Auckland’s newest cultural attraction, Titirangi’s Te Uru Waitākere Contemporary Gallery, is celebrating its first year of achievements.
Te Uru has had more than 80,000 people engage with its programmes since it first opened last November, many coming from across Auckland and further afield to visit the acclaimed facilities. A key attraction is Te Uru’s distinctive and inclusive interest in creative expressions, spanning from jewellery and ceramics to painting and augmented reality.
Last week, Mitchell & Stout Architects received a Public Architecture Award for Te Uru from the New Zealand Institute of Architects. They also received a Heritage Award for their refurbishment of Lopdell House. NZIA’s citation describes Te Uru as a tour de force with “place-defining views of the Manukau Harbour.”
The completion of Te Uru (formerly Lopdell House Gallery) sees the realisation of the organisation’s nearly 20-year vision to establish a museum-grade secure and environmentally controlled gallery capable of loaning artworks and exhibitions from major institutions. Already, the gallery has staged dozens of exhibitions, events, workshops, talks, children’s classes, concerts and film screenings.
“The spin-off for local businesses, employment and other cultural activity is enormous,” says gallery director, Andrew Clifford. “It raises profile and pride for everyone in the area.”
Over the last year, the new facilities have enabled Te Uru to host Michael Parekowhai’s carved, red piano, He Korero Purākau mo Te Awanui o Te Motu, a selection of Ralph Hotere paintings, a comprehensive survey of Barry Brickell’s ceramics, and a rare collection of found textiles from Rosemary McLeod, all sourced from partner institutions. Te Uru has also staged major exhibitions from Auckland’s most internationally recognised artists, including Judy Millar and Billy Apple.
“The creation of world-class facilities and exhibitions in the Waitākere Ranges has transformed Auckland’s cultural landscape,” says Clifford. “Titirangi has become a must-see destination for visitors from throughout New Zealand and overseas.”
The Lopdell Precinct redevelopment, including Te Uru, Lopdell House and the Treasure House, was led by the Lopdell Trust and completed in partnership with Auckland Council. Te Uru receives core operational funding from Auckland Council through the Waitākere Ranges Local Board, with additional support from philanthropic trusts and fundraising.
The gallery’s most ambitious exhibition to-date, HaaPoom by Titirangi-based artist Seung Yul Oh, was a key attraction in this year’s citywide ArtWeek Auckland festival. HaaPoom has featured prominently in major national publications with universally positive reviews, and has been popular on social media.
Next year’s programme is equally diverse and ambitious, with plans for paintings by Don Binney, an international performance festival and a survey of ceramics by John Parker.