Hospitality Business Magazine

Celebrity auctioneer and artist announced for Hawke’s Bay wine auction

Michael Boulgaris

Michael Boulgaris

Organisers of New Zealand’s oldest and most prestigious charity wine auction are thrilled to have secured the talents of both Michael Boulgaris as their 2015 auctioneer, and artist Martin Poppelwell as the creator of “Portland, 2015”, the signature auction artwork.

Boulgaris is a household name in luxury Auckland real estate, yet to the rest of New Zealand; he’s the smooth talking star from the groundbreaking TVNZ series, Location, Location, Location*.

“I feel privileged and am very much looking forward to contributing my time and expertise towards The Hawkes Bay Wine Auction for Cranford Hospice.” says Michael.  “My late mother was dearly looked after by the Auckland Hospice, and without their care and facilities I don’t know how our family would have coped. Angels run those facilities and the cause is very close to my heart”.

While Boulgaris does enjoy a fine wine, he says his palate changes with every decade. “I’ve experienced a couple of the local vineyards and was in fact introduced to my first Hawke’s Bay chardonnay at Elephant Hill 3 years ago.  Of course now I’m hooked,” he says.  “I’m fortunate to have a small modest cellar – and I must say those auction lots definitely look like a VIP selection”.  

One of the most eagerly awaited auction lots is of course the painting, which Napier-based Martin Poppelwell, one of New Zealand’s most in-demand artists, has produced this year.  The painting, ‘Portland’ (of which just a tiny section of the complete work has been released to the media), “Came from thinking about relationships” Martin explains. “The large, imposing, colourful “lump” is certainly the elephant in the room when it comes to talking about immanent death and how we as a community attempt to deal with it”.  

Martin’s studio is “plop on top of Bluff Hill” and he challenges himself to use form from his immediate environment. “From here, I often look to the edges of the bay, the top end being Portland Island and Mahia, while at the bottom end is Cape Kidnappers. 

Within these locations sits a community served largely by horticulture, agriculture, and most significantly, by culture & ideas. According to Martin, this artwork emerged from considering these aspects of simply being here.  “The title “Portland” came from the idea of requiring sanctuary or harbour when conditions may be rough, or simply as a means of passage” he says, a sentiment that also encapsulates the Cranford environment and mission.

“One would like to think that the artwork resonates with the fact of being present”. 

In addition to the painting, there are 40 further lots being donated to the event (which is now in its 24th year) including rare, one-off wines from some of the most prestigious wineries in New Zealand alongside collaborations between winemakers and artists and winemakers and restaurants. 

Details of all lots are now online at