• Reuben Paterson

A life-size, gold-glittered rustling tree takes root at The Founders Lawn, Pukeiti. Artist Reuben Paterson investigates the play of light on sculptural form in the beauty of our natural environments through this visually stunning work.

Within the park setting, the hand-sculpted glittering tree appears to be conjured up through the re-telling of a magical yet ancient legend.

The result of the artist’s three-month residency with the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, and now part of the Govett-Brewster Collection, Paterson (Ngāti Rangitihi, Ngāi Tūhoe, Scottish) references this local inspiration with the mythology of trees and his Māori heritage as a reference point to navigate toward and from as we move through Pukeiti.

The Golden Bearing title relates to multiple ideas: a bearing as a GPS or map location, a landmark or focal point; as an aid to navigational voyages, glitter evoking nga whetu/stars, with waka/canoes traditionally made from tress; and also the Māori creation myth, the coming of light, Te Ao Mārama, through the separation of land and sky. The colour and material of gold symbolises divine principles, wisdom and enlightenment, informing Paterson's exploration of experiential and philosophical ideas of nature and light. Festooned with tiny shards of golden glitter, a complex interplay of light shimmers over The Golden Bearing, placing this sculpture in an otherworldly, mythological terrain. Transformed through weather, sunlight and moonlight, the tree is reflective of the elements in its environment, essentially creating its own world.

The Golden Bearing will also be at WOMAD (World of Music and Dance) Fri 15 – Sun 17 March. (For more information visit

Paterson now lives in New Plymouth where he continues to work predominantly with glitter, a medium he has used since his studies at Elam School of Fine Arts. His large-scale paintings depict Māori and floral motifs, kaleidoscopic patterns, images of animals, landscapes and – most recently – fireworks and clouds.

Pukeiti Park

Founders Lawn, Pukeiti

  • 2290 Carrington Road, New Plymouth