Kate Mackenzie

Kate MacKenzie is a surrealist painter and wearable arts designer.  Following selection in 2018, Mackenzie is once again a finalist in the prestigious New Zealand Adam Portraiture Awards in 2020 with her portrait of Dame Suzie Moncrieff, creator of World of Wearable Arts. MacKenzie has also been selected for Hawkes Bay Review and EAST Art Awards, and was the Supreme Winner of the International World of Wearable Arts Competition in 2014, for her multi-cultural inspired garment “Poly Nation”, made entirely of suitcases. She has been awarded runner up and third place in her section in subsequent years including a sustainability award.  Kates Wearable art has been selected for a exhibition at Te Papa Museum Wellington beginning on 12th December 2020.

Kate Mackenzie | Hawke's Bay Artist

MacKenzie has a strong interest in the environment and other political issues that have impacted life for New Zealanders particularly, and humanity more broadly. Both her portraits and her landscapes have elements of a montage, bringing together emblems of her thoughts and concerns for the world, including changing paradigms in societal beliefs and mindsets. Her work often illustrates the journey towards environmental awareness with subtle reference to changing technology.

Kates recent series of fragmented portraits are a natural progression from her experimentation with 3D portraiture using rope or cable-ties. Due to the unavailability of recycled cable-ties this series has morphed into heavily textured portraits that are a thick application of oil paint using both brush and palette knife.    They represent and connect to a deeper personal level of MacKenzies life, but also reflect the lives of many around the world with the current events.  They illustrate a break in routine and thought processes…in order to reset and reconfigure, to adjust to a new way of thinking and “Human Adaptation” . MacKenzie will be entering the NZ Adam Portraiture Awards once again for 2022 with a personal piece of her father who recently passed away. The thick paint tempts the viewer to explore the lines of his face that represent his story and his footprints left on this earth. It talks about isolation through lockdowns and the toll it took on relationships. 

Kates  previous exhibition "Mayday for Cicadas” talked about our distractions from our natural surroundings. Kate has used her childhood memories as inspiration for this series. The sound of cicadas is where she finds solace amongst the ever-increasing world of technology and distraction. When Covid 19 entered NZ Kate’s work became more relevant. The need to physically connect with our beautiful beaches and forests during lockdown exposed our reality of being denied this right…or was it our right?   Human fallibility became a beckon as we watched unrest and division from around the world. MacKenzie felt a sense of pride as the majority of New Zealanders sacrificed their own needs for the good of others. Her last two artworks produced for this exhibition focus on “The Human Glitch” and she is keen to explore this subject further.  

Multiculturalism has been a recurring motif in Mackenzie’s work. There is an integration of Maori and Pakeha symbols that she enmeshes together in the narrative of her paintings that represents her own belief in equality, respect and hope for the emergence of lasting tolerance between cultures.


2020 -  Selection for Wearable Art Te Papa Museum Wellington from 12th Dec  
2020  -  Finalist NZ Adam Portaiture Awards
2020  -  Solo Exhibition coming up from 29th May - The Art Lounge NZ Tauranga "May day For Cicada's"
2019  -  EcoNology - solo exhibition Muse Gallery Havelock North
2018  -  Solo Exhibition Sydney M2 Gallery "Paradigm Road
2018  -  Finalist: NZ Adam Art Portraiture Awards – NZ Portraiture Gallery, Wellington
2018  -  NZ Adam Art Portraiture Awards, selection for NZ Tour
2018  -  2nd Place Avant Garde World of Wearable Art
2018  -  Runner Up Sustainability Award World of Wearable Art
2018  -  Succumb-ference Solo Exhibition Muse Gallery Havelock North
2017  -  Exhibit Mt Albert Grammar School, Auckland
2017  -  Exhibit NZ Art Show, TSB Arena, Wellington
2016  -  Solo Exhibition – Soul Gallery, Hamilton
2016  -  Exhibit – NZ Art Show, Wellington
2016  -  Solo Exhibition, Havelock North
2016  -  Finalist: World of Wearable Art Wellington
2015  -  Public Commission – Hawkes Bay Opera House
2015  -  Finalist: World of Wearable Art Wellington
2015  -  Exhibit NZ Art Show, TSB Arena, Wellington
2014  -  Supreme Winner, International World Of Wearable Art Competition, Wellington
2014  -  1st place Aotearoa section World of Wearable art
2014  -  Exhibit NZ Art Show, TSB Arena, Wellington
2013  -  3rd Place Open Section – World Of Wearable Art, Wellington
2010  -  Finalist: East Exhibition – Hastings City Art Gallery
2010  -  Finalist: Matariki Art Competition, Auckland
2009  -  Solo Exhibition – Parnell Gallery, Auckland
2007  -  Solo Exhibition – Wine Country Gallery Havelock North
2006  -  Finalist Hawkes Bay Review – Hastings City Art Gallery
2004  -  Public Commission – Bruce Mason Centre, Takapuna, Auckland
2004  -  Solo Exhibition - Rothesay Bay Auckland
2003  -  Selected as Feature Artist for Hawkes Bay Vintners Charity Wine Auction
2003  -  Solo Exhibition  - Hastings Community Art Centre
2001  -  Finalist NZ Telecom Art Awards (2 works)
2000  -  Finalist NZ Telecom Art Awards (1 work)