top of page

History of Whanganui Potters' Studio

It all began at the Wanganui Boys' College, which hosted night classes, attended by budding potters.

A Potters Group was formed in 1971, as part of the Wanganui Arts Society. The group exhibited separately in the Sarjeant Gallery with the first exhibition in 1973 showing a selection from 19 potters.

In 1975 the Potters Group resigned from the Arts Society to form their own society and 1977 saw them become an incorporated society, which enabled the group to be eligible to apply for grants.

The Wanganui Potters' Society moved into rooms of the newly established Community Education Service in Dublin Street, in 1980. Developments included the formation of a library and Christmas garden sale among fundraising activities. Club nights were held once a month.

1983 saw the Wanganui Regional Community College built with a ceramics department. Pottery classes were held for beginners to advance.

The May Display was first held in 1985 for potters who did not fire their own pots, to display and sell their work. This has continued over the years.

A garage in the Wanganui Regional Community College grounds was offered to the Potters' Society in 1986 to use as premises for setting up a kiln to do their own firing. A kiln was purchased and set up using LPG and first fired in July 1986. The kiln was christened 'Arabella.'

In 1987 the New Zealand Potters' held their convention in Wanganui. This created a lot of work to ensure its success.

Wanganui Potters' Society moved to the present site at 19 Taupo Quay in 1990. They used a small room until the ceramics studio was built.

The kiln shed was built first and 'Arabella' was installed, this time using natural gas. The club also purchased an electric kiln and firing began in 1991. An upgrade in 1997 introduced 'Fefe" who serves faithfully and frequently.

Over the years the club has had hundreds of members join, some leave others stick around. Some step up and join the committee meeting monthly to discuss the running of the club. Some members work tirelessly behind the scenes, cleaning the club, making up glazes and sharing their knowledge with others during the open studio sessions. Some members are honoured for their long service, becoming life members.

Exhibitions have been held most years along with workshops, classes and the annual Art in the Garden. The club continues the fire work for school projects and kindergarten creations. The community raku's and raffles are held to raise funds for the club.

The club continues to grow, with amazing creations in clay being made. We continue to be inspired by inspiring others.

Info from the 'History in the Making' brochure by Wanganui Potters' Society

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page