When Ginney is not painting she is spending time in our wild and remote places sea kayaking, biking, tramping and sharing them with the public. Ginney's inspiration comes from the natural world and New Zealand in particular.


As an artist Ginny endeavors to use her vision and skill to bring to our attention not only the iconic but also places that we may not have seen, stories we may not have heard and her hopes for the future.

Through vivid colour, innovative design and extensive research she pieces together images to evoke and highlight our connection and appreciation of this truly remarkable land.

Waka of 100 Blades, 2016
Acrylic on stretched canvas, 1,130 x 930 mm

By the light of the moon an ancient karakia drifted through the forest, rustling the leaves and asking permission to fell a great totara to build a waka. The waka was constructed with care and foresight for no tree was felled or landscape altered without a thought for the effect on the generations ahead. Seven trees were planted in its memory to grow strong and true into the future.

Equal numbers of men and women would travel on the waka, leaving their home at Hokitika for many seasons.  Each of the ninety-six paddles were individually carved for its owner. As well as two paddles that were bound as one to make the steering oar, one that waited to stand alone beneath a star where the ice mountains drifted into the ocean. The last was Te Hamo, a treasure from a distance ancestor.

The crew gathered around the fire and each pressed their mark into one of two pieces of clay. They were rolled into balls and baked in the fire. They were the ‘mauri’ stones and carried inside them the mana and wairua of the crew. One stone was to stay behind to call them home the other went with them to explore the seas to the south, the shattered washboards of the ‘waka of the Gods’.

At first, beaches stretched far ahead and great rivers of ice carved their way through giant peaks, then the mountains came to meet the waves. As the waka wove its way through sheltered waterways, exposed coastline and rocky islands another group followed their journey south on foot. Where the shores allowed the waka made landfall and the groups united and resupplied.

People have been navigating the vast Pacific for over a thousand years. The navigators of old had an incredible understanding of the ocean passed down through the generations. Some could feel multiple swell patterns passing below a waka, they could determine what lay over the horizon by the movement under the hull. Aotearoa, New Zealand has been known to the inhabitants of the Pacific for many generations and has been visited by various groups over the centuries.
In our early history the Waitaha journeyed throughout the mountains and river valleys and along the coastlines of Aotearoa. They planted kumara, harvested sea food and birds and transported their greatest treasure, pounamu throughout the Pacific.

View and a Brew, 2016
Acrylic on stretched canvas, 1,130 x 930 mm

Pickersgill Harbour was a welcome sight to the sailors aboard the Resolution after venturing into the frigid Antarctic waters. They were to stay five weeks in Dusky Sound so that Cook and his navigator could make observations, the crew could recuperate and carry out repairs on the ship. They set up a forge and tents for the sail makers, cleared a headland for the observations and established New Zealand’s first brewery. It produced ‘Spruce Beer’ made from rimu and manuka trees. It was thought that the resulting beer would aid in the prevention of scurvy amongst the crew.

On this voyage Cook had a copy of John Harrison’s chronometer H4 to test. Up until this point in history, European sailors could not determine their longitude once at sea. It was a major problem in that accurate charts could not be made and many ships were wrecked or lost at sea. The Board of Longitude was established in London and offered a reward to anyone who could solve this problem. John Harrison, a clock maker would eventually claim that prize but it would take the majority of his life and great deal of patience and conflict.

The cleared hill in Pickersgill Harbour was named Astronomer Point. From here Cook and William Wales, of the Board of Longitude made their observations. As a result, Cook determined exactly where in the world he was, proving the chronometer to be the answer to the question of longitude and taking a monumental leap forward for navigation. He then charted the coves and islands of Dusky Sound and produced what would have been the most accurate chart anywhere in the world at that time.

Passing Through, 2016
Acrylic on stretched canvas, 1,130 x 930 mm

These days it’s hard to imagine Dusky Sound brimming with activity and industry. It wasn’t so long ago that Dusky Sound was one of the most populated places in New Zealand, albeit by chance. The sealing and whaling trades were lucrative and southern New Zealand provided an abundance of seals.

