New Zealand Now: Contemporary Art and Design
From Auckland’s magnificent He Taonga Māori, to Shigeru Ban’s ‘Cardboard Cathedral’ in Christchurch, discover how New Zealand’s vibrant cultural life is just as captivating as its stunning landscapes.
Visit Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin and Christchurch in the company of contemporary art authority Julie Ewington to discover the country’s multi-cultural, enterprising and feisty art, craft and design scenes.
Appreciate New Zealand’s abundance of creative talent, from ground-breaking work by contemporary Māori and Pacific Islander artists to distinguished architecture and flourishing design. Visit excellent museums, galleries, and craft and design specialists, paired with the best of New Zealand’s wines and exceptional fresh produce to uncover how New Zealand rocks the contemporary!
**POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE**
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This tour is part of the World Art Tours program organised by the Art Gallery Society of NSW in partnership with Renaissance Tours.
Arrive in Auckland on suggested Qantas or Air New Zealand flights and make your own way to the hotel for check-in from 3:00pm. Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist you with your flights and other travel arrangements including a private transfer to the hotel, pre-tour accommodation and a room category upgrade.
Attend a welcome briefing at 6:00pm and talk by your tour leader, Julie Ewington, before joining Julie and fellow travellers for a welcome dinner at one of the city’s restaurants that showcase the country’s freshest produce.
Begin the morning with a guided visit of the Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira the extensive collections of Māori and Pacific material culture and natural history, in a striking neo-classical building designed in the 1920s. Enjoy time at leisure for lunch and to explore the Museum or the surrounding Botanic Gardens.
Then transfer to McCahon House, where artist Colin McCahon lived with his family throughout the 1950s and produced some of his most famous work. See the original house and the modern Parehuia Artists’ Residency, where three artists are invited to live and work each year. Visit a traditional Māori marae (meeting place), before continuing to the hotel. Tonight enjoy dinner at a nearby restaurant.
This morning visit Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, where the collection includes major holdings of historic, modern and contemporary New Zealand art. Designed to give a visual overview of the country’s history, the story begins with first contact between the Māori and European explorers in the 1600s and continues to the present day. Enjoy a private guided tour by one of the gallery’s curators before time at leisure to explore the collections.
After lunch, walk to Fingers Contemporary Jewellery, an independent gallery dedicated to showcasing the unique style of contemporary New Zealand jewellery, before visiting another private contemporary art gallery nearby. Then, embark on a coach tour of Auckland, including a gentle walk along the waterfront of the Queen’s Wharf, where influential New Zealand artist Michael Parekōwhai’s The Lighthouse stands overlooking the Waitematā Harbour. Dinner this evening is at one of Auckland’s fine dining restaurants.
Begin the morning with a talk by Julie before catching the ferry across the expansive Waitematā Harbour for a day on the artistic and bohemian isle of Waiheke. Take a private guided tour of Connell Bay sculpture park before enjoying lunch at one of the island’s famed wineries.
In the afternoon, visit Starkwhite Gallery, a private commercial gallery which presents a programme of artists’ projects, including solo shows by represented and invited artists, and independently curated exhibitions. Return to the hotel in the late afternoon and enjoy the evening at leisure.
Check out of the hotel and transfer to Objectspace Art Gallery, a public gallery founded by a group of local makers with a particular focus on best practice and innovation in the fields of applied art and design.
After a guided tour, continue to Auckland Airport for a lunchtime flight to New Plymouth (flight included in tour price). Upon arrival in New Plymouth, transfer to the hotel via Te Rewa Rewa Bridge, a tied-arch bridge reminiscent of a cresting wave or a whale skeleton. Stretching across the Waiwhakaiho River, its sculptural form represents the sacred relationship between the local Māori people and the land, sea and wind. Dinner this evening is at a nearby restaurant.
Sat 23 Oct / New Plymouth
Begin the morning at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery / Len Lye Centre, a contemporary art gallery featuring a significant collection of kinetic sculptures by the twentieth-century New Zealand-born artist, Len Lye. Enjoy a guided tour of the gallery, including its permanent collection of local and international contemporary art, before transferring to Te Kainga Marire Garden. Māori for ‘peaceful encampment’, Te Kainga Marire is one of only a few gardens in New Zealand to have been awarded ‘international significance’ status by the Royal New Zealand Gardens Trust. Enjoy lunch in the grounds of this verdant garden full of native plants that reflect a microcosm of the New Zealand landscape.
Then, travel to the coast to view Len Lye’s iconic Wind Wand sculpture, a 45m-tall pillar of red fibreglass, surmounted by a glowing red sphere, that bends in the wind. Enjoy the remainder of the afternoon and evening at leisure to relax or explore the New Plymouth coastal walk at your own pace.
Today travel along the rugged west coast of the North Island from New Plymouth to Wellington, between the idyllic waters of the Cook Strait and the snow-capped volcanic peaks which line the eastern horizon.
Stop briefly in Whanganui and enjoy time for lunch in town. This evening arrive in New Zealand’s vibrant capital Wellington, famous for its thriving cultural scene, and enjoy dinner at the hotel.
Begin the morning with a talk by Julie, before walking to the National Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa for a private curator-led tour focused on Māori weaving. Continue to the City Gallery Wellington for a tour of the exhibitions and free time for lunch in the gallery’s café.
After lunch, walk to the Avid Gallery to see an exhibit of contemporary art and jewellery, before enjoying an exclusive private visit to the home of one of New Zealand’s most important modern art collectors. Dinner this evening is at one of Wellington’s acclaimed restaurants.
Begin the morning with a guided tour of Dowse Art Museum, which houses an extensive collection of multidisciplinary works by significant New Zealand artists. Then, visit some of Wellington’s most impressive architectural designs on a coach sightseeing tour, including Futuna Chapel and Athfield House.
The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure to relax or explore the city at your own pace. This evening, enjoy a private after-hours viewing of the McLeavey Gallery followed by a drinks reception.
This morning, visit the private studio of celebrated contemporary jewellers, Lisa Walker and Karl Fritsch, in the Wellington suburb of Island Bay.
In the afternoon fly from Wellington to Dunedin, a city built upon the riches of New Zealand’s gold rush, with a legacy of grand Edwardian and Victorian architecture.
Begin today with a talk by Julie introducing the art of the South Island, before visiting the Dunedin Public Gallery. Founded in 1884, the gallery was the first public art gallery in New Zealand and houses a strong collection of historic and contemporary works, including numerous works by Frances Mary Hodgkins. Hodgkins was a painter of landscapes and still life and is now considered one of New Zealand’s most significant and influential painters.
Walk from the gallery to explore the Edwardian and Victorian period architecture, interlaced with Italianate, Gothic, Georgian and Palladian forms of designs. Gothic church spires, ornate mansions, grand government buildings and picturesque gardens weave through the streets of the inner city.
Explore antique bookshops before visiting the Otago Museum for a guided visit of the collection that captures natural, cultural and scientific stories of Otago, New Zealand and the world.
Enjoy the remainder of the evening at leisure.
Check out of the hotel and drive along the Otago coast to the unique and quirky town of Oamaru. Walk the Victorian streetscapes or step into the eccentric world of Steampunk, a movement created in the 1980s that uses arts and fashion to imagine inventions that the people of Victorian times might have created for the modern world.
Enjoy lunch en route to Christchurch and sample wines from the South Island before arriving in Christchurch in the late afternoon. The city has embraced urban regeneration, with cutting-edge architecture sitting alongside some of the oldest heritage buildings in New Zealand.
Today enjoy an early-access visit to The National Gallery. The National showcases the work of a select group of contemporary New Zealand jewellers alongside sculptural ceramics, glass and object-based works.
In the afternoon visit the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū. The gallery not only acts as a catalyst to drive ambitious creativity in Christchurch but also extends an influence beyond the art world. When Christchurch was hit by earthquakes in 2010 and 2011, the Emergency Operating Centre and hub for the earthquake recovery operated from this gallery.
Walk from the gallery in the company of a Christchurch specialist for a fascinating local creative’s perspective of how Christchurch has become a flourishing city of the arts.
Enjoy a special farewell dinner at one of Christchurch’s city restaurants.
This morning check out of the hotel and visit the most recognised building in Christchurch, the Transitional Cathedral, more commonly known as the ‘Cardboard Cathedral’. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Shigeru Ban, the church was the first public building commissioned in the aftermath of the quakes, and stands as a symbol of progress and resilience.
Transfer to Christchurch Airport, where tour arrangements conclude, for flights departing from 16:00. Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist you with your flights and other travel arrangements, including any additional nights’ accommodation, either before or after the tour.
Per person, twin-share
Deposit per person (at time of booking)
Final payment due
19 August 2021
Room category upgrade available on request; please enquire with us
Please see Terms & Conditions for fitness levels definitions.
Qantas/Air New Zealand
Please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for current airfares and flight reservations.
Australian passport holders do not require a visa to visit New Zealand. For up-to-date information on entry requirements into New Zealand, please refer to https://www.immigration.govt.nz/about-us/covid-19
Tour price includes
- Accommodation in centrally-located 4-star hotels with breakfast daily (B)
- Flights in Economy Class: Auckland to New Plymouth and Wellington to Dunedin
- Meals as per itinerary (L=Lunch, D=Dinner); wine with dinners
- Talks and discussions with your tour leader, Julie Ewington
- Comprehensive sightseeing, including entrance fees as per itinerary
- Airport transfer on departure
- Transportation on comfortable air-conditioned coaches
- Gratuities for local guides and drivers
- Hotel porterage (one piece per person)
Tour price does not include
- International airfares (please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for assistance)
- Items of a personal nature, including telephone, laundry, drinks, room service etc.
- Travel insurance (a condition of travel; please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for assistance)
- Airport transfer on arrival or if not using group transfer on departure
- Airport porterage
Auckland – Hotel Grand Windsor Auckland – MGallery *****
New Plymouth – Novotel New Plymouth ****+
Wellington – QT Wellington ****
Dunedin – Scenic Hotel Southern Cross ****
Christchurch – Rendezvous Hotel Christchurch ****
N.B. Hotels of a similar standard may be substituted.