Art Galleries

The home of New Zealand’s visual arts is the Auckland Art Gallery, Toi O Tamaki. Founded in 1888, it is the country’s largest art institution, with a collection of more than 15,000 artworks, and includes the Creative Learning Centre where visitors can explore, experiment, create and share. When in Wellington, make sure you visit City Gallery Wellington, renowned for its world-class programme of national and international exhibitions. In the South Island, highlights include the purpose-built Christchurch Art Gallery, now reopen after quake repairs, and just around the corner there’s always something intriguing on at CoCA, the Centre of Contemporary Art. The Dunedin Public Art Gallery, first established in 1884 is still one of New Zealand’s most significant art museums.

You’ll find impressive art exhibitions in smaller centres too. The Aigantighe Art Gallery (pronounced ‘Egg & Tie’) in Timaru holds the South Island’s third-largest public art museum collection, while the Forrester Gallery in Oamaru is housed in a spectacular neo-classical building dating back to 1884. The Southland Museum & Art Gallery in Invercargill is also good. In New Plymouth, take time to visit the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and in Whanganui, the Sarjeant Gallery is a must-see. Other galleries to visit are Wellington’s The Dowse Art Museum in Lower Hutt and The Suter Art Gallery in Nelson.