its spectacular glass art. With the largest population of glass artists in New Zealand, many of these artists have been internationally awarded, creating a high-achieving creative culture.
With this kind of a reputation, it comes as no surprise that all of the Middle‑earth glassware needed for the filming of The Hobbit Trilogy – glass goblets, beer and wine bottles and inkwells – were crafted here. New Zealand Glassworks is a fantastic place to view the work of talented local artists. From mid-September, visitors can view glass blowing and hot kilns in operation on-site. The Glass Factory NZ and Claudia Borella Glass Design are also both great places to browse locally made glass artwork. For more information on current Glass Art events and galleries, visit the Whanganui Glass Art website.
Love quirky or traditional handmade jewellery? Look out for locally made jewells in Whanganui, found in many of the galleries and studios in town. This is the place to buy if you’re after one-off designs and a high quality of workmanship. The Sarjeant Gallery specialises in jewellery, objects d’art and glass.
Before you leave, soak up a little of Whanganui’s vibrant outdoor art with a walk along the riverbank on Somme Parade, dotted with unique sculptures. Treasured pieces of art also dot the gardens and parks of Whanganui’s central city, each with special meaning to the local community.