Wellington Scoop

Te Papa boss says visitors will be “wowed” by museum’s new art displays

Press Release – Te Papa
Visitors to Te Papa can expect to be wowed by the new approach to art, according to Chief Executive Michael Houlihan.

Te Papa has re-opened Level 5 galleries, now called Ngā Toi I Arts Te Papa, with an exhibition of work from its collection including old favourites, works never displayed before, new acquisitions and pieces by international artists.

“This heralds a new direction for art at Te Papa. Level 5 has been significantly reconfigured and revitalised. There’s more wall space with longer views of the galleries and natural light.

“It’s a sign of things to come. Over the next few years we are committed to dedicating at least eight thousand square metres to art. That’s about four times more space than we currently have.

“Te Papa has the broadest art collection in New Zealand from paintings, photography, taonga Māori, and Pacific art through to contemporary art, industrial design, furniture, fashion, textiles and more.

“We will be showing and sharing more of our collection, with segments of this dynamic gallery space changing every six months, said Michael Houlihan.”

“We want to bring the best of New Zealand and international art to Te Papa. Over the winter we will be exhibiting Warhol:Immortal, and Aztecs as part of our Great Civilisations series.

“Our aim is to reach a broader cross section of people and to provide a range of ways for them to enjoy art. We have developed a new website which goes live on Friday 29 March. Works are reproduced in rich detail with layers of written and audio-visual information, and there is an online magazine full of expert essays, interviews, and art commentary.

“This all-new site takes art beyond the walls of Te Papa to reach our art-loving audiences wherever they may be – at home, at school, or on their mobile devices. You can see what’s on offer at Ngā Toi I Arts Te Papa and you can get excellent content. It’s a beautifully designed site that’s easy to navigate. It has great potential to grow into an important New Zealand art resource, said Michael Houlihan.”

Te Papa Press has also published a New Zealand Art Activity Book for young school age children.

Written and developed by Helen Lloyd, Senior Education Programmer at Te Papa, in consultation with Senior Art Curator Sarah Farrar, it contains more than 100 creative activities, many based on artworks in the museum’s collections and on display in Ngā Toi I Arts Te Papa.

One page features Gordon Walters’ Karakia and invites children to experiment with ways of drawing koru spiral shapes. Selected activities from the book will be available for use in the Ngā Toi I Arts Te Papa art studio, a space for visitors of all ages to be creative.

Over Easter weekend, Te Papa will celebrate with an exciting range of curator and artist floor talks and family art activities in the Level 5 galleries. tepapa.govt.nz/events

Ngā Toi I Arts Te Papa
Opens Friday 29 November 2013
Level 5. Free Entry

The New Zealand Art Activity Book: 100+ Ideas for Creative Kids by Helen Lloyd
is published by Te Papa Press. March 2013 | RRP: $29.99 |184 pages | ISBN: 978-0-9876688-0-6 can be purchased at all good booksellers and the Te Papa Store and Te Papa Kids’ Store, www.tepapastore.co.nz

For the new arts website go to www.arts.tepapa.govt.nz

Overview of the exhibitions now showing at Ngā Toi I Arts Te Papa

Black Rainbow: Ralph Hotere and Michael Parekowhai
This module features the work of two leading artists from two generations – five black paintings by the late Ralph Hotere and Michael Parekowhai’s red piano. In the early 1960s Ralph Hotere became the first Māori artist to be embraced by New Zealand’s art mainstream. In 2011, Michael Parekowhai represented New Zealand at the Venice Biennale with this piano as his central work. The piano will be played twice a week by professional musicians.

Artist in focus: Gordon Walters
The work of New Zealand artist Gordon Walters is the first in a series of Artist in Focus exhibitions at Ngā Toi I Arts Te Papa. His work is culturally significant to New Zealand through the combination of modernism and designs from traditional Māori art.

Gifted: Aborginal Art 1971 – 2011
Significant pieces of Australian Aboriginal art, gifted to New Zealand by the Australian government via the Aboriginal Arts Board in 1976, will be on display alongside some recent acquisitions of contemporary Aboriginal Australian art.
A special feature of the exhibition is a selection of Papanya Tula paintings from the Western Desert. Many of the artists who made these works were founding members of the Papanya Tula artists collective.

New contemporary art commission by Andrew McLeod
Te Papa has invited Auckland-based artist Andrew McLeod to develop a new work for the Arts Studio lounge. A series of over twenty large posters explore, remix and re-interpret historical works from Te Papa’s art collection.

Māori and Pacific Encounters
This module includes historical portraits which link us strongly to the past. European explorers took numerous portraits of indigenous people home with them. In colonial New Zealand, such depictions were similarly popular among European settlers. Māori also commissioned their own portraits and experimented with European ideas of their own art.

Framing the View
European artists and photographers who came to New Zealand in the 1880s were captivated by our scenery. To perfect their art, these pioneers braved the elements, producing depictions that ranged from untouched worlds to romantic wonderlands and pictures of domestication.

Emblems of Identity
A group of artists emerged in the 1930s. They were of European descent but unlike their forebears wanted to reflect their ‘New Zealandness’ in their art. This module shows how these artists explored their local surroundings.

Being Modern
From the 1930s fresh ideas began shaking up the local arts scene with sweeping effect. European immigrants having fled their home countries because of World War II brought many of the new ideas. They were architects, designers, photographers, painters and potters.

Modern Māori Art
This room features the work of the first generation of contemporary Māori artists. After World War II they sought to reflect the increasingly urban world in which Māori now lived. Their work embraced the present and combined international modernist approaches with Māori styles and concepts.

Art and Change
This space reflects industry encroaching on the landscape and foreign impacting on local cultures. It includes works from Don Binney’s soaring frigate bird of 1968, to Ralph Hotere and Bill Culbert’s pathway of protest to a necklace of discarded soy-sauce bottles and beyond.

International works
This depicts central and lesser-known figures in modern art and traces the ways in which New Zealand artists working overseas explored the latest ideas. Most works here date from the early to mid 20th century.

Works on Paper
This is a selection of works from Te Papa’s international photography collection. The photographers are either looking at other people looking, or taking photographs that highlight the nature of looking.

Overview of the first issue of the new online magazine Off the Wall on arts.tepapa.govt.nz
1. Megan Dunn interviews Andrew McLeod
2. Difficult signs our speciality
Courtney Johnson on the prophetic visions of Colin McCahon and Rita Angus
3. Pig islanders painting like Picasso
Linda Tyler talks Orwellian haircuts, boogie-woogie rhythms, and waltzing koru in her introduction to modernism in New Zealand.
4. The class of ’66
Jonathan Mane-Wheoki on Te Ao Hou | Modern Maori Art
5. 100% Pure
Ian Wedde on Home, Land and Sea
6. After Cubism, before Pop
A whistle-stop tour of Te Papa’s twentieth-century international holdings with Mark Stocker
7. Rainbow Warriors
David Eggleton on Black Rainbow: Ralph Hotere & Michael Parekowhai
8. Working with Goldie
Roger Blackley on Kanohi kitea | Māori & Pacific Encounters
9. Taking root in New Zealand
Rebecca Rice on Framing the View
10. Colour Swatches
Francis Pound on Gordon Walters



  1. OverTheNet, 28. March 2013, 15:15

    Went to see the new art display that opened last night at Te Papa. Whoops! They are closed today. Nice idea

  2. Aster, 2. April 2013, 17:02

    Were you at the right museum? Easy after a good opening to be a bit confused the next day…