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Waikato Museum celebrates 50 years of Friendship

8 May 2024

A philanthropic friendship of fifty years will be celebrated with a new exhibition open from Friday 10 May 2024 at Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato.

Art & Wonder: Gifts from the Friends of Waikato Museum is curated to acknowledge the 50th anniversary of the Friends of Waikato Museum. Artworks in the exhibition are a selection from the significant collection of objects, art, and taonga purchased over their 50-year history. 

“A golden milestone like this is a fantastic opportunity to show how much we appreciate the mahi and generosity of the Friends of Waikato Museum,” said Liz Cotton, Director of Museum and Arts.

“This passionate group has provided decades-long friendship through gifts to Waikato Museum’s permanent collection, fundraising, and offering a steady voice in advocating for the arts in Kirikiriroa Hamilton. The ongoing support of the Friends enables our Museum to flourish and grow.” 

“From a suite of Campbell Smith’s exquisitely detailed wood engravings to bold and irreverent ceramic sculptures by Paul Maseyk, the works here tell the story of the Friends’ love of contemporary art from the emerging and the established to the whimsical and the wonderful.”

Catherine Smith, President of the Friends of Waikato Museum, said,

"I am sure that the group of twelve who first met in February 1974 to form the Friends of Waikato Museum would be proud of the gifts and advocacy for art and history that we have provided over 50 years. We will continue to support Waikato Museum and those who collect and protect our extraordinary treasures." 

The title of the exhibition has been inspired by a symbolic and utopian painting, Wonder by Pat Hanly (1932 – 2004), which was purchased by the Friends in 1983. Other works also on display include their earliest purchase, Don Binney’s Erangi, Te Henga, Southward from 1976, and the most recent: Sara Tautuku Orme’s photograph, Ko Te Awa Ko Au – Darling (Darz), which won a Merit Award in the 2022 National Contemporary Art Award.  

The opening day of the exhibition will feature a free public event. Waikato Museum curator Dr Nadia Gush will be joined by Catherine Smith, President of the Friends of Waikato Museum, and author Peter Dornauf. In a panel talk held in the Museum’s lecture theatre, they will discuss a selection of contemporary Waikato artists and artworks from the exhibition. 

Art & Wonder: Gifts from the Friends of Waikato Museum is open daily from 10am to 5pm at Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato from Friday 10 May until Sunday 21 July 2024. Entry is free. 

The public event Art & Wonder: Panel Talk will be held 10.30am to 11.30am on Friday 10 May and is free to attend.


Image credit: Detail of Wonder, Pat Hanly, 1981, enamel and graphite on board. Collection of Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato, purchased with assistance from the Friends of Waikato Museum. Accession number 1983/83/1.


Please note

For te reo Maaori, Waikato Museum uses double vowels (uu) in place of vowels with a macron (ū) to represent a long vowel sound. This spelling approach is the preference of tangata whenua in Hamilton Kirikiriroa and Waikato iwi for te reo Maaori words.