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A Stroke of Genius: New Zealand’s Best art galleries

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A Stroke of Genius: New Zealand's Best art galleries

It might not be the first destination you think of when considering art galleries. New Zealand is a country that brings in significant tourism due to its beautiful scenery, lifestyle, picturesque landscapes and natural, mountainous beauty.

Some of the art galleries you can find throughout the North and South Islands help to add another layer to this fascinating country.

Although it might be a lot smaller in size and population than some of the world’s more prominent economies, there are still several elements that make it one of the must-see destinations on Earth – and the art galleries we’re going to discuss today help to drive home this point.

The draw of art galleries

In a world in which people become detached and more reliant on their mobile phones with each passing day, art galleries provide an increasingly unique way to seek out things to do that don’t involve modern technology. Shopping, social media and casino gaming have significantly switched to digital platforms.

Although people can buy art online, there’s still a connection with casino gaming that you can’t get from simply looking at a piece of art online. Land-based casinos are still a draw, but a gaming site in New Zealand aims to make the casino gaming experience digitized.

Clearly, there’s a difference between art galleries and casino gaming – however, galleries will continue to be places where mobile phones don’t yet dominate the environment and experience but will play a vital role in their popularity moving forward. Ultimately, both industries have their own unique elements they bring to the table when aiming to engage their audience.

Technology has permeated the industry, with NFT and visual art galleries emerging over recent years. Some of the galleries we touch on today have hosted some of these modern exhibitions, but they’re also beginning to find an audience online.

Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui

Art galleries have been places of interest for centuries, and New Zealand’s art galleries host some of the finest overseas and domestic art of the last 100 years. Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui is often considered one of the top galleries in the country. Although it is currently being redeveloped, the Whanganui-based gallery boasts over four centuries of art, from indigenous Māori to international art.

City Gallery Te Whare Toi – City Gallery Wellington

The City Gallery Te Whare Toi in Wellington, often referred to as City Gallery Wellington, has hosted some of Vincent Van Gogh’s most decorated pieces and a wide range of collections from artists as varied as Sidney Nolan, Diego Rivera and Ronnie van Hout. Wellington is the third largest city in New Zealand, so the gallery has a more extensive collection and a more significant budget than Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui. Still, we would recommend both if you’re traveling a complete trip around New Zealand.

Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū – Christchurch Art Gallery

Aside from the nation’s capital, Christchurch is New Zealand’s biggest city by population. Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū is the newest art gallery in the country, having opened its doors in May 2023.

Considered the top New Zealand art gallery for public collections, the new-look facility has already welcomed thousands of Kiwis and international art connoisseurs through its doors, and no list would be complete without Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū.

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki – Auckland Art Gallery

As with many other national capitals, the art gallery in Auckland houses the most extensive collection of art and attracts the most considerable attention out of all the art galleries we have discussed today.

Throughout the years, it has showcased some of the most notable pieces of work from Pablo Picasso, Paul Cezanne, and Salvador Dalí. Julian Robertson, the American hedge fund billionaire who passed away last year, donated a nine-figure sum to help the gallery house works from some of the greatest artists of all time.

Auckland is one of the most visited cities in the Oceania region. Situated in New Zealand’s most populated city, the Auckland Art Gallery is a must-see for art lovers. We’d recommend getting to all of the galleries on today’s list if you can, but if you only have time for one or two on your trip because of location, size and available collections, this should be your number one choice.

Irrespective of the artists or periods you most enjoy, Auckland Art Gallery has the best variety and often the most extensive selections from featured artists anywhere in New Zealand.

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