One of the first ships to stop by was the Brittania in 1795. However it did not stay, it only dropped off a gang of sealers and continued on to harvest whales off the coast of Brazil promising to return on the homeward journey. The sealers were sceptical and set about building their own ship with local timbers just in case. Amazingly the whalers returned to collect them a year later and the almost finished ship wasn’t needed.

Years later an old merchant ship called the Endeavour left Sydney with support vessel, the Fancy. The Tasman was too much for the old ship and it became obvious that she was beyond repair. Luckily they made it into Dusky Sound before she totally fell apart. The decent timber and anything of value was saved and the rest of it sank. There were 244 people stranded, including 46 stowaways and some abandoned whalers and sealers. They set about turning the Fancy, and the sealer’s locally constructed ship into seagoing vessels. The majority of the people sailed away after only a matter of weeks. But the two new boats couldn’t accommodate everyone so the people left behind converted one of the Endeavour’s long boats to suit their needs. They set sail in March of 1796 leaving 35 people behind to hunt and gather what they could to survive while waiting for the next ship. It would be an American whaler just over a year later.

Captain Swallow's Escape, 2016
Acrylic on stretched canvas, 1,130 x 930 mm

In the early 1800s ship after ship was being loaded with fresh convicts, ready for transportation to Australia. Among them was William Swallow. As he was transferred to the ship did he glance at the crowd? Did his wife and children wait on the docks desperate for a last embrace? Did he inscribe a hammered copper coin and toss it to them with tear filled eyes knowing they may never see him again? A token to remember him by? If he had any personal items they would soon be confiscated in return for a tin ticket. A ticket on a chain declaring his identity, not his name but three digits, 323.

Swallow wasn’t destined to be in captivity and would not need that number for very long. His opportunity for freedom came when he and 30 fellow convicts were being transported in the colonial brig Cyprus from Hobart to Macquaire Harbour. One fine day the crew of the Cyprus decided to take the opportunity to go fishing. Some convicts had found favour with the crew and had been unshackled. Swallow was one of them and headed a mutiny. Swallow and his supporters overpowered the remaining crew and put them ashore along with the convicts not willing to participate. He also left them a supply of food.

Swallow and his comrades set a course east and avoided the jails of Australia to instead discover a land of towering peaks, ferocious storms and mysterious inland coves. Duck Cove became home for a while before setting up camp further in the fiord. In that time he made himself busy stealing around 50,000 seal skins from the surrounding gangs. By this stage he was afraid he had overstayed his welcome, it was only a matter of time before a ship from Sydney would discover them. Swallow and his crew set sail for the north. They travelled to Hawaii, Japan and on to Canton in China. Here he was visited by a King’s ship and even though he had taken measures to disguise the ship and forge its papers it was discovered that they were not what they seemed. It was here that his past caught up with him. Swallow and his first mate were returned to Hobart and hanged for their crimes.

A Feathered Family, 2016
Acrylic on stretched canvas, 1,130 x 930 mm

There would be no ‘booming in the night’ on Anchor Island if not for the dedication of a solo conservationist a century ago. Richard Henry had no formal training in natural history or conservation, his love and knowledge of native birds was acquired through a lifetime of observation.

He travelled widely and was employed in a variety of industries from saw mills to construction, bush guide and explorer to rabbit culler. He watched the seasons change and noted how the wildlife responded, insatiably curious about the natural world especially native birds. As an avid writer he started to put his concerns about the effect introduced species were having on bird populations to paper.

In 1891 Resolution Island in Dusky Sound was proclaimed a safe national sanctuary for flightless birds. In 1894 Henry took up the post of curator. He built a house, store, boatshed and holding pens on nearby Pigeon Island. For the next fourteen years he devoted his life to relocating hundreds of birds to island sanctuaries often in wild, wet and windy conditions. He reported regularly to Dunedin with his observations and published a book, ‘The habits of flightless birds of New Zealand’. Towards the end of Henry’s time in Dusky Sound he grew despondent about the threat posed by stoats to the island’s birds. He even destroyed his notebooks containing years’ worth of observations and knowledge. If only he knew the value his research would hold in the century to come.

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