A SCOTS expat who emigrated to New Zealand in the 1950s has launched a bit of Scotland in his adoptive home.

Jock Anderson, 74, originally from Aberdeen, has opened Gallery 329 in Timaru, on the eastern Pacific coast of New Zealand’s South Island, after being inspired by a visit to Edinburgh’s Scottish Design Exchange (SDX). This is a social enterprise that supports local creative talent by giving them a shop window to sell their work.

“I was impressed by the huge range of high-quality designs, arts and crafts in the SDX and how it operated to return the full price of works to their creators,” said Mr Anderson, who had visited an SDX branch in 2019 while visiting the Royal Yacht Britannia at Ocean Terminal, in Leith, Edinburgh.

Gallery 329 was officially opened on 31 March by Nigel Bowen, the mayor of Timaru – a port city in the South Canterbury region of New Zealand.

“The public response has been very good,” Mr Anderson said. “Several hundred folk have been through the shop in its first few days of trading, work has been sold and money is quietly building up in the bank to pay artists.”

More than 20 artists have joined Gallery 329, including painters, potters, wood carvers, a fabric designer, quilter, jewellery maker and driftwood artist.

By paying in advance for an initial three months’ space, followed by a monthly rental, they are able to sell their work through an outlet with full-time sales staff, central administration, financial control and marketing. Like the SDX in Scotland, all of the revenue generated by sales of their works and products goes directly to them.

SDX chief executive Lynzi Leroy, who advised Anderson while he was planning the New Zealand version, said: “I’m delighted that Jock is now enjoying success with Gallery 329 and that he is giving local, independent artists and producers the same opportunities to sell their products to a wider public that are available to those in Scotland.”

SDX currently has two outlets, in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Since it was launched in 2015, the business has distributed £3.5m to 300 artists. Around 30% of revenues since lockdown have been from overseas, including Scottish expats and Caledonian societies in North America, Australia, and New Zealand.