Art Galleries in New Zealand - back

For its size, New Zealand has a great variety and scope of public art galleries - those in the main cities and, in addition, some notable ones in smaller towns.

There are many people aspiring to be artists; some very successfully. Consequently, there are also a large number of dealer galleries or artist's studios where you can see the work of individuals. Several regions, Nelson and Otago in particular, produce books or pamphlets as guides to where you can find individual artists and their work.

An increasing number of dealer galleries and artist's studios have a web presence. Many are stimulating places to visit. DayOut gives you the opportunity to find out what is being displayed in these galleries and shows you how to find them. We also tell you where you can find public art works outdoors.

Of the collections in public galleries, that in Auckland is the most notable though Te Papa in Wellington nominally houses the national collection. Criticism of how it did that recently led to a redesign so that it could display more work in a more conventional way. Dunedin has placed art at its centre with its worthwhile collection now centrally housed in a modern galley in the Octagon. In addition, in Dunedin the Hocken Library Gallery features work from the scholarly collection.

The Wellington City Gallery does not have a permanent collection but is usually a stimulating place to visit. Like other city galleries it hosts both international and national touring shows. Other galleries in the Capital City are the National Portrait Gallery and the National Library Gallery. The latter draws on that institution's collection.

Christchurch's new gallery housing the art previously in the Robert McDougall Gallery, is the product of a architectural design competition.

In the central North Island a number of the galleries have a historical focus. Those in Rotorua, Hamilton and Taupo have chosen to label themselves museums of art and history.

The Porirua Museum of Arts and Culture often features shows reflecting the Pacific Island and Maori culture of its region's residents while in Lower Hutt at the Dowse Gallery there is a fine craft collection.

Wanganui's Gallery, The Serjeant, has a good reputation. Its near neigbour, the Govett Brewster in New Plymouth is the home of the Len Lye Foundation.

In Timaru the Aigantighe Gallery is housed in an historic house surrounded by sculpture garden. while in Oamaru the Forrester Gallery is housed in a classical bank and named after the architect who designed many of the towns 'white stone' buildings.

Nelson's long established Bishop Suter Gallery is now complemented by a new gallery with its exhibitions drawn from the annual Wearable Arts Event.

Use the search on the home page to find the galleries near you and what they are showing.

Look out for these Regional guides

  • Nelson Regional Guide Book - Art In Its Own Place
  • Otago Arts Guide - Art Roads of Otago