Photograph by Andrew Ginther

“My family (Mother, Father, 2 brothers and 1 sister) emigrated to New Zealand from the Netherlands in 1981. I was born in 1982 and we grew up in a small rural community called Puketurua, in the South Waikato. We always had chickens, a huge vege garden, plenty of home baking and homemade clothing, all of which are part of my daily life now. We owned a television for one year but us kids decided to move it into the garage because it interfered with our lego space. We went to the local town library every Friday. One week our family took out 90 books which ended in the library introducing a maximum book limit.

My parents are both very creative and they are both hoarders. My Mother of indoor stuff, my Father of outdoor stuff. Naturally, I am a hoarder of both. My studio is full of old things. Papers, objects, fabrics and recycled building materials which bear the traces and markings of their former lives. I am always peering into skip bins and eyeing up building sites….just in case! When I get an idea for a site-specific art project I start collecting materials directly from the site and surrounding area. This includes building materials as well as anything related to the subject I am researching. e.g plant cuttings/rubbings. I then use my collections to build my ‘canvas’. The paints I use are left over acrylic house paints found in local dump shops or handed down by friends and family.

Completing my Masters of Fine Arts has helped to cement my direction as an artist. I loved researching in the archives and using my findings to direct my work. I am now focusing on site-specific projects which result in larger works that overlap painting with archaeology and architecture.”

Elisabeth works from her home-based studio on the Kapiti Coast where she lives with her husband Rory, and two children Charlie (6) and Maata (4).


Born: 1982, New Zealand
Lives: Kapiti Coast, New Zealand


2010 – 2012: Master of Fine Arts (distinction) Dunedin School of Art, NZ

2000 – 2004: Bachelor of Interior Architecture (first class honours) Schools of Architecture and Design
Victoria University, Wellington, NZ


2017/2018: Kapiti Arts Trail – Open Studio (4 days), Paraparaumu.

2014 – 2016: Molly Morpeth Canaday Award – Whakatane Library and Exhibition Centre

2013: Parkin Drawing Prize – Academy of Fine Arts, Wellington

2012: Site 144/404 – MFA project. Dunedin School of Art Gallery, Dunedin

2011: Points of Reference – South Coast Gallery, Wellington. Alter Ego (group show) – Fringe Festival, Wellington

2009: My Cuba Street (group show) – South Coast Gallery, Wellington. Specimen – Framework Gallery, Paraparaumu. Blind Contour – Deluxe Cafe, Wellington. Local Colour (group show) – Pataka Gallery, Porirua. Open Studios – Fringe Festival Show, Wellington

2008: Open Close – Framework, Paraparaumu. Form + Function – Pataka Gallery, Porirua. One Revolution – Toi Poneke Gallery, Wellington

2007: Art for Conservation (art auction) – Royal Forest and Bird Society, NZ. In a Circle – Art of this World, Auckland. More Small Works – Butterfly Net, Auckland

2006: 71 Small Works – Butterfly Net, Auckland


2017: Designed post stamps and a collectors coin for Maori Language Week in collaboration with designer David Hakaraia and NZ Post.

2016: Shifting House shortlisted and exhibited for the Molly Morpeth Canaday Award
Whakatane Library and Exhibition Centre

2015: The Forgotten Drawer shortlisted and exhibited for the Molly Morpeth Canaday Award
Whakatane Library and Exhibition Centre

2014: Boatshed n.o 2 shortlisted and exhibited for the Molly Morpeth Canaday Award
Whakatane Library and Exhibition Centre

Axonometric Chair Frame shortlisted and exhibited for the Parkin Drawing Prize
Academy of Fine Arts, Wellington

2008: Interviewed for The Gravy NZ TV – series 2, episode 7. Article in The Wellington Guide
Summer/Autumn, 2008

2007: Exhibition work feature in NZ House and Garden, February, 2007

Winner of the Telecom Art Awards, Wellington Issue

Highest Achieving Student Award and Woolf Graduation Scholarship – Schools of Architecture and Design, Wellington. Project work included in Pro Design Magazine, August/September 2003

2002: Top Interior Architect Award – Schools of Architecture and Design, Wellington