Extinction is Forever

Marilyn Rea-Menzies

5 Feb– 21 March 2021, Toi Gallery

A mixed media exhibition focused on New Zealand’s endangered birds.

Extinction is Forever is a touring exhibition from one of New Zealand's foremost tapestry artists, Marilyn Rea-Menzies. The exhibition initially opened at the Wallace Gallery in Morrinsville in 2018 and was shown at the Arts in Oxford Gallery in 2020.

Her large tapestry works are impressive both for their level of detail and their beautiful rendering of some of our rarest native birds. Rea-Menzies uses a cloak form as the structure for these works, to convey the concept of protection and mana to these taonga species.

Rea-Menzies’s love of our native New Zealand species stems from her childhood, having grown up on the West Coast near the native bush line. Extinction is Forever draws attention to current ecological concerns and the conservation of our endangered native species. About 50 native New Zealand birds have become extinct since human habitation. Marilyn's exhibition, which includes paintings and charcoal drawings, is a timely reminder of conservation work still left to do.


Marilyn Rea-Menzies is an artist whose professional skills stretch across tapestry, painting, drawing and digital print. Her specialist area is in fibre art and the creation of spectacular wall hangings.

From the mid-1980s to late 2000s, Rea-Menzies worked in Ōtautahi Christchurch as a professional tapestry artist, moving to the Waikato after the February 2011 earthquake to be closer to family. Exhibiting in Ōtautahi Christchurch for almost thirty years, she maintained a highly visible presence.

In 2000, Rea-Menzies was commissioned to weave a tapestry for the millennial celebrations. This work was exhibited in the Christchurch Town Hall until 2011 and is now in the foyer of the Christchurch City Council offices.

Lady Susan Satyanand commissioned Marilyn Rea-Menzies in 2011, to create a tapestry screen for the drawing room of Government House, which was gifted to the Government at the end of her husband's tenure as Governor General of New Zealand. Many of her works are now in collections throughout New Zealand and overseas.

Marilyn recently returned to live in Westport where she was born.

Website: https://www.tapestry.co.nz/