Emergency HQ

Behind the scenes

I'm keen to let you all know how Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū fared after the major earthquake here. It was a wild ride on Saturday, for sure, and it will take some time for parts of Christchurch to clean up. However, our Gallery has emerged unscathed as a building. In fact, we're so safe that we're being used as civil defence HQ at present.


All collections, including our library, seem to be fine - but detailed checks continue today. As we go through rack-by-rack and look into the nooks and crannies of storage, we are so grateful all is as well as it is.

It's also been incredible to have received many messages of collegial support and offers of help from within New Zealand and from our Australian colleagues, too.

We shan't open to the public again until Wednesday at the earliest (well, here's hoping) and we shall look forward to being a part of a communal healing process from then on.

Today we're concentrating on restoring perfection to the main collection display, 'Brought to Light' - all generally fine, but we needed to reposition many of John Reynolds 1652 small canvases in Table of Dynasties and adjust some of the lighting which is a bit skewed.

John Reynolds Table of Dynasties re-installed.

John Reynolds Table of Dynasties re-installed.

As this picture shows, this work is now back up and looking great.

We de-installed our Taryn Simon exhibition yesterday and have moved straight into the Andrew Drummond (both were due to close today in any event) in an effort to get all works back to lenders on schedule. Some small damage has been sustained by three Drummond works. When I consider the fragile nature of his work, this is quite remarkable.

I'm making it a priority to contact all lenders to the Gallery at this stage and re-assure them.


We'll be starting the build downstairs for the Ron Mueck installation tomorrow and expect to keep all on schedule for a great opening on 2 October, so all preparations for that are on track.

Good wishes to you all, Jenny.