• 1927

    Local builder James Jamieson bequeaths a collection of artworks to the city.

  • 1932

    The Robert McDougall Art Gallery opens, funded by a gift of £25,000 by Mr Robert E. McDougall. The new gallery’s collection is predominantly works from the Canterbury Society of Arts and the Jamieson bequest. The exhibition focus is on the display of this collection, which expands slowly through gifts, bequests and purchases.

  • 1949

    Christchurch City Council establishes a collecting fund. William S. Baverstock is appointed as honorary curator and introduces a diverse programme of temporary exhibitions. International exhibitions become an important element in the Gallery’s programme in the 1950s.

  • 1960 to 1969

    William Baverstock (1893-1975) serves as the Gallery's first paid director.

  • 1969 to 1979

    Brian Muir (1943-1989) serves as director and establishes a commitment to exhibiting New Zealand artists and developing national touring shows.

  • 1979 to 1981

    Rodney Wilson (1945-2013) serves as director.

  • 1980

    The Gallery builds additional storage space and a small extension to alleviate growing pressure on space.

  • 1981 to 1995

    John Coley serves as director.

  • 1988

    The Contemporary Art Annex is established in the old Canterbury College library, now the Arts Centre. The Annex is used to present work by emerging contemporary artists, particularly those in Canterbury.

  • 1995 to 2006

    Tony Preston serves as director.

  • 1995

    Christchurch City Council commits $5 million to acquiring a site for a new gallery.

  • 1996

    The vacant Sheraton Hotel site is purchased.

  • 1998

    Launch of architectural competition to design the new gallery. The Buchan Group’s design is selected.

  • 2000

    The Contemporary Art Annex closes.

  • 16 June 2002

    The Robert McDougall Art Gallery closes.

  • 10 May 2003

    Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū opens.

  • 2006 to 2018

    Jenny Harper serves as director.

  • July 2008

    The Gallery welcomes its 2 millionth visitor.

  • May 2009

    Collections exhibition Brought to Light opens in refurbished gallery spaces.

  • 4 September 2010

    A magnitude 7.1 earthquake causes damage to buildings in Christchurch, including the Gallery. Christchurch Art Gallery becomes Civil Defence headquarters for 10 days.

  • 2 October 2010 –23

    The Ron Mueck exhibition welcomes 135,140 visitors, the biggest show in Gallery history.

  • 22 February 2011

    A magnitude 6.3 earthquake devastates central Christchurch, killing 185 people.

  • 22 February 2011

    Gallery closes following the earthquake and again becomes the Emergency Operating Centre and hub for the earthquake recovery, housing hundreds of workers from Christchurch City Council and CERA until the end of August 2011.

  • 13 June 2011

    A magnitude 6.3 earthquake causes further damage.

  • 2013-2015

    Earthquake repairs are carried out to the Gallery including re-levelling, retrofitting base isolators, installing a secondary electrical system, repairing the glass façade, mechanical and electrical systems and refurbishing the interior of the Gallery.

  • 19 December 2015

    The Gallery reopens to the public.

  • April 2018

    Blair Jackson becomes director.

  • 21 March 2020

    Gallery closes for COVID lockdown. Re-opens on 15 May 2020