Now Open: Winter 2023

Dan du Bern’s Sumer gallery marks a shift in thinking around representation, and Tom Worthington has opened a new cafe just down the street.

Now Open: Winter 2023

Dan du Bern’s Sumer gallery marks a shift in thinking around representation, and Tom Worthington has opened a new cafe just down the street.

Sumer Gallery, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland

“I wanted it to appear as if it was floating in the space,” says Dan du Bern, of Sumer, his new gallery on Beach Road in downtown Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. “I wanted it to be a brutal white cube independent of the brick walls.” 

Du Bern originally opened Sumer in Tauranga, deciding to move north to Tāmaki about three years ago. “But then Covid happened and that went out the window,” he says. “We trucked along and had a good programme, but we had growing pains from day dot.” He closed last year and set about looking for a new building. The one he chose is an 1890 granary. It has beautiful, if wonky, brick walls, and a sawtooth ceiling. At the back, there’s a storeroom with a mezzanine viewing room; the main gallery is obscured from the street by a wall which creates an excellent mini gallery in the window.

Du Bern commissioned Dutch artist Jan van der Ploeg, who he represents, to design the front of the building in signature purple: van der Ploeg conceived a Semaphore flag with a diagonal line across the entire façade. 

With the new gallery, du Bern has set out to create a platform for artists both established and upcoming, some of whom he represents formally and many of whom he doesn’t. “I really wanted it to be a space that would support the kind of work I thought should be made,” he says. His first show, Nova, was a group offering – “a bombastic sort of show”, he says. The second, from van der Ploeg, will feature one small painting in the front window and a larger one inside the cube – very spare.

When we visit, it’s a few weeks to opening. Du Bern has had the walls constructed and is about to paint it all himself. It’s dusty, but the beauty of the space is obvious. “I just did this myself,” he says. “But I did get the seal of approval from my architect brother.”


27 Beach Road, Auckland Central, Tāmaki Makaurau


Estelle, Ōtautahi Christchurch

It’s hard to have a proper conversation with Tom Worthington. As we sit down for a coffee in his recently opened cafe, Estelle, we’re constantly interrupted by guests coming in for a hug or a handshake of congratulations. Worthington opened his first eatery, Tom’s, last March, but it’s fast become a fixture in downtown Ōtautahi Christchurch, so people are excited about this new venture. But the way Worthington tells it, he never planned on opening a second offering so soon.

“At the beginning of the year, I wouldn’t have dreamt of this happening,” he says. “But when the landlords of this building asked me if I’d be keen to open a cafe, I just went for it.” Estelle (named after a beloved niece) sits in the brick-lined foyer of a Qb Studios co-working space. The building was originally a flour mill, and remnants of its industrial beginnings remain.

The all-day menu was devised with head chef Will Lyons-Bowman and centres around toast. There are sweet and savoury iterations, from the classic mince and cheese to the unexpected smoked fish and rhubarb. Worthington’s current pick is the thick slab of Grizzly Bakery milk loaf topped with whipped, vanilla-infused tahini and a pool of Bell Trees honey. Simple yet inventive food that celebrates local produce.

So was there any trepidation about opening so close to Tom’s – a fear of cutting one’s own lunch? “I like to think I’ve kept them very different,” he says. “Estelle is a nice place to come with your laptop and smash a piece of toast, but it’s also a bit more lush, so good for an occasion. Right now, people seem to be alternating between the two, but maybe they’ll settle on a favourite.”

Estelle 7am to 3pm, weekdays 

19 Southwark St, Ōtautahi Christchurch 


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