Govett-Brewster Art Gallery | Len Lye Centre

The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and Len Lye Centre is a contemporary art museum and space in New Plymouth.


The art gallery opened in 1970 in the old Regent Cinema building. The name comes from Monica Brewster (née Govett), who was the founding benefactor.

The gallery traditionally changes its exhibitions three times a year. The gallery also has café and shop.

The Len Lye Centre, which opened in 2015, is located next to the art gallery and houses artist, sculpter, poet and filmmaker Len Lye’s collection and archive, as well as galleries, an education centre and a 62-seat cinema.

The Centre’s with its shimmering mirror-like steel facade is probably one of the most photographed buildings in New Plymouth.

Entry to the gallery is free but donations are appreciated.

The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and Len Lye Centre is located on the corner of Queen St and Devon St West, New Plymouth.






Taupo Museum

Taupo Museum is located on Story Place between the Domain and the Rose Gardens. It is open daily, except for Good Friday and Christmas Day, from 10am to 4.30pm. Adults are $5 and seniors and tertiary students are $3. Entry is free for children, Taupo residents and ratepayers.

When you enter the museum to the right are two art gallery rooms, the Main Art Gallery and the Niven Room, which have changing exhibitions. When I visited in December the Main Art Gallery was exhibiting work from senior students from Wanganui Glass School, and the Niven Room had a photography exhibition featuring the works of Peter Beazley, Adam Wallis, Jeremy Bright and Steve Sherburn.

In the foyer welcoming visitors to the museum is a wharenui, a traditional Māori meeting house. The meeting house is name Te Aroha o Rongoheikume, which means the love of Lucy Reid. The meeting house was carved by Tene Waitere between 1927 and 1928.

Te Aroha o Rongoheikume meeting house

Te Aroha o Rongoheikume meeting house

After visiting the meeting house follow the museum around to the right to see a series of exhibitions on the Taupo area including displays on timber mills, trout fishing, and Taupo’s volcanic area.

Visitors can climb inside a New Zealand made Anglo Imp caravan, which has been decorated like a holiday caravan from the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Kiwiana Caravan

Kiwiana Caravan

The Busy Corner Store screens a 10 minute short film about the Taupo District and its history.

In the Tuwharetoa Gallery is a 14 metre long waka made from a Kauri log. It was found in 1967 in a bush in Opepe and is believed to be around 150 years old.

Outside in the courtyard is the 100% Pure New Zealand Ora – Garden of Wellbeing, which won a gold medal at 2004 Chelsea Flower Show. The garden opened at Museum Spring 2007 and the following year was accorded Garden of National Significance status.






Waikato Museum & ArtsPost Galleries

Waikato Museum and ArtsPost Galleries & Shop are located next to each other on the south end of Victoria Street and can both be visited in a couple of hours.

The former Post Office now ArtsPost

The former Hamilton Post & Telegraph Office now ArtsPost

ArtsPost is located in the old Post and Telegraph Office. The building, which opened in 1901, was built in Imperial Baroque style. In 1916, the building was extended. In 1940 the Post Office was closed and relocated to Garden Place. Over the next 50 years the building was used for social welfare purposes, Maori Land Court, local Members of Parliament and a youth resource centre.

Hamilton City Council purchased the building in 1992 and set out to restore it to its original condition. In 1998 it opened as ArtsPost.


ArtsPost hosts three exhibition spaces – the Ida Carrey Gallery, the Margot Phillips Gallery and the Chartwell Gallery.

The galleries are updated on regular basis providing the City with fresh and vibrant art. Looking at the website all three galleries have been updated since I visited in early September.

Also upstairs (separate entrance on the far left side of the building) is the school and office for Waikato Society of Arts (WSA). They have a gallery space, which exhibits local members art work.

Waikato Museum courtyard looking towards ArtPost

Waikato Museum courtyard looking towards ArtPost

Waikato Museum opened in its current location in 1987. The building, which has five floors and 12 galleries, was designed by Ivan Mercep, who later designed Te Papa, New Zealand’s national museum.

