Whanganui’s redeveloped Sarjeant Gallery to open on 9 November


Images courtesy of Te Whare o Rehua Sarjeant Gallery.
Images courtesy of Te Whare o Rehua Sarjeant Gallery.
The opening date for the reimagined Te Whare o Rehua Sarjeant Gallery in Whanganui has been announced as Saturday 9 November 2024.

The new $70 million gallery, designed by Warren and Mahoney, now spans more than 4,500 sqm. One of New Zealand’s oldest purpose-built galleries, it first opened in 1919 and houses a nationally significant collection of more than 9000 items – the largest collection held in a public gallery outside of the main centres in New Zealand. 

Te Whare o Rehua Sarjeant Gallery now comprises the soon-to-be 105-year-old heritage-listed Sarjeant Gallery, with its distinctive 14-metre-high dome and Oamaru stone exterior, which has been earthquake-strengthened and restored, and the new  Te Pātaka o Tā Te Atawhai Archie John Taiaroa wing.

Andrew Tripe, Mayor of Whanganui, said, “I often talk about Whanganui’s three points of difference – those attributes which can’t be replicated and give us our uniqueness, our identity. These are our arts, our heritage and the Awa. Te Whare o Rehua Sarjeant Gallery is one of a handful of significant Whanganui landmarks that embodies all of these qualities. 

“Following the redevelopment, the gallery now has an enhanced role and influence, standing proudly as the cultural heart of our unique community and drawing visitors from around New Zealand and the world. As Whanganui is now a designated UNESCO City of Design, it’s exciting to envision how Te Whare o Rehua will continue to enhance our reputation as a centre for creativity and an exciting visitor destination.”

The gallery now features ten exhibition spaces, a family room, a reading room and library, retail space, a café, and publicly accessible event and meeting rooms. Additionally, the facility also includes a temperature and humidity-controlled storage area for its nationally significant permanent collection of works, a photographic studio and workshops.

Design has been led by Warren and Mahoney, while the new Te Pātaka o Tā Te Atawhai Archie John Taiaroa wing incorporates visual narratives chosen through the co-design process with Te Kāhui Toi o Tūpoho.

The opening season will span all of Te Whare o Rehua’s gallery spaces, showcasing a diverse range of historical and contemporary works from the gallery’s collection.

The opening will encompass live performances, events, talks and experiences alongside the official pōwhiri and opening day formalities. The opening exhibitions and programme will be announced later this year. 

“This significant project for Whanganui and New Zealand has been nearly 30 years in the making, and I know the opening is eagerly awaited by many,” said Nicola Williams, Te Whare o Rehua Sarjeant Gallery Trust Chairman.

“We owe a huge debt of gratitude to all the Gallery’s many nationwide supporters and benefactors, Whanganui ratepayers, Iwi, local and central government.”

The gallery is free to enter, and opens to the public on Saturday 9 November 2024. 


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