Painting of old home a 'marvellous' gift

00:58, Aug 25 2014
Nelson Market
BEST PRESENT: Takaka’s Don Newport with a painting of his old childhood home, painted by David McCulloch and gifted to him by Barbara Spooner.

A gift of a painting of his childhood home has thrilled Don Newport.

Newport, who lives in Takaka, was featured in the Nelson Mail on July 26 in a series examining some of the region's most well-known abandoned old houses.

His family home in Uruwhenua, about 10 kilometres from Takaka, has been abandoned for years and has become an iconic spot along the Takaka Valley Highway, attracting plenty of photographers and painters.

Bruce and Helen James, the in-laws of Newport's son, Andrew, had visited Antonius European Bakery in Motueka and seen the painting by landscape artist David McCulloch.

They mentioned it to Takaka woman Barbara Spooner, an old family friend of Newport's, who has known him for 25 years.

Spooner went to check it out - and bought the $580 painting as a gift.


"He's a really awesome family friend of my mother and me," Spooner said. "He's an amazing family man who's very good at being a handyman; drain-cleaning, water-blasting, chimney cleaning."

McCulloch said he painted the house about a year ago after driving past it often. One day, he took a couple of photos of the place on a cloudy day and thought it would make a good painting.

He had taken up the hobby after falling ill and being advised to "take it quiet for a while".

It was the first painting he had sold.

"I was really rapt for it to go [to Newport]," he said. "It's brilliant."

Newport said the painting and Spooner's gift were "marvellous".

"I'm over the moon about it. I'm quite overwhelmed with it really."

The Nelson Mail