The University of Waikato Art Collection

The University of Waikato holds a nationally significant art collection which has been developed to enhance the cultural environment of the University, and to foster an appreciation of the visual arts for staff, students, visitors and the community. It was initiated by staff and students in 1962 before the establishment in 1964 of the institution itself, with the purchase of the sculpture Last of the Just by Molly Macalister. This work was supported by funds raised within the establishing University community.

The primary focus of the University of Waikato Art Collection is original works of contemporary Māori, Pacific and New Zealand art practitioners, particularly those who have an association with the Waikato and/or Bay of Plenty regions. Holding over 600 artworks the collection consists of a broad range of contemporary art and taonga including paintings, works on paper, photography, textiles, ceramics, sculpture, whakairo and mixed media, amongst others. It is displayed across both University of Waikato campuses in Hamilton and Tauranga. The art collection includes work by many well-known Waikato artists, including Ida Carey, Joan Fear, Ruth Davey and Campbell Smith. Artists that have an association with the University such as Ted Bracey, Tom Field, John Bevan Ford and Donn Ratana are also well represented. Other artists of significance in the collection include Nigel Brown, Fiona Pardington, Michael Smither, Paul Dibble, Michael Illingworth, Buck Nin and Max Gimblett. There are also more than fifty sculptures and whakairo works sited around both campuses. A selection of these can be explored on campus through an audio sculpture tour which is available via Arataki - Cultural Walking Trails phone app.

With the opening of the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts in 2001 came a greater possibility for the display of visual arts on campus in the gallery spaces within. The Main Gallery and Foyer Galleries feature a diverse visual arts programme which shares a range of contemporary art from some of New Zealand’s most exciting artists. The exhibition programme also includes the display of artwork from the University of Waikato Art Collection.

The art collection is available as a research resource for staff, students, external researchers and the community. Enquiries into the art collection are encouraged and can be directed to the Art Collection Curator, [email protected].

A selection of the art collection can be viewed online at The University of Waikato Art Collection on NZ Museums.