Both ArtsPost and Waikato Museum are free to visit. Although there may be some charges for special exhibitions and activities.

There is a car park behind the ArtsPost building (off Victoria Street) with 61 spaces. There is also car park buildings at Garden Place and Knox Street. On Grantham Street there is free limited 120 minute parking available.


Waikato Museum

1 Grantham Street (south end of Victoria St)

Open daily, 10am to 4.30pm

ArtsPost Galleries & Shop

120 Victoria Street

Open daily, 10am to 4.30pm

Te Papa

The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa is the national museum of New Zealand, located on Cable Street on Wellington’s waterfront.

Te Papa Tongarewa roughly translates as “the place of treasures of this land.”

The Museum was established in 1992 by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Act 1992. Te Papa had its official opening on 14 February 1998.

Te Papa is open every day from 10am till 6pm, and until 9pm on Thursdays. Entry is free but there may be charges for special exhibitions and activities. For information on parking please check their website.

The museum covers six floors of interactive exhibits.

The Awesome Forces exhibition on level 2 explores New Zealand’s geological history showing how our landscape has been shaped by erosion, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. A highlight is an interactive shake house where visitors can experience an earthquake.

Visitors can experience a stimulated earthquake in the shake house.

Visitors can experience a stimulated earthquake in the shake house.

Also on level 2 is the Mountain to Sea exhibition where on display are over 2500 animals and plants. On display in 6 metre long case is a 495 kilogram squid. Visitors can experience the squid’s underwater habitat in a 3D show.

The theme of our powerful landscape is continued on level 3 in the exhibition Blood Earth Fire, which explores our ever changing landscape. A short documentary film Our Place screens, in which people show the place that is most important to them.

Those wishing to learn about Māori history can head to the Mana Whenua, Te Marae, Whiti Te Rā! The Story of Ngāti Toa Rangatira (local iwi Tribe of Wellington), and Signs of a Nation (Treaty of Waitangi) exhibitions on level 4.

’Te Aurere Iti’, a third-size scale replica of a voyaging canoe

’Te Aurere Iti’, a third-size scale replica of a voyaging canoe

In the Passports exhibition guests can explore the stories of some the communities that migrated to New Zealand. Tangata o le Moana: The story of Pacific people in New Zealand explores the people from the Pacific Islands that came to call New Zealand home.

Also on level 4 visitors can learn more about New Zealand in the 20th century with the Slice of Heaven exhibition. A highlight on display is the skeleton of celebrated race horse Phar Lap (1926 – 1939). While Te Papa has his bones, The National Museum of Australia in Canberra has his heart and the Museum of Victoria in Melbourne has his hide mounted on a model.


Phar Lap

The national art collection of Te Papa is housed on levels 5 and 6. The galleries are constantly being updated and changed so there is always new works on display to see. There is also an interactive art studio space on level 5 for budding artists.

There are also two cafes onsite, the Te Papa Cafe on the ground floor, which is open from 9am to 5pm and Level 4 Expresso, which is open 10am to 5:30pm, with a late closing of 8:30pm on Thursday.

For shopping there are two stores the Te Papa Store on level 1 and the Te Papa Kids’ Store on level 2.


City Gallery Wellington

The City Gallery Wellington is an art gallery located in Wellington’s Civic Square.

City Gallery Wellington housed in the old Wellington Public Library building

City Gallery Wellington housed in the old Wellington Central Library building

The Civic Square is a yellow terracotta brick square that is linked to Wellington’s waterfront by the City-to-Sea pedestrian bridge. The square is surrounded by four Civic buildings – the Michael Fowler Centre, the Wellington Town Hall, the Central Library and the City Gallery.

The City Gallery was established in 1980. This year the City Gallery celebrates 21 years in Civic Square. In 1993, the City Gallery moved into its current premises, the old Wellington Central Library Building. The Central Library Building, which was built in Art Deco style, was constructed between 1935 and 1940. The Central Library moved to its current site on the edge of Civic Square on Victoria and Mercer Streets in 1991.

The City Gallery open every day from 10am till 5pm, except for Christmas Day. And of course entry is FREE.

What is fantastic about the City Gallery is because it is does not have a permanent collection its exhibition programme is ever changing. I visited last year in September and again last month. As I write this, new exhibitions have already opened this month.

Oddooki (2008) Seung Yui Oh

Oddooki (2008) Seung Yul Oh


Seung Yul Oh's interactive inflatables

Seung Yul Oh’s interactive inflatables


Möbius Strip (2006), Cerith Wyn Evans

Möbius Strip (2006), Cerith Wyn Evans


Cerith Wyn Evans

Cerith Wyn Evans

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki


With showers forecast and a few hours to spare, this afternoon I decided to head along to Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. The gallery is home to more than 15,000 pieces of art ranging in date from 1376 through to today, and the best thing entry is free.


Women’s Suffrage Centenary mural & fountain, Khartoum Pl

I walked up High Street to Khartoum Place, the pedestrian friendly city square, between Lorne St and Kitchener St. I took the stairs up past the 2000 tiled mural and fountain celebrating the New Zealand’s women’s suffrage centenary to the main entrance.


Auckland Art Gallery building built in 1887

It is worth taking a few moments to absorb the beauty of the exterior of the Auckland Art Gallery. The main gallery building built in French Renaissance style was completed in 1887. It is three storeys high, with a six storey clock tower.

The Art Gallery building originally also housed the Auckland Public Library and City Council offices before the Council offices moved following the construction of the Town Hall in 1911 and the public library moved to its Lorne Street premises in 1971.

Expansions have been built onto the original building several times.  In 2007, the Gallery was closed for extensive renovations, and re-opened in September 2011. The building now impressively and seamlessly combines the modern and French Renaissance style architecture. The Auckland Art Gallery was awarded World Building of the Year at the World Architecture Festival in October 2013.

Large kauri (native New Zealand tree) columns frame the entrance to the building. When you walk in a friendly guide is on hand to offer you  a map and point you in the right direction. The gallery offers free one tours, which depart from here at 11:30 am and 1:30 pm. On the left hand side of the foyer is the gift shop, turn to right to explore the New Zealand collection first. There is also access to the lower ground floor, which has an auditorium where screenings and artist or curator talks are held. There is also a classroom and meeting room facilities for hire.


New Zealand collection, Ground floor

The first three rooms on the ground floor explore different periods of art in the New Zealand collection: 1995 to today, 1980 to 1995, and 1965 to 1980. The next two rooms are currently dedicated to individual artists Tony Fomison and Lois White. The last and larger room includes abstract art, realism and nationalism, the cultural significance of the landscape, and the importance of travel and exchange in New Zealand art.


International historic art collect, Mezzanine

The mezzanine floor houses the international historic art collection, which includes works from the Medieval to the Victorian period. There is also a research library and children’s creative learning centre.


‘The Politics of Ecstasy’, Tessa Laird, ‘Freedoms Farmers: New Zealand Artists Growing Ideas’, Level 1

On level 1 is the international and New Zealand contemporary art collection. There is also the historic New Zealand art collection and tucked away in the back is the Māori portraits gallery, which is popular with many tourists who exclaim that it should feature more prominently. Level 1 also has space for temporary exhibitions. Currently (until March 2nd 2014) there is an exhibition entitled ‘Freedom Farmers: New Zealand Artists Growing Ideas’, which explores ideas of utopia, sustainability and artistic freedom in contemporary art.

There is also a café on this floor. The café is open weekdays 7:30 am to 4:30 pm, and weekends 10 am to 4:30 pm. There is terrace entry to the café from the Albert Park side of the building for those wishing to visit the café before the gallery opens.


Sculpture terrace

Level 2 (top level) has more contemporary New Zealand art. There is sculpture terrace, which looks out over Albert Park. There is also a Members lounge and an espresso bar on this level.

It easy to explore the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki in a morning or afternoon and if the weather is nice be sure to take a stroll through Albert Park.

Essential Details:

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Open 10am – 5pm
Cnr Kitchener and Wellesley Streets
Entry to the Gallery is free. Although there may be charges for special exhibitions.