• Alan Preston

Kaatahi me inaianei / Now and then presents a selection of jewellery from Alan Preston’s archive.

These pieces bring together a personal record of creative jewellery practice over the past 50 years. Preston’s own pieces mingle with those gifted and purchased to create a collection that holds memories, whakapapa and affiliation to a community of makers across Aotearoa.

The installation replicates a wall in Preston’s home that is a catch-all for his collection. A humble building perched in the bush overlooking Muriwai beach, it was designed by David Mitchell in 1985 along with an adjacent workshop. The house’s architecture reflects Alan’s admiration for aesthetics found across Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa with exposed beams and posts along its centreline.

Surrounded by other artefacts of a creative life, the wall in Preston’s living space has grown over time to become his jewellery box. Pins move about the wall supporting an array of works, including Preston’s own Startled Kiwi brooches and can tab necklaces, his favourite Pauline Bern ring and an Areta Wilkinson pendant.

Across the installation we see the aspects of Alan’s practice that he is well known for – a love and mastery of natural materials found close to home, a respect and desire to engage in cultural exchange and a practice that reflects issues of identity, place and politics.

The exhibition title reflects Alan’s understanding of time in te ao Māori – that “the past is always there in front of the future”. By using te reo Māori in titling this exhibition, Alan hopes to tautoko te reo Māori as tangata Tiriti and extends appreciation to his friends in their encouragement to do so.

Alan Preston began jewellery making through classes at the Camden Institute in London in 1973. In 1974 he spent time as a guest artist at New Zealand’s first major craft co-op, the Brown’s Mill Market, in Auckland. That same year he went on to open Fingers gallery, alongside jewellers Ruth Baird, Roy Mason, Margaret Phillips and Michael Ayling. Fingers celebrates its 50th birthday this year.

Alan credits trips to Papua New Guinea and Fiji as pivotal in the development of his making practice. These visits connected him with makers who had a confidence in working with natural materials that spurred him into a new way of approaching the materials he found in Aotearoa.

Preston has exhibited widely nationally and internationally; including a solo exhibition of his work at the Dowse Art Museum in 2007, and inclusion in the touring group exhibition Wunderrūma: New Zealand jewellery, 2014. His work is held in many national public collections.

Preston was Adjunct Professor, Jewellery Design at Unitec from 2002–2013 and New Zealand selector, Schmuckszene, Munich from 1990 to 2010.

Opening Hours

  • Tuesday - Friday, 10am-5pm
  • Saturday, 10am-4pm


  • 13 Rose Road
  • Ponsonby, Tāmaki Makaurau