Ever heard Elvis Presley's Hound Dog played on 14 ukuleles? No? Neither had the Northern Advocate before visiting the 22nd annual Summer Do at Whangarei Quarry Arts Centre.
The summer art workshops bring together professional tutors in a variety of art forms and offer keen artists the chance to learn and spend a week engrossed in their work.
Yesterday the Quarry was open to the public, who were able to wander around and talk to the participants and tutors and buy some of the students' art. The Do began last Saturday and finishes today.
New to the event this year was a ukulele workshop led by professional player Chuck Upu from Australia. He has many strings to his ukulele, including recording artist, Pacific performing arts lecturer and music producer.
When the Advocate arrived, 13 students were strumming their way through Hound Dog with Mr Upu singing and playing his double-necked ukulele.
Former Northern Maori MP Bruce Gregory, of Kaitaia, had travelled to Whangarei to take part in the workshop in an attempt to revive some of his childhood memories.
"Everyone tutued around with ukuleles when I was young. They were a small instrument you could carry around with you," he said.
"People would have them at high school, and during lunchtimes they'd be strumming away."
Mr Gregory was thoroughly enjoying his week and full of praise for his tutor.
"He's great - we've learned all the chords and how to put them together in songs, and this evening we're doing a bit of a concert for everyone."
Quarry Arts Centre manager Claire Nicholls said 72 people from across the country were enrolled in the workshops, three fewer than last year.
"It's good the numbers are still high, we've got a real bunch of regulars who come every year. They save up for it and plan for it, so the tough economic times haven't affected us much," she said.
New courses this year were ukulele, acrylic resist etching and printmaking, darjit garden sculpture, mixed media painting and concrete carving, alongside the usual courses in oil painting, earth building and stone sculpture.
As many of the students and tutors were camping on-site at the Quarry, there were also informal evening barbecues and talks from the tutors. Wednesday night was wood-fired pizza night, with food cooked in one of the ovens courtesy of the stone sculptors.
"It's a really good vibe - everyone's here for the same reason," Ms Nicholls said.
"I almost wish it was like this every week."