Van Gogh Alive

Van Gogh Alive is a large-scale immersive multi-sensory experience featuring the works of Vincent Van Gogh.

Van Gogh Alive opened today Saturday April 10th at Spark Arena in Auckland. It is on until May 6th. I had the opportunity to see it last month at the National Air Force Museum in Christchurch.

The exhibition features over 3,000 images that are projected over the walls and floors. The giant projections are set to a score of classical music. The experience uses 40 high-definition projectors and cinema-quality surround sound.

On arriving visitors will enter the Interpretive Area, which offers visitors the chance to familiarise themselves with the life and works of Vincent Van Gogh before entering the sensory experience.

There are many Instagram worthy moments to be had, including a three-dimensional life-size version of ‘Van Gogh’s Bedroom’ and a sunflower-filled mirrored hall.

Vincent Willem Van Gogh (30 March 1853 – 29 July 1890) was a Dutch post-impressionist painter who posthumously became one of the most influential figures in Western art history.

Over a decade Van Gogh created about 2,100 pieces of art, including about 860 oil paintings. Most of these were made in the last two years of his life. These included landscapes, still lifes, portraits, and self-portraits. His works were often characterised by bold colours and dramatic expressive brushwork.

WOW Up Close at Te Papa – World of Wearable Art

World of Wearable Art – Up Close is a temporary exhibition on at The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

The first World of WearableArt (WOW) show took place in Nelson, New Zealand in 1987. Today the annual WOW Awards are held in Wellington and attract entrants from over 40 countries.

The exhibition features 38 wearable art pieces from designers from Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, and the United States. 18 of the pieces are from New Zealand designers.

Tickets are $22.50 for adults and $7.50 for children (3-15 years). There are family and concession tickets available.

The exhibition is on level 4 at Te Papa, and is open everyday from 10am to 6pm until 14 February 2021.

The Topp Twins – an exhibition

The Topp Twins – an exhibition for New Zealand is an exhibition celebrating New Zealand entertainers Lynda and Jools Topp.


Dame Lynda Topp and Dame Jools Topp are a openly lesbian, folk singing, comedy sister duo that have been entertaining New Zealand audiences for over 40 years.

They often perform as their celebrated characters, such as Camp Mother and Camp Leader, typical kiwi blokes Ken and Ken, the Gingham Sisters, Westie girls Raylene and Brenda, bowling ladies Mavis and Lorna, and socialites Prue and Dilly.


Camp Leader and Camp Mother


Ken and Ken


The Gingham Sisters


Raylene and Brenda


Prue and Dilly

The exhibition, which was designed by Te Manawa Museum in Palmerston North, explores the Topp Twins early family life, their political activism, their contribution to New Zealand music and entertainment, and how they created their characters.

It includes costumes and memorabilia from the Topp Twins personal collection, interviews and archival footage, and a replica of their touring caravan.

There is also the opportunity for guests to dress up in replica costumes of Camp Mother & Camp Leader, The Gingham Sisters, Raylene & Brenda, Ken & Ken, and Prue & Dilly.

The exhibition, which is on until 22nd September, is open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm on the ground floor of the National Library, Corner Molesworth & Aitken St, Wellington.

It is expected to tour other New Zealand venues.







Gallipoli: The scale of our war

Gallipoli: The scale of our war is an exhibition on at Te Papa focused on the Gallipoli campaign during the First World War.


The exhibition is told through real-life stories of eight New Zealanders – seven soldiers and one nurse. Each person tells a part of the eight month Gallipoli campaign.

The highlight of the exhibition are the large scale models of the eight featured New Zealanders. The models designed by Weta Workshop are 2.4 times human size. These figures took 24,000 hours to create, and they each weigh between 90kg and 150kg.

There is a short six-part series online, which is explores the behind the scenes process of creating this exhibition.

The exhibition, which cost $8 million to develop, also features other models, dioramas, interactive displays, and artefacts, such as uniforms, weapons, and personal diaries.

Gallipoli: the scale of our war is located on level 2 of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, 55 Cable Street, Wellington. Exhibition is open daily 10am – 6pm until April 2019 and is free to visit.






Brickman: Wonders of the World

Brickman: Wonders of the World is a touring exhibition made entirely from lego® bricks currently on at Auckland War Memorial Museum.


The exhibition is led by Ryan ‘Brickman’ McNaught, the only LEGO® Certified Professional in the Southern Hemisphere and one of only 14 in the world.

This exhibition first premiered in Brisbane in 2016 and was followed with an Australian tour visiting Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. Over the summer the exhibition was on at Te Papa in Wellington before a three week run in Hamilton earlier this year.

The exhibition features over 50 large-scale Lego monuments including the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Golden Gate Bridge, Taj Mahal, Great Wall of China, Leaning Tower of Pisa, Arc de Triomphe, the Titanic, and many more.

There is plenty of interactive stations where kids (and ‘big kids at heart’) can build their own models to add to the exhibit.




Interactive Stations

McNaught and his team spent 4,944 hours and used over two million bricks, weighing five tons to build these amazing LEGO® masterpieces.

There is also a pop-up LEGO® store in the special exhibitions hall foyer.

The exhibition is on for one more week at the Auckland War Memorial Museum before it closes on Sunday, May 13th.

On a side note the Let Me Myself – The Life Story of Anne Frank touring exhibition developed by the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam is also on at the Auckland War Memorial Museum until May 13th.


STATUE OF LIBERTY – 8,820 pieces; 43 hours to build


BIG BEN – 18,437 pieces; 94 hours to build


NOTRE-DAME DE PARIS – 9,532 pieces; 65 hours to build


ARC DE TRIOMPHE – 30,000 pieces; 170 hours to build


SINKING TITANIC – 133,900 pieces; 240 hours to build


GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE – 27,268 pieces; 125 hours to build


TAJ MAHAL – 55,000 pieces; 128 hours to build

The Hunger Games: The Exhibition

The Hunger Games: The Exhibition is currently on at ICC Sydney until February 5th.

After successful seasons in New York City and San Francisco an exhibition based on The Hunger Games film series is now in Australia and on at the International Convention Centre Sydney in Darling Harbour.

After stepping into the exhibit area visitors are welcomed with a video message by Elizabeth Banks (Effie Trinket) in character and then as herself as she introduces the exhibition.


Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks) costume – The Hunger Games. Designer: Judianna Makovsky

After the video welcome the doors open and visitors can move at their own pace through 7 themed areas, including District 12, Tribute Train, The Capitol, Making the Games, District 13, Katniss’s Journey, and Fan Gallery.

There are over a 1000 props and costumes from the four films (The Hunger Games [2012], The Hunger Games: Catching Fire [2013], The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 [2014], The Hunger Games – Mockingjay Part 2 [2015]).

Highlights include ‘The Girl on Fire’ dress, the Mockingjay dress, the Mockingjay armour, Katniss’ wedding dress and her hunting bow.


Cinna (Lenny Kravitz) costume – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Designer: Trish Summerville and Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) costume – The Hunger Games. Designer: Judianna Makovsky


Mockingjay Dress – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Designer: Trish Summerville and Mockingjay Armor – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1. Designer: Kurt and Bart


Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) hunting costume – The Hunger Games. Deisgner: Judianna Makovsky and Katniss’ Wedding Dress – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Designer: Trish Summerville


Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) & Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) costumes – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Designer: Trish Summerville

There are also several hands-on interactive activities including an interactive map of Panem and a stunt choreography challenge.

At the end there is an extensive gift shop with a variety of Hunger Games souvenirs. I purchased the Mockingjay fridge magnet.

Tickets are available online from Ticketek or at the venue.

May the odds be ever in your favour!


Auckland Central City Library

Auckland Central City Library is one of 55 library branches in the Auckland region. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, the City Central Library was originally housed in Auckland Art Gallery building.


The public library was originally housed in the Auckland Art Gallery bulding

The public library, which opened in its Lorne Street premises in 1971, offers all the services that one would expect a library to offer – books, DVDs, newspapers, magazines, e-books, audio books, meeting rooms, computer facilities, research facilities, free Wi-Fi.

One service that many Aucklanders are unaware of is the excellent exhibitions put on by the Sir George Grey Special Collections. These exhibitions are free for residents and visitors to Auckland to enjoy. The exhibition room, which is located on level two of the library is open weekdays from 9am – 5pm, weekends 10am – 4pm. Please note the Sir George Grey Special Collections is closed on Sundays so access to staff and the wider Sir George Grey Collection will not be possible but visitors will still be able to visit the exhibit room.

The room hosts themed exhibitions with items from the Sir George Grey Collections. Currently until 12 October 2014, there is “It’ll be over by Christmas” World War 1914 – 1918: An Exhibition.

Anzac Day first anniversary programme, 25 April 1916

Anzac Day first anniversary programme, 25 April 1916

This exhibition, which commemorates the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War and is part of the WW100 programme, depicts New Zealand’s involvement during the First World War, both at the front and at home.

The one room exhibition is divided into 15 display cases that includes books, manuscripts, maps, photographs, and personal items from soldiers serving during the War.


Charles Hartley’s certificate of discharge, 1919

Souvenir programme for Grand Concert held in aid of the Belgian Relief Fund, 17 November 1914

Souvenir programme for Grand Concert held in aid of the Belgian Relief Fund, 17 November 1914


Essential Details:

World War 1914 – 1918: An exhibiton

“It’ll be over by Christmas”

Until 12 October, weekdays 9am – 5pm, weekends 10am – 4pm

Sir George Grey Special Collections, Level 2, Central City Libary


City Central Library

44-46 Lorne Street

Main library

Monday to Friday: 9am – 8pm

Saturday: 10am – 4pm

Sunday: 10am – 4pm