Home' The Wellingtonian : February 9th 2012 Contents 16 THE WELLINGTONIAN, FEBRUARY 9, 2012
New moves: Claire French shows her hula hooping skills.
Photo: REBECCA THOMSON
By REBECCA THOMSON
Wellingtonians are being
encouraged to give hula
hooping a whirl.
Karori woman Claire French is
planning the inaugural New Zealand
Hoopfest, a three-day festival in
Lower Hutt starting on February 17.
I'm trying to show a lot of different
styles so people who have never hula
hooped before can get involved,'' she
There will be workshops on
burlesque hooping, hoop yoga and
Native American hooping.''
French became interested in
hooping about five years ago when a
friend encouraged her to try it.
As well as being fun, hooping was
very good exercise, she said.
I used to be double the size I am
It's a fun way to exercise and tone
It doesn't feel like you're slogging
yourself out in the gym. You can put
some tunes on and give it a go.''
French is originally from
In 2009 she helped to set up UK
Hoop Gathering, a series of weekend
workshops for hooping fanatics.
It sold out and ever since it's been
getting bigger and bigger. The UK has
gone absolutely hoop mad.''
French has her own business,
working as an events project manager
and hula hooping teacher.
She also makes hoops.
Hoops now are much bigger and
heavier than the original hula hoop.
The ones I make are massive.''
Although the origins of hula hoops
are unknown, the activity gained
international popularity in the
1950s, when a plastic version was
successfully marketed by California's
Wham-O toy company.
Hula hooping had fallen out of
fashion by the 1990s but there had
been a resurgence, said French.
She came to New Zealand a year
ago after travelling through Europe,
the United States and Australia.
I had never been to New Zealand
but it was always a country I had
wanted to come to.
I went back to Europe for the
[hoop festival] season but I got really
homesick, so decided to base myself
This is the first time I've had a
house for years.
It's an important step for me to be
able to settle down in Wellington.''
French said people of all ages were
welcome to come to Hoopfest.
Meals would be provided and
participants could camp on the site
or sleep in dormitories.
Everyone is welcome, men as well
Men do get into it once they start
hooping but they are in the minority.
I do have a guy teaching, though.
It's also for people who don't have
the confidence to dance.
It's good because you feel quite
safe in the hoop. It takes the
attention off you and puts it on the
hoop...Andit's a challenge.
Out of all the circus skills, it's one
of the easier ones to learn.
I can teach people a few tricks
straight away. Six-year-old kids can
For information, see
All's Welly and good at Artrium
First time: Angela Lane with her two paintings at the Artrium gallery exhibition.
Photo: TALIA CARLISLE
By TALIA CARLISLE
The Artrium Gallery in Tinakori Rd is giving
visitors a different take on Wellington.
The gallery's All's Welly and Good exhibition
opened last week with local artists displaying
their take on windy Wellington.
Artrium director Ami Brown said it was a
practical decision to focus on Wellington artists
as a lot of art on display was already local
Our goal is to exhibit and promote emerging
artists [and] there's so much talent here in
Wellington,'' she said.
I really enjoy working with local artists
more than out-of-town artists. I love the people
and the sense of community here is great.''
Pukerua Bay artist Angela Lane
said compiling local artwork was a
great idea and should be done more
Wellington is so funky and quirky.
We've got the city and the beach so
close together,'' she said. There needs
to be a community for artists in Wel-
The exhibition is her first public
exhibition after she finished second in
last year's Wellington emerging artists
Lane studied art at Wellington Girls'
College, but never took it seriously
until last year, when a friend saw her
work and encouraged her to display
You're your own worst critic. You
never think your artwork is good
When someone else likes it, it
encourages you to keep going.''
Lane has two paintings of sunsets
over mountain landscapes in the All's
Welly and Good exhibition.
She said inspiration for her work
could come from anywhere.
Some people go for runs, some
people play internet games. I paint.''
All's Welly and Good, Artrium Gallery,
Tinakori Rd, until February 28.
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