Christchurch Art Gallery

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Not to be confused with Christ Church Picture Gallery, Oxford, England.
Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu
Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu.jpg
Gallery exterior
General information
Coordinates 43°31′50″S 172°37′52″E / 43.53056°S 172.63111°E / -43.53056; 172.63111Coordinates: 43°31′50″S 172°37′52″E / 43.53056°S 172.63111°E / -43.53056; 172.63111
Inaugurated 11 May 2003
Owner Christchurch City Council
Design and construction
Architecture firm Buchan Group

The Christchurch Art Gallery, with the formal name of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, is the public art gallery of the city of Christchurch, New Zealand. It is funded by Christchurch City Council. It has its own substantial art collection and presents a programme of New Zealand and international exhibitions. The gallery opened on 11 May 2003,[1] replacing the city's former public art gallery, the Robert McDougall Art Gallery, which opened on 16 June 1932 and closed on 16 June 2002.[2]

Night time photo of the Montreal Street frontage

The Māori elements of the name are explained as follows: Te Puna honours waipuna, the artesian spring beneath the gallery and Waiwhetu refers to one of the tributaries in the immediate vicinity, which flows into the River Avon. Waiwhetu may also be translated as ‘water in which stars are reflected’.

The Building[edit]

Reasons for voyaging on the gallery's forecourt

Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu was designed by the Buchan Group. The gallery's forecourt has a large sculpture, Reason for Voyaging, which was the result of a collaboration between the sculptor Graham Bennett and the architect David Cole.[3]

The building was used as Civil Defence headquarters for Christchurch following the 2010 Canterbury earthquake, and again after the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake. The gallery was designed to deal with seismic events. The gallery's foundation, a concrete raft slab that sits on the surface of the ground, evenly distributes earthquake forces.[4]


  1. ^ "Grand opening for gallery of wonders". Christchurch Star. 14 May 2003. pp. A4–A5. 
  2. ^ "The Robert McDougall Art Gallery: a profile of the Art Gallery of the City of Christchurch, 1932-1982". Christchurch City Council. 1982. 
  3. ^ "The Building". Christchurch Art Gallery. Retrieved 17 May 2011. 
  4. ^ Mortimer, Frances (12 October 2014) "Not Broken, But Slightly Bowed—Lifting a Landmark Art Gallery in New Zealand" American Surveyor Magazine Frederick, Maryland

External links[edit]