Derek Henderson’s rural roots photo exhibition

Written by Harriet Keown

Photographed by Derek Henderson

Head Hawke’s Bay way for photographer Derek Henderson’s latest exhibition, Milk Run. A captivating reminder to take notice of life’s little details.

How many times have you driven the same way to work, run the same loop or wandered to the same café — looking, but never actually seeing? In his latest exhibition, Milk Run, photographer Derek Henderson revisits the streets he walked as a milk boy in Hastings during the 1970s, exploring how it encouraged him to pay attention to the small changes that kept his environment in a constant, gradual state of flux. 

Known for his chameleonic approach to photography, Henderson has dipped in and out of a range of genres throughout his career, from fashion to architecture, portrait and landscape. Milk Run marks somewhat of a return to what drew him towards photography, noting that the mornings spent pushing his milk trolley through the streets sparked a passion and perception for aesthetics. 

For anyone who grew up in small-town New Zealand, Milk Run will take you back to memories of empty streets, white-picket fences and neighbourhood nosiness. Henderson’s focus in the series is on people’s homes, and the modest changes which make them their own: “Little things like a new plant here or there, an ornament on the front lawn, the carport painted, a new letterbox or fresh curtains.” The exhibition takes on a whole new meaning post-Covid-19, with our sense of home having been pushed into a deeper level of connection throughout lockdown. 

Before even mentioning wineries and architecture, the exhibition is the perfect drawcard for a wintery weekend in Hawke’s Bay. And, with any international travel plans staying grounded, for the time being, there’s no better time to explore a different corner of New Zealand, taking notice of all its little quirks as you go. 

Milk Run is showing at Napier’s SPA_CE Gallery from 3 July – 1 August, and at the Hastings City Art Gallery from 4 July – 11 October.



derek henderson photo exhibition
derek henderson photo exhibition

“I think it was the beginning of me observing things. I was making a conscious decision to actually look at things and try to understand what was going on. I’m pretty sure it played a large part in me becoming a photographer.” — Derek Henderson.

derek henderson photo exhibition

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