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Artist helped by Women's Refuge gives back at Sculpture on the Shore

A first time exhibitor at Auckland's Sculpture on the Shore has told how she was helped by New Zealand Women's Refuge, the charity the exhibition assists.

It all began with a few women wanting to help Women's Refuge and 20 years on the art exhibition has grown to be much more. Source: Seven Sharp

Dozens of art works are on display in the outdoor exhibition at the Fort Takapuna Historic Reserve where thousands of visitors are expected.

Nia-Val Ngaro told Seven Sharp that when she was in her early twenties and in a "not so good relationship" she needed help from a women's refuge.

"To me at that time, I just wanted someone who wouldn't judge," she said.

Thanks to that help, Ms Ngara is back on track, a successful artist, Seven Sharp reported.

Her sculpture in the exhibition depicts a mother's heartbreak as young Cook Islands soldiers head off to war.

"Mothers who were weeping as their sons set off on the ocean to this World War One war. And just like that's the very same sea," she said, referring to the nearby sea on the Takapuna coast.

Sculpture on the Shore began with a few women wanting to help a charity close to their hearts and was staged in the garden of one of them.

But 20 years on it has grown to one of the biggest outdoor art events in New Zealand.

The exhibition opens on Thursday and runs until November 20.