World of WearableArt Up Close exhibition opens at Te Papa

A new exhibition with the WOW factor has opened at Te Papa, offering an up close view of wearable art from around the world.

A new exhibition with the WOW factor has opened at Te Papa, offering an up close view of wearable art from around the world.

Exhibition photos for download here, captions and credits at end of this release.

World of WearableArt – Up Close (Ao KākahuToi – Kia Tata) is a brand-new exhibition featuring garments from World of WearableArt, the world’s leading wearable art competition, founded right here in New Zealand.

The blockbuster summer exhibition opens at Te Papa on Saturday 12 December 2020 and closes on Sunday 14 February 2021.

Local creators with garments in the exhibition joined WOW founder Dame Suzie Moncrieff for an opening party on Friday night to start the exhibition’s season off in flamboyant style.

WOW founder Dame Suzie Moncrieff said it was exciting to see the exhibition in Te Papa.

“The colour, the creativity, and the optimism of WOW is just what New Zealanders need right now,” Dame Suzie said.

Te Papa Chief Executive | Tumu Whakarae Courtney Johnston said the exhibition offers a unique experience for New Zealanders.

“It’s long been our ambition to work with WOW on an exhibition of this scale and this crazy year has given us the chance to do that.”

“This is a brand new exhibition, created by WOW especially for Te Papa,” Ms Johnston said.

In World of WearableArt – Up Close, visitors can get up close with 38 stunning garments in an immersive environment of light and colour.

The garments on display include avant-garde pieces woven from 500 abandoned music festival tents, and a wearable Axminster carpet inspired by Frida Kahlo.

Garments come from New Zealand designers, and from as far afield as China, Indonesia and Poland.

WOW is an internationally renowned wearable art competition that each year attracts entries from over 40 countries. Its 2020 competition and show were cancelled due to covid-19.

David Tingey, World of WearableArt Chief Executive says the WOW Awards Show, which was cancelled in 2020, will be back in 2021.

“This brand new exhibition lets people get experience the WOW phenomenon in a whole new way,” says David Tingey.

“We look forward to sharing some of the most incredible garments that have adorned our stage, in a completely different environment,” says Mr Tingey.

Alongside the exhibition, Te Papa will offer a series of special events, from a glittering opening gala on Friday December 11, to WOW evening events, floor talks, dinners, and high teas.

“We know that WOW is a social occasion for lots of Kiwis,” says Te Papa Chief Executive | Tumu Whakarae Courtney Johnston.

“These events are a chance to come together and celebrate the colour and creativity of the global WOW community,” Ms Johnston says.

Images for download

Download images here. Photo credit: Te Papa.

Visitors look at the garment 236 Maiden Lane by Lynn Christiansen of the USA.

Visitors look at the garment Human Nature by Saar Snoek of the Netherlands.

Visitors look at prize-winning garments.

Visitors take a selfie among prize-winning garments from New Zealand and the Netherlands.

Visitors pose inside the exhibition’s selfie space.

Visitors check out the detail of Woven In-tent by Kirsten Fletcher of Australia. The garment is made of more than 500 tents left behind at music festivals.

Ticket pricing

Adult $22.50, Child $7.50, Family (2 adults 2 children) $52.50, Concession $19.50.

Tickets for exhibition and special events on sale at

By the numbers

  • 38 award-winning works of wearable art

  • 8 countries of origin: Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, United States

  • 18 garments from New Zealand designers

  • 500 abandoned tents used to make Woven In-tent

  • 1987 The World of WearableArt was founded

  • 39 designers in the exhibition

  • 6 Supreme WOW Award-winning garments in the exhibition

  • Includes garments from 18 years of World of WearableArt

Media contact:

Kate Camp
Head of Marketing and Communications
Te Papa 029 601 0180