South of the Border
Pokeno Art Festival is a premier fine art festival that promotes awareness of the arts, supports artists, and seeks to build community in the Pokeno, South Auckland, and Waikato Districts.
The vision of Pokeno artist Jane Crosbie, who is committed to empowering artists and bringing art to the local community, the festival is dedicated to providing artistic enrichment, and celebrating the rich diversity of arts and culture of the people who live in Pokeno, South Auckland, and the North Waikato.
Pokeno is the border of both South Auckland and North Waikato. As such it is vastly multicultural. That makes Pokeno naturally rich in art and culture. We are a melting pot of Maori, European, Pasifika, Indian, Asian, African, and many other ethnicities living and working in our community. That makes for a very diverse, very dynamic cultural community.
Pokeno, at the intersection of two of our most prominent highways in New Zealand, (State Highway 1 and State Highway 2), is a crossroads, a natural geographic meeting place. Pokeno is at the Southern border of Auckland city heading North, the Gateway to the Mighty Waikato heading South and West, and the doorway to the Coromandel, Hauraki Plains, and Bay of Plenty regions heading to the East Coast.
Pokeno and Districts may be a small community, but we’re a talented culturally rich community. We also have internationally acclaimed and award winning artists and performers living in Pokeno. Being great believers in quality over quantity, we believe we have the potential to become a true force in the New Zealand art festival scene.
Pokeno Art Festivals objectives are to provide opportunities for artists, and to provide a rich art experience in an intimate small town country setting, for our local community and visitors from other regions.
Pokeno is one of the fastest growing regions in New Zealand. The growth of cultural diversity in our community reflects a turning point. We have immense local talent growing out of our ethnic diversity but no cultural art venue for that talent to display itself. That’s a shame. Because if we don’t support our talent we’ll lose it.
To Jane Crosbie an art festival seemed a logical solution. So she set about organising one. Though an art festival is an enormous project to organise, artists from South Auckland and the Waikato, as well as local Pokeno community groups helped by offering their support. Pokeno proudly has its own independent art festival now, where we can showcase our own talent, as well as talent from other regions.
Pokeno Lions Club president in 2020 Trevor Armstrong was the first to pledge his support. His beautiful wife Pauline had recently passed away. Pauline was an artist. So art was dear to his heart and part of his life. He didn’t hesitate to support other artists.
Other members of Pokeno Lions Club also offered to help. Then Chris Pullin and Bruce Owen from St Marys on the Hill Anglican Church graciously offered their beautiful historical heritage listed church as the venue for Pokeno’s inaugural art festival. Chris Pullin the organiser of Pokeno Garden Ramble gave permission to incorporate Pokeno Garden Ramble as part of Pokeno Art Festival. Gardening after all is indisputably an art form. Then South Auckland and Waikato artists pledged their support.
Pokeno now has a gathering of beautiful gardens and wonderful artists and performers showcasing their exquisite talent. We have named our art exhibition and gathering at St Marys Church ‘South of the Border’.
Following are the artist bios of featured South of the Border artists. Feel free to browse and get a sneak preview of the wide variety of artistic talent South of the Border will have on show.
We hope you enjoy Pokeno Art Festival, our gardens and our art exhibition on February 19th and 20th, 2022 and emerge refreshed, stretched, and charmed by the talent that lies South of the Border. We hope you enjoy our festivals ethnic diversity and culture.
In the future Pokeno Art Festival will continue to pursue opportunities to inspire, enlighten, and educate our community through art, forms old and new, artists known and unknown. We hope to become an annual event – a new place on your map – a new event on your calendar. You’ve been everywhere else – now sample Pokeno. You won’t regret it.