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Dave: The Maestro of New Zealand Pottery at the Ōtaki Market

In the heart of New Zealand's vibrant artisanal scene lies a hidden gem: the Ōtaki Market. Amidst the bustling stalls and lively chatter, one figure stands out – Dave, a connoisseur of New Zealand pottery like no other. With his knowledge and passion for the craft, Dave is not just a vendor; he is a maestro, guiding visitors through the rich tapestry of Kiwi ceramic artistry.

Dave from the Otaki Market
Dave, the Ōtaki Market

Can you share the inspiration behind specializing in New Zealand Pottery? And how long have you been doing this?

I always remember a teacher in Form one at intermediate trying to teach a bunch of us how to use a potters wheel. None of us were particularly good but I always liked the "feel" of the clay. Since then I have come to appreciate the art.

What are the names of the NZ Pottery you usually have at your stall?

Most Sundays on my stall, I try to have a good representation of New Zealand Pottery. I have a good supply of Temuka, or another South Island pottery like Benhar Pottery or individuals, such as O.C. Stevens and of course Mirek Smíšek.

What makes New Zealand Pottery unique, and how does it reflect the local culture?

The uniqueness of New Zealand Pottery comes down to the local clays and how a potter can bring out the features that highlight facets of the earth in that area.

What is the rarest piece of pottery you've ever had at your stall or have seen?

I was very lucky to find a WW2 Marine Bowl made by Amrico for the American's based at Camp Mackay. Ambrco were an early brand of Crown Lynn. I found another vendor selling an immaculate piece and had to snap it up as I had been on my want list for a few years.

Can you highlight any favourite pieces or collections that hold a special significance to you?

I do have a few favourite pieces of Crown Lynn - like some the badged pieces from Hamilton. where I'm originally from. But I especially like the small posy vases made I the 1940's.

Are there any new exciting pieces or features in New Zealand Pottery that we can expect to see in your stall?

I'm always on the look out for new and interesting pieces and also try to find pieces a collector may want.

What do you enjoy most about being a stall holder at the Ōtaki Market? And how long have you been a stall holder?

I've been coming to the Ōtaki Market for nearly three years so I'm really still on my learners plates. There is an great sense of comradely amongst the other stall holders. Everybody keeps an eye out for each other and will jump into help with a wayward gazebo, or just watch a stand while the vendors makes use of the facilities.

Lastly, for those visiting your stall for the first time, what would you want them to experience or take away from the rich world of New Zealand Pottery you offer?

I enjoy telling some of the history of New Zealand Pottery, the different fields and industries that have come out of the work of extremely talented artists. Maybe even point them toward Te Horo and the rebuilt Kiln of Mirek Smíšek - a great experience for all.

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