Redevelopment – Whanaketanga
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Redevelopment – Whanaketanga

The redevelopment project

The Gallery Redevelopment Project will preserve the original building in Queens Park that opened in 1919, protect the Gallery’s nationally-important collection and provide increased access to all parts of the collection. The project is a partnership between Whanganui District Council, Whanganui Iwi, central Government and donors and sponsors both large and small. The redevelopment will be the largest cultural project undertaken in Whanganui since the building of the original Sarjeant Gallery in 1917-1919 and is the largest arts development in the lower North Island since Te Papa.

Basement storage at the Sarjeant Gallery.

Basement storage at the Sarjeant Gallery.

Why is the Redevelopment necessary?

When it closed to the public in 2014 the Sarjeant Gallery at Pukenamu Queen’s Park was considered an earthquake risk, meeting only 5% of the current New Zealand Building Standard. Until recent years the collection was mainly stored in the Gallery basement and was at serious risk of damage. As well as the risk posed by earthquake collapse, the basement was not designed as a storage space for works of art with difficult access and no environmental or temperature control. Changes in temperature can lead to cracking, flaking and warping of works which is very expensive to repair. The absence of environmental or temperature controls in the Gallery spaces also meant the Sarjeant was unable to attract national and international touring exhibitions because it failed to meet stringent requirements.

The Gallery's new collection storage system upstairs at 38 Taupo Quay

The Gallery’s new collection storage system upstairs at 38 Taupō Quay

A Temporary Solution

To protect public, staff and the collection, the Sarjeant collection and galleries relocated to a temporary space in a modern warehouse at 38 Taupō Quay, Whanganui, assisted by funding from the Lottery Grants Board. The Gallery’s exhibition spaces are limited and also lack environmental control, though the Collection Store is both highly secure and environmentally controlled.

The Plan

The redevelopment will create purpose-built storage facilities to the north of the existing domed Gallery together with additional exhibition space, education facilities, retail and events spaces. This will enable more of the permanent collection to be seen than is possible at present, as well as looking after the Collection for the future. The original Sarjeant Gallery building is being strengthened against the risk of earthquakes; and repaired and restored. At the same time the environment throughout the public and storage spaces will be controlled to preserve collections on display and allow major touring exhibitions to come to Whanganui.

How You Can Help Us

There are a number of ways that you can support the project at all levels from offering modest donations to making more substantial contributions.

Click here to listen to a two-part podcast on the Sarjeant Gallery Redevelopment Project aired in February 2018 on Standing Room Only, Radio New Zealand