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Exhibitions and Events

Regular Events at the Hocken

A rear view: Behind the scenes tours
Every Wednesday at 11am and 2pm (tours are 50 mins).

Join one of our friendly guides and learn about the Hocken. Check out the amazing materials in our archives, ephemera, maps, music/AV, photographs, pictures and published collections. Bookings not required. Limit of 10 people per tour. Tours start at Hocken reception.

What’s in store? Art!
First Saturday of each month at 11am-12pm.

Did you know that the Hocken has one of this country’s most important collections of modern and historic New Zealand art including works by leading artists such as Rita Angus, Ralph Hotere, Robin White and Colin McCahon? Hocken staff will take you into the pictures store-rooms to see some of these art treasures. Bookings are required: Tel 03 479 8868. Limit of 10 people per tour. Tour starts at Hocken reception.

Hocken Kupu Tohutohu
Third Thursday of the month 10.30am – 12pm.

A free service in which you can seek advice from our various collection specialists about aspects such as the maker, age, media, significance, handling, presentation and care of your own collection items. (Please note - we do not give valuations.) Meet in the Hocken foyer with your items. Bookings not required.


A Garden of Earthly Delights

On now until Sunday 11 August 2019

An immersive and sensory exhibition combining collection items from the Hocken Collections and the University of Otago’s research collections.

Including: works from the University of Otago Library’s Special Collections, the Embellishment Collection and the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship Trust Collection, together with objects from other University of Otago research collections in Archaeology, Botany, Geology, the Health Sciences Library and the W. D. Trotter Anatomy Museum. Designed to encourage an imaginative exploration of the relationships between the objects ‘A Garden of Earthly Delights’ celebrates 150 years of teaching, research, exploration, collecting and curiosity at the University of Otago, New Zealand’s first university.

Curated by Robyn Notman, Head Curator, Pictorial Collections, with assistance from 2008 Frances Hodgkins Fellow and artist Heather Straka with the support of collection specialists at the Hocken and across the University.

Photograph by Iain Frengley

Tuia - Southern Encounters

Saturday 7 September – Saturday 9 November 2019


Ayesha Green, Kurawaka (2018)

New work by Imogen Taylor, 2019 Frances Hodgkins Fellow

Saturday 30 November 2019 - Saturday 8 February 2020

Having primarily based her practice in Auckland until recently, 2019 Frances Hodgkins Fellow Imogen Taylor plans to use her residency in Dunedin to develop a substantial body of work towards her first significant solo exhibition in the South Island. Since graduating from Elam in 2010 she has primarily been interested in balancing abstraction and representation, referencing Modernist art movements such as Cubism, Bauhaus, New Zealand regionalism and exploring the collision between modernism and queer theory. She is also intending to complete the third and fourth issues of her feminist zine project ‘Femisphere’ while in Dunedin in 2019.


Imogen Taylor, Ripe (2019), courtesty of the artist and Michael Lett, Auckland

Colin McCahon: A Constant Flow of Light

Saturday 29 February – Saturday 6 June 2020

Focusing on the period between the mid-1930s and mid-1970s, ‘A Constant Flow of Light’ will include key works from the Hocken Collections that illustