Te Papa announces new art gallery space for 2017

The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa has announced it will open a stunning new art gallery space in 2017.

The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa has announced it will open a stunning new art gallery space in 2017.

Te Papa, located on Wellington’s waterfront, offers a bicultural experience across five areas: art, history, Pacific, Māori and the natural environment.  Catering to young and old, it is a special place that delivers an unforgettable experience for New Zealanders and international visitors alike.

The national museum is embarking on a long-term project to transform its permanent exhibits, many of which have been in place since the museum opened in 1998. 

The art gallery has been selected as the first area to be changed. The current Ngā Toi Arts Te Papa gallery, occupying levels five and six, will close on 26 February and the new art space will open later in the year on levels four and five. 

Space for art at Te Papa will be increased by more than a third, from 2,430 square metres to 3,290 square metres, and will include a spectacular new double-height gallery. 

Eight-metre-high walls in the new space will enable Te Papa to show large sculptural works and offer immersive art experiences on a scale not seen before at the museum.

Te Papa expects to invest $6 million in creating the new art experience, and chief executive Rick Ellis describes the transformation as a once-in-a-generation opportunity. “The new art space will enable us to show more of the national art collection and create world-class art experiences for our visitors,” he says.

The museum’s head of art, Charlotte Davy, says as well as providing more space, the new art offering at Te Papa will offer the opportunity to create a very different art experience. “As the holders of the national art collection, Te Papa is uniquely placed to share the art of Aotearoa,” says Ms Davy. “In this expanded space there will be more room for exciting and challenging new works, as well as beloved classics.

“When people come to Te Papa, they will know they can see works on display by artists like Charles Goldie, Rita Angus, Colin McCahon and Ralph Hotere.”

Changes to the museum will begin in February 2017. Throughout the transformation process, Te Papa will remain open to visitors.