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Auckland Art Gallery marks historical milestone

Auckland City Council
Media release
EMBARGOED until 4.30pm

2 October 2008

Auckland Art Gallery marks historical milestone

Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Helen Clark and the Mayor of Auckland city, Hon. John Banks today unveiled a plaque celebrating the official start of work to transform the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki into a world-class facility.

One hundred and twenty years since its establishment as New Zealand’s first gallery, the ceremony marks another landmark in the rich life of one of this country’s most important cultural institutions. The gallery holds a number of nationally and internationally significant collections, including those of Governor Sir George Grey, the Mackelvie and Chartwell Trusts, and the McCahon family.

Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Helen Clark says the far reaching and visionary development of the gallery will secure its future for at least another 100 years.

“As a key funding partner, the government looks forward to the completion of the project in two and half year’s time and to a new chapter in the gallery’s history. With increased space, the gallery will be able to display more of the 14,000 works held in its collections and be in a much stronger position to attract international exhibitions,” Helen Clark said.

Once completed, the gallery will have 50 per cent more exhibition space and its total floor area will increase by 75 per cent, with new areas for education and events, more interactive spaces for children and families, and better connections with Albert Park.

The Auckland Art Gallery development is one of the largest heritage restoration projects ever undertaken in New Zealand. It involves mandatory seismic strengthening, as well as heritage restoration of the existing building, together with the expansion and modernisation of the gallery.

Mayor John Banks says that the restoration and development of the gallery will provide a benchmark for similar projects around the country especially in terms of heritage work.

“In many ways, the Auckland Art Gallery development is breaking new ground in terms of restoration and the melding of modern and historical architectural styles. It’s a complex project and it’s wonderful that Aucklanders and visitors will soon have the chance to experience a magnificent new gallery,” he says.

The cost of the upgrade is $113 million, which is being funded by three key parties. Central government is contributing $30 million over four years, Auckland City Council is contributing $48.1 million and the Auckland Art Gallery Foundation has committed to raising $33.4 million, of which $15.9 million has already been pledged.

Ngati Whatua, as well as local and national dignitaries attended the plaque unveiling ceremony. The Auckland Art Gallery project is due to be completed in early 2011. Exhibitions and events continue at Auckland Art Gallery’s New Gallery, corner of Wellesley and Lorne streets.


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