8 great art destinations in New Zealand

By: Esha Chanda

Gibbs Farm Auckland Gibbs Farm, Auckland. Photo: Carme Aguayo Gibbs Farm Auckland
Dunedin street art 23 Dunedin’s street art. Photo: Liz Light Dunedin street art 23
Connells Bay Sculpture Park Waiheke Island Connells Bay, Waiheke Island. Photo: Getty Images Connells Bay Sculpture Park Waiheke Island

MCD takes you on an art trail with eight must-visit destinations across the country that are known for their brilliant artwork display

Gibbs Farm, Auckland

Gibbs Farm’s sweeping landscape shaped the creativity of the different artists who were commissioned for this project, resulting in sculptures of epic proportions. This sculptural park—built by Kiwi businessman Alan Gibbs—took nearly 20 years to create and, today, features works by 22 leading contemporary artists. Walk the land to experience art that embraces the rolling hills and the surrounding natural elements.

Lava Glass, Taupo

Glass art inspired by New Zealand’s scenery and landscapes forms the core of this sculpture garden in Taupo. The colourful glass sculptures—500 of them—that are sprawled across the one-acre ground were created by Lynden Over and his team in the glass blowing studio on-site. Apart from the garden, these magnificent pieces can be seen in the gallery, and if there’s an artwork you fancy, you can purchase it through their online store.

Art in a Garden, North Canterbury

Art in a Garden features work from around 100 artists every year. The perfectly manicured lawns of Flaxmere Garden provide an elegant setting for the work displayed from both emerging and established artists. While the sculptures sit amid the trees and ponds, the restored farm barn gallery displays paintings, glass works, and ceramics. This year’s exhibition will take place from 26 to 29 October.

Connells Bay, Waiheke Island

A 40-minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland will take you to a 60-acre coastal property that unites art with nature. Before the 30 permanent sculptures made their way to Connells Bay, owners John and Jo Gow planted native trees to build the park. On the two-hour-long guided walk across the sculpture park, you’ll find works from Neil Dawson, Chris Booth, and Fata Feu’u, each narrating a story of its existence.

Street art, Dunedin

Belgium artist ROA’s unique tuatara in Bath St, UK artist Phlegm’s mythical creature in Manse St, and Polish artist Natalia Rak’s mural on Bond St—Dunedin’s streets live and breathe art. The city embraces evolution. You’ll find meandering lanes and hidden alleys boasting 28 pieces of beautiful and thought-provoking graffiti.

The Giant’s House, Akaroa

Located in the historic town of Akaroa, The Giant’s House is a creation of Josie Martin, who restored and converted this two-storey villa into a B&B. The ornamentation in the garden—a combination of mosaic and sculptures—attracts tourists from across the country and beyond. Make sure you set aside plenty of time to explore the winding paths and the little nooks and crannies.

Various public installations, Christchurch

Christchurch is home to some of the best New Zealand art installations. The city’s landscape is being transformed with contemporary public artworks, thanks to SCAPE Public Arts—a group that installs public art all year round. Among them are Call me Snake by Judy Millar, Fanfare by iconic New Zealand artist Neil Dawson, and Caroline Rothwell’s two-tonne fibreglass sculpture Kotuku.

Hundertwasser toilets, Kawakawa

The public toilets, designed by Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser on the main street of Kawakawa, are a major tourist attraction and probably the most photographed toilets in New Zealand. This work of art features mosaic tiling, cobblestone flooring, sculptures, ceramic tiles, bottle glass windows, and a live tree that has been incorporated into the design.

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