Dean and Deb started making and selling artworks full time over 22 years ago. Originally based at The Arts Centre Market, they also enjoyed travelling New Zealand attending shows and fairs for a number of years. This evolved into a wholesale business where Deb's hand-painted works adorned many stores the length of the country, including some large and well known department stores.
During this period they had moved to Little River on the Banks Peninsula. Lava Gallery was then born in a shed on their property, but found a permanent home in Akaroa after a trip one evening for fish and chips. A vacant shop next door showing a for lease sign set off a chain of events that saw Lava Gallery Akaroa open on Christmas Eve 2008.
Since then the humble little shop in Akaroa has hosted many visitors from all around the globe. The overwhelming feedback acknowledges the talent of our suppliers and the creativity of New Zealanders. It is often said that the shop 'makes them smile' , and that remains our focus..
Over the years there have been changes. We have lived through Earthquakes, very quiet Winters, Cruise Boats coming and leaving again and a couple of Pandemic lockdowns. We have enjoyed the chance to showcase Lava in Christchurch at various Pop Up locations which also gives us a chance to exercise our love of creating an inviting retail space.
Children who were primary school aged are now working in the shop, and many more grey hairs have joined the crew. Lava is very much a family business - most of our staff are family and the ones who aren't have very much become so.
The things that have remained constant are Deb's Art that continues to find an appreciative audience and a place in many peoples homes, and the view from the Akaroa store that never gets old. We continue to derive pleasure from creating an inviting space to welcome customers, and providing a platform for our creators and makers to shine.