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Christchurch City Council Media Release 26 November 2002


Formal Opening Date For Gallery Confirmed

After many years of planning and a highly successful community fundraising campaign, the people of Christchurch and Canterbury will be able to visit their new Art Gallery from May 2003.

The new Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu will be officially opened on Saturday 10 May by the Prime Minister, Rt Hon Helen Clark.

The opening will be marked by a weekend of festive events for the local community, whose fundraising efforts have contributed over $14.84 million to the development.

Gallery Director Tony Preston says "We are deeply indebted to a large number of generous individuals and organisations Canterbury-wide, for their extraordinary support, whether moral, monetary or material! This, added to the commitment and funding of Christchurch City Council, central Government (through the Ministry of Culture & Heritage) and Lottery Grants Board, has ensured the success of the project.

From next May, we are confident all visitors will be very impressed by the quality of this extraordinary new arts facility for New Zealand, construction of which has taken less than two and a half years."

Mr Preston says the date and the range of opening events were selected to allow as many Gallery contributors and supporters as possible to be involved.

As well as much more of the Gallery's extensive permanent collection displayed, the first major international exhibition "The Allure of Light: Turner to Cezanne - European Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Victoria" will also be on show over the weekend. The sixteen rare and important works include paintings by Turner, Constable, Corot, Courbet, Manet, Monet, Signac, Sisley, Pissarro and Cézanne.

Although the Gallery will not be officially opened for another six months, the Canterbury community will be able to get a sneak preview of this superb new cultural facility, when doors are opened to the public for a gold coin donation on Sunday 1 December 2002 from 11am - 5pm. For a full media release on the Sneak Preview see or send an email request to

For further information: Gerard Blank
Glass Tower Strategic Communications
03 365 1445 or 0274 303 050

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