Established in 1888 The Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki was New Zealand’s first public and permanent art gallery, housing an extensive collection ranging from 1376 to the present day. The gallery is fast consolidating its position as a unique local and global cultural attraction, while being internationally recognised as a stunning example of contemporary and innovative architecture.
Since the first designs were drawn in 1883, the architecture of the Auckland gallery has evolved continuously to house a growing collection and to accommodate the city’s fast developing cultural life. The building originally held the Auckland Art Gallery as well as the Auckland Public Library, opening with collections donated by benefactors Governor Sir George Grey and James Tannock Mackelvie. Designing the 1887 French Renaissance-style building must have been a challenge to the architectural firm of Grainger and D’Ebro, as it occupies a rising corner site. Picturesque townscape features include an ogee roofed tower and a six storey clock tower. Inside the corner tower is an impressive Palladian styled stairway. The former reference room of the Auckland Public Library has a superb gallery supported on cast iron columns and protected by cast iron balustrades. Over the years the gallery has expanded, cleverly combining modern and heritage architecture. It was remodelled from 1969 until 1971 and the Edmiston Wing was added. In 1971 the library was transferred to a new Auckland Public Library building, and the gallery gained sole occupancy of the original structure. The building has won an outstanding string of 13 architectural and four design related awards, most recently from the Australian Institute of Architects, which presented project architects FJMT+Archimedia with the Jørn Utzon Award for International Architecture. This was granted for the newly developed building which opened to the public on the 3rd of September 2011.
The concept for the new building was based on a thorough awareness of the place’s history and significance. Architects for the new space sought to complement the existing heritage galleries while integrating fresh design, to create a building to serve not only as an exhibition space but also as a social venue, and to establish fluid dialogue with the adjacent park and surrounding urban area. The culturally significant 1887 building was restored and seamlessly incorporated into the new gallery complex. Its design draws inspiration from the organic forms of the surrounding landscape as well as the architectural order and character of the heritage buildings. Standout features include an unusual series of ‘tree-like’ canopies that define and cover the entry forecourt, atrium and gallery areas. These profiled roofs ‘hover’ over the stone-walls and terraces, creating a memorable image closely related to the beautiful overhanging canopy of pohutukawa trees. The ceilings of the canopies are assembled from carefully selected kauri, profiled into precise geometric patterns and supported on slender and tapering shafts. The unique character of the heritage building has thus been strengthened through the clear geometric relation to and contrast with these new works. The new building extension doubles the public exhibition areas, provides extensive basement storage and support areas, and offers a complete redesign of adjacent areas of Albert Park. Despite concerns during the development, the Art Gallery’s relationship with Albert Park now provides a distinctive image for the gallery, placing it on the international stage as a leader in art collection and display. The building’s other relationships with Kitchener Street and with the wider city have also been pursued successfully. The gallery’s use of the spaces around the building and the installation of large windows to offer views into the interior are part of their strategy to lure the public into the Art Gallery.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Home to more than 15,000 works of art, the collection features a wide variety of periods, styles and media. It was initially dominated by European old master paintings, following the tastes of the 19th century, but today modern and contemporary New Zealand art is showcased, as well as work by Māori and Pacific Island born artists. In celebration of the new building development, three Māori artists where invited to create permanent works for display in the gallery. Arnold Manaaki Wilson’s Moments in Time (2010) consists of carvings representing ruru, or giant owls, which adorn three columns. These three pillars each hold individual symbolic meaning, one representing Ranginui (sky father), another Papatūānuku (earth mother) and the last Tāne Mahuta (a giant kauri tree in the Waipoua Forest of New Zealad). The artist Fred Graham presented Te Waka Toi o Tāmaki (2011) which takes the form of a waka huia, or a treasure box. This piece signifies the gallery’s role as the sole keeper of Auckland’s art treasures. Lonnie Hutchinson’s Honoa Ki Te Hono Tawhiti (2011) was created specifically for the portals between the foyers and the galleries, resting in the uncertain space between interior design and art. The Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki offers a lively calendar of talks, performances, film screenings and children’s activities, and is dedicated to the promotion of knowledge and culture. By Eleanor Cunningham
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.