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Arne Loot: Party in Piha

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An exhibition of photographs by 97-year-old Titirangi photographer, Arne Loot.

About this event

Party in Piha is an exhibition of photographs by 97-year-old Titirangi photographer, Arne Loot, which document the legendary full-moon beach parties that took place in the remote coastal settlement of Piha in the 1960s. It has been created from a series of original proof sheets that Loot used to make for young party-host, Brian Rainger.

Rainger worked in his family textile business in Auckland but spent his weekends out at Piha, hosting the bright young things of the day — many of the guests were models and other glitterati associated with the fashion world, as well as local surfers and leading musicians to keep everyone entertained. At a time when bars closed at 6pm, the young people captured in these photographs dressed up (or down) and made their own fun on the west coast in an imagined tropical escape, inspired by popular films and Rainger’s travels to source textiles for the New Zealand fashion industry. Like the intrepid reporter in La Dolce Vita, Loot was invited to unobtrusively capture the moment. He created striking portraits and memorable scenes of party guests as they danced and socialised the night away; a lasting document of an innocent time.

Loot first established his own darkroom at the age of 11 in a wardrobe of his parents’ house in Holland. After travelling internationally, he arrived in Aotearoa in 1952. Already a skilled photographer, Loot found himself gainfully employed as a portrait photographer, later working in the advertising industry and as the photographer of choice for the Auckland City Art Gallery, Art New Zealand magazine, Webb’s, and a range of dealer galleries on the scene at the time, including New Vision, Dennis Cohn, Barry Lett, R.K.S Art and more.

This exhibition, developed by Sir Bob Harvey and Heath Wilkes from Phreon print studio, is presented as part of the 2021 Auckland Festival of Photography. It celebrates a unique selection of photographs that connects us to another era, particularly the rich social history of west Auckland. These photographs are distinctive as informal social documentation that predates camera phones and instamatic cameras, and are a rare glimpse into a vast archive from Loot’s long career, much of which has never been seen and cannot be found online.

Were you there? We’d love to put some names to faces. Visit the exhibition and see how many people you recognise.

29 May — 12 September 202

Opening function Saturday 12 June, 4pm

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Organiser Te Uru Waitākere Contemporary Gallery

Organiser of Arne Loot: Party in Piha

Te Uru Waitākere Contemporary Gallery is a regional gallery locally rooted in West Auckland but globally minded. We have a distinctive West Auckland focus but a national and international perspective. Through our programmes, we create a world stage for art that is relevant for our audiences, to put local art, artists and ideas in conversation and context with national and international developments in contemporary practice. We present a diverse programme of contemporary exhibitions, events and activities, including art, craft and design, to reflect and strengthen the full diversity of cultural identities, interests and potential of our community.

As a destination gallery, Te Uru operates from an award-winning, building in the recently re-opened Lopdell Precinct. The gallery originally opened in 1986 as the Waitemata City Arts and Cultural Centre, later known as Lopdell House Gallery, sited in the historic Lopdell House building in the heart of Titirangi, gateway to the Waitākere rain forest and en route to Auckland's famous west coast beaches. We reopened as Te Uru on Saturday 1 November 2014 in our new purpose-built facilities, offering extraordinary exhibitions and spectacular views of the surrounding area.

Our name, Te Uru, makes reference to Te Hau a Uru, the wind that blows from the west, a powerful characteristic of the region and an important story for local iwi, Te Kawerau ā Maki, who have bestowed us with this new kaupapa. The west wind shares the messages and vision of the people that live in the west, brings change, sets direction and influences Auckland City from its mountainous perch atop the Great Forest of Tiriwa. Te Uru will be a source of information and ideas that will project across the region - a fitting framework for a contemporary gallery.

420 Titirangi Road, Titirangi, Auckland, New Zealand
Phone:+64 9 817 8087
Open: Monday-Sunday, 10am-4:30pm
Parking available on the street or behind the gallery.
Public transport - buses and trains available from New Lynn transit station

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