About Us

Director's Welcome

We’re taking our long-awaited reopening as an opportunity to reunite you with the art we collect and care for on Christchurch’s behalf. It’s a time for reunions with this remarkable treasury and also new introductions, as we showcase a selection of works acquired while we’ve been closed. Surprising, compelling, restorative and rewarding, it’s a reminder of all we’ve been missing and a promise of what’s to come. Thank you for sharing it with us. 

I’m not the only one of us who thinks of the works in Christchurch’s public art collection as close friends, even family, so it’s been incredibly hard to have them unable to be seen for such an extended period.

Over the past almost five years, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū has operated as an emergency headquarters for Civil Defence, provided temporary accommodation for Christchurch City Council staff and undergone an intensive programme of ground remediation and building repairs. Following our retrofit with base-isolation, it’s now one of the safest and most resilient art museums in the world. Throughout this time, our collections have been securely stored on site, frustratingly absent from public view, except through our website and a few reproductions pasted up on walls around the city.

Now, as we reopen our doors, we are surer than ever of our Gallery’s crucial public role. Our collection is this city’s treasury of art, a pātaka of our history, a rich armoury of images, memories and ideas. It’s part of us, and it gets more interesting over time, as works of art connect with us and each other, combining with our histories to enrich us all. I’m incredibly proud of what this Gallery has achieved over our ‘earthquake years’—but even more excited about our future. With the reopening exhibitions, we’re returning to Christchurch the collections we’ve all have been separated from, filling our spaces with these for the first time in this building’s history.

Notes by Blair Jackson

Director Jenny Harper on stage at the Museums Aotearoa conference

Director Jenny Harper on stage at the Museums Aotearoa conference

Collaboration in practice

19 April 2012, Blair Jackson

As the news of the proposed collaborative approach to the rebuild of Christchurch city was announced Jenny and I were in Wellington at the Museums Aotearoa annual conference. The theme of this year's conference is Collaborations in Practice.

Gallery update

10 June 2011, Blair Jackson

This is something of a good news / bad news message. Unfortunately it has now become abundantly clear that our much-hoped for reopening in July is not going to happen. Rest assured, the Gallery building is still sound, and will reopen.