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The gallery and gift shop are a popular tourist attraction with regular new exhibitions and a well stocked gift shop located near the airport in Claris. 


In May 2001 a group of seven artists, led by Bob Lawson, decided to establish an Art Group on Aotea. In October of that year, the group registered the Aotea Community Artz Charitable Trust. At first the Trust had no home or exhibition space. The artists took their work to Waiheke Gallery in 2002 and 2004. The Claris Texas Cafe, Currach Irish pub and Tryphena Hall were commandeered for on island exhibition space.
Two old buildings - the Mabey House built in 1908, and the Gray Cottage built in 1922, had been gifted to Bob Lawson and Di Hayes, and relocated to land in Gray Road. A third building joined these in 2004 - the Tryphena School Masters House - rescued from demolition, and purchased for the nominal sum of $1.00. In December, following a huge amount of voluntary work by artists and other members of the community, the School Masters House was opened as the Aotea Gallery. For the next 5 years the Gallery continued to develop. In 2009 the name was changed to the Great Barrier Island Community Heritage and Arts Village Trust to better reflect all the aims of the Trust. With support from the Great Barrier Local Board and Auckland Council, the three buildings were moved in November 2009 from Gray Road, to their current site on Hector Sanderson Road. And now in 2023 we are the Aotea Arts and History village.

The day to day running of the Village is through our part time staff members - Village Arts Manager ; Ashlee Tawhiti and Finance Manager; Kylie Simpson.
Planning and long term decisions are made at monthly meetings of our  9 Trustees.


Front row: Ashlee Tawhiti (Village Arts Manager), Jan Ngatae (Treasurer), Prue Smith (duty Chair), Jackie Peers
Back row: Margaret Rose Ngawaka, Fenella Christian (Chair), Madeline Mcarthur (Secretary), Kylie Simpson (Finance manager & Museum curator)
Insets top down: Lexi Ngawaka, Michelle Page, Carol Rice

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