The partnership will mark the first time an iwi has funded a nationwide New Zealand contemporary art exhibition.

Opening on Saturday 6 July, Aotearoa Contemporary provides a platform for new art and ideas in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Tātaki Auckland Unlimited Director of Auckland Art Gallery Kirsten Lacy says the exhibition is a celebration of the breadth of contemporary art in New Zealand.

“The Gallery is thrilled to partner with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei to present a new generation of talented artists and showcase Aotearoa New Zealand’s diverse artistic environment.”

“Set to occur every three years, the exhibition provides ongoing representation and pathways for new artistic voices, bolstering the future resilience of New Zealand art. Aotearoa needs a contemporary art triennial and it now has one.” adds Lacy.

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust Deputy Chair Ngarimu Blair says, “Our tupuna Apihai Te Kawau gifted 3000 acres of land on the Waitematā on 18th September in 1840 to become a city which welcomed people, cultures and ideas from afar. Our relationship with Auckland Art Gallery is founded in the shared goal to foster the arts reflective of our multi-cultural community in Aotearoa.”

With an emphasis on artists not previously exhibited at the Gallery, the exhibition presents 27 artists and 22 compelling new projects in a range of media including painting, textiles, sculpture, ceramics, photography, and performance.

Senior Curator, Contemporary Art, Natasha Conland says, “Aotearoa Contemporary reveals a new cluster of artists who work afresh with ritual and storytelling, mythology, rhythm, indigenous space and materials. There is also a special emphasis on art’s relationship with choreography through the commission of four dance works.”

Curator, Pacific Art, Cameron Ah Loo-Matamua adds, “From Ruth Ige’s enigmatic blue paintings of anonymous figures, to the art collective The Killing’s installation of supersized soft-toys in a state of play, there is something for everyone in this exhibition. Amongst the ambitious new commissions is a three channel video by Qianye and Qianhe Lin featuring mythology set in Hailing Island off the coast of China and Aotearoa.” Aotearoa Contemporary is proudly supported by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, Auckland Art Gallery Foundation and the Chartwell Trust.

Aotearoa Contemporary has been scheduled to coincide with New Zealand’s leading contemporary art award, The Walters Prize 2024, to provide a broad overview of contemporary art in New Zealand in the Gallery’s winter programme.

The exhibition has been curated by Cameron Ah Loo-Matamua, Natasha Conland and Ane Tonga with support from Ruth Ha.


  1. Maungarongo Te Kawa's Celestial Stargate for Invisible People, 2024 (detail). Photo / Jemma Mitchell
  2. Xin Ji, Doco Dance, 2024. Photo / Teng Long.