About The Collection

The University of Auckland’s Art Collection currently comprises more than 1700 paintings, prints, photographs, sculptures and video on permanent display throughout our various University campuses.

Art Collection Objective

Our primary aim is to develop a collection that:

  • fosters research, learning and teaching on the visual arts within the University.
  • strongly represents New Zealand’s Māori and Pacific heritage and context and strengthens the University’s relationship with mana whenua.
  • enhances the University’s physical and cultural environment through the display of art works and their incorporation into the university’s physical spaces.

A Brief History

In early December 1965, University funds were allotted for the purchase of artworks within the 1966 academic year. The collection was inaugurated by the acquisition of a painting and two drawings by Colin McCahon.

Since then the collection has acquired some major works by significant New Zealand artists, including Gretchen Albrecht, Don Binney, Neil Dawson, Pat Hanly, Frances Hodgkins, Paul Hartigan, Ralph Hotere, Colin McCahon, Milan Mrkusich, Gordon Walters, John Weeks, Robin White and Toss Woollaston.

Almost fifty years later, with the amalgamation of the College of Education collection, there are now around 1700 works in the collection on display throughout our various University campuses. As buildings are redeveloped or earthquake strengthened, works are removed for safekeeping and stored in the vault at the Kenneth Myers Centre in Shortland Street before redeployment in offices, meeting rooms, hallways and teaching rooms across the University.

View the history of the Art Collection video

Teaching and research

The collection is an invaluable resource for teaching, learning and research. Postgraduate research on the collection has included a thesis on its own history as an entity, monograph exhibitions on individual artists such as ‘A Continuous Line: the art of Dennis K. Turner’ which was based on art history postgraduate student Richard Wolfe’s MA thesis, is now touring to Rotorua and Hamilton. Surveys of the relationship of the evolution of the University’s art collection to the development of Auckland’s dealer galleries, has resulted in exhibitions and publications such as Vuletic and His Circle (about the Petar/James Gallery) in 2003 and New Vision Gallery in 2008.

Individual works from the collection are reproduced in books, serials and on websites as well as being loaned for exhibition to art galleries and museums around the country and in Australia, making the collection an asset which is valued nationally as a key part of New Zealand’s cultural heritage.

* Some arts are not displayed because of copyright restrictions or their copyright status is being determined.

Acquisition of works

Any donations or bequests of artworks must meet the collecting objectives. Proposals for donations or bequests will be considered by the Art Acquisitions Committee to determine if they meet the collection scope of the Art Collection. For more information, email artcollection@auckland.ac.nz

Deaccession of works

Decisions regarding deaccessioning of artworks are made by the Art Acquisitions Committee, with recommendations from the Art Collection team. Works may be deaccessioned in the case of:

  • Damage beyond reasonable repair
  • Obsolescence due to site-specificity
  • Loss or theft
  • Incongruence with Collection priorities
  • Work is being requested, and approved by the Art Collection Committee, for repatriation
  • Art work presents a health and safety hazard, either to staff or to other works of art

In the case of deaccession, the Art Collection will endeavour to contact the donor, artist, estate or copyright holder to inform them. Works may be returned, sold or disposed of as deemed appropriate by the Art Acquisitions Committee.

Any income realised from the sale of works of art will only be used for further acquisitions of art work, or the care and conservation of the collection.


A continuous line : the art of Dennis K. Turner
Richard Wolfe; National Institute of Creative Arts and Industries (University of Auckland). Centre for Art Studies

Vuletic and his circle
Edward Hanfling; Alan Wright 1944-; Gus Fisher Galler

Tyler, L. (2017) Precious history. UniNEWS, 46(10), 10-11.



Art Type