This page is not a current Christchurch City Council document. Please read our disclaimer.
Media Releases
  Media Releases


Countdown to Opening for New Gallery

17 March 2003

This Monday, March 17th, will herald a unique moment in the development of the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, as an arts institution and a cultural asset.
Gallery staff will officially take possession of the new facility and begin a broad range of final preparations, in readiness for the official opening on Saturday 10 May.
In the build-up to the opening, over 5,500 works will be relocated, extensive tests will be made of the Gallery’s operating systems, including ventilation, fire detection and security systems, and the permanent collections, as well as major temporary exhibitions, will be installed.
To formally welcome the staff and bless the site, members of the paepae of Ngai Tuahuriri, headed by HR Tau, the Upokorunanga, and supported by Riki TeMairaki Pitama, John Crofts, Paora Tau, and the kaikaranga, Ruahine Crofts, Maru Stirling, Te Whe Phillips and other members, will perform karakia (prayers both ancient and Christian) to give effect to whakawatea (the freeing of unknown elements) and whakatuwherat (opening the building free of barriers), in a ceremony commencing at 8:15am.
Local iwi have had a long involvement in the development of the new Gallery, which has included the site dedication in 1996, and a subsequent site blessing ceremony.
In 2002 the Gallery was also officially honoured with the name Te Puna o Waiwhetu by Ngai Tuahuriri.  The title has its origins in Waipuna, a reference to the many springs near the site of the new Gallery, and Waiwhetu, one of the tributaries in the immediate vicinity, which flows into the Avon River. Waiwhetu is translated as ‘artesian water which shines like the stars', symbolising the Gallery as a spring (puna) metaphorically flowing into a local watercourse with which the ancient people of the land, mana whenua, were familiar.
Ngai Tuahuriri hold the customary mana over the Gallery site and local area, which includes the nearby site of the ancient seasonal papa kainga or settlement named Puari (to the north), and the urupa or burial ground (to the south).
Gallery Director Tony Preston says the official move into the new facility will be a memorable event for all staff and representatives of the Christchurch City Council, marking the dedication they have shown in the development of the new Gallery.
“ This is an extraordinary achievement for all who have been involved and the culmination of many years of hard work and commitment,” says Tony Preston.
“ The closure of the Robert McDougall Art Gallery and the smooth transition into the new facility, belie all the behind-the-scenes activity. It ensures the Gallery takes its place as one of the country’s foremost cultural assets.”
Mr Preston says he and his staff are very grateful for the support of the project shown by Ngai Tahu.
“ This ceremony symbolises a major milestone in the cultural life of the new Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu. ”

Christchurch Art Gallery ~ Media Releases index

This page is not a current Christchurch City Council document. Please read our disclaimer.
© Christchurch City Council, Christchurch, New Zealand | Contact the Council