Spectacular new art space for Te Papa

18 November 2016

Te Papa will open a spectacular new art gallery space in the museum in late 2017, Chief Executive Rick Ellis announced today.

Over the coming years, Te Papa will transform its permanent exhibits, many of which have been in the museum since it opened in 1998. Te Papa will remain open throughout the changes.

The art gallery, which currently occupies levels five and six of Te Papa, will be the first area to change. The current Ngā Toi | Arts Te Papa gallery will close on Sunday 26 February 2017, with the new art space opening in late 2017. Entry will be free.

The space for art at Te Papa will grow 35% from 2,430 m2 to 3,290m2 over levels four and five, including a spectacular new double-height gallery with an entrance opposite Te Papa’s upstairs café.

The new space with its eight-metre-high walls will enable Te Papa to show large sculptural works, and offer immersive art experiences on a scale never seen before at the museum.

Te Papa expects to invest $6 million in creating the new art experience.

“This transformation of Te Papa is a once-in-a-generation opportunity, making Te Papa a must-see-again destination for every New Zealander,” says Rick Ellis.

“The new art space will enable us to show more of the national art collection, and create world-class art experiences for our visitors.”

Te Papa’s Head of Art Charlotte Davy says the new art offering at Te Papa would offer more space, and 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.”

“We are creating new opportunities for New Zealand artists, as we commission new works to feature in this stunning new gallery.”

The gallery would include a dedicated area for works by iconic New Zealand artists.

“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.”

Architects Warren and Mahoney are designing the new art space.

“Warren and Mahoney is proud to work with Te Papa to create a new art gallery space. We commend Te Papa’s vision to provide a world class exhibition space which will enable the commissioning of contemporary artworks alongside the existing national collection,” says Katherine Skipper, Principal, Warren and Mahoney.

Changes to the Te Papa building will begin in February 2017.

From Tuesday January 26th, two areas on level four will be closed to allow for construction work: the 20th century history gallery Slice of Heaven, and one of Te Papa’s four children’s play areas, Inspiration Station (it includes a play shop). The other children’s play areas will remain open.


Media contact

Kate Camp, Communications Manager
029 601 0180