Topic: Arts

Te Papa to open new $8mil gallery

By Jessica Tyson
  • Wellington
Tūrangawaewae exhibition at Toi Art. Source: Michael O’Neill

A new gallery worth $8.4mil is to be opened by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern next week at Te Papa, showcasing work from leading Māori artists including Michael Parekowhai, Robyn Kahukiwa and Ralph Hotere.

Works from the national collection will also be on show, including paintings by Charles Frederick Goldie, Gottfried Lindauer, Rita Angus, Colin McCahon and Gordon Walters.

The new gallery spans two levels of the museum and is part of a major renewal of all Te Papa’s exhibition spaces.

“Toi Art is all about the fact that art is for everyone, and I believe every New Zealander will find something here that speaks to them, something to amaze and challenge them,” says the prime minister.

The gallery also opens with two major retrospective shows, Pacific Sisters: Fashion Activists and Lisa Walker: I want to go to my bedroom but I can’t be bothered, and two exhibitions showcasing the national art collection, alongside nine new artworks and installations.

Pacific Sisters - Niwhai Tupaea, Central Church, Beresford Square, Auckland, 1993. Photo source: Vivienne Haldane 

It also offers hands-on art activities for children and interactive experiences like a virtual reality visit to an artist’s studio.

Te Papa Head of Art, Charlotte Davy says, “There’ll be performance, dance, fashion, film, music, large-scale and new immersive works on show, which is now made possible by the size of the new gallery spaces.”

The gallery is free to enter and opens to the public at 10am on Saturday 17 March.

Tūrangawaewae - Janet Lilo and curator Nina Tonga. Photo source: Kate Whitley Te Papa. 

Interesting facts:

  • Builders have worked for 16,000 hours to build the new gallery.
  • 38,000 nails, 142,290 screws, 30 tonnes of steel and 20 km of timber was used to build Toi Art.
  • Around 1.5 million people visit Te Papa per year.
  • Toi Art takes up 3,980m2 in floor area
  • The new gallery is an NZD$8.4 million investment in art at Te Papa, which includes a grant from the Lottery Environment and Heritage Fund.