Join Black Door Gallery for the exhibition opening of Maniototo Encounters on Thursday 26 May, from 5:30pm - 7:30pm.

John Toomer's world sits at the intersection of past and present- literally. There is no coincidence that the artist lives in Mosgiel, Dunedin, where State Highways 1 and 87 meet. A short drive down SH1, he arrives at Dunedin, one of the largest cities in the South Island; while travelling down SH87 leads him on a journey back in time, both personally and historically.

Down that winding highway you will find the quiet regions of Middlemarch and the Maniototo, places with rich gold mining histories, places which defined early European history in New Zealand. These locations are also personal to John, as he spent many holidays in the region in his early years. Being so formative, it’s easy for the artist to get lost in re-visitation of the history of the area, continuing to learn, discover and document what is left, often being those small buildings, rail stations, school-houses and early infrastructure.

For John, having spent his life in the area, the act of painting the region serves as a form of "nostalgia, a bit of storytelling and a bit of history".

Now after some 30 years of focused painting in this genre John Toomer has finessed the approach of transforming humble rural buildings and landscapes into scenes of iconic status.

Join us for Maniototo Encounters an exhibition that captures those soulful buildings that stand in areas such as Naseby, Becks, Hyde and St Bathans. Set against dramatic skies and framed by evocative lighting, Toomer poises his subjects like the main character in a cinema still, inviting us to contemplate the narratives the buildings hold- past and present.

View the exhibition online here


  • Thu 26 May


  • 5:30 pm — 7:30 pm


  • 251 Parnell Road
  • Parnell, Auckland,
  • New Zealand, 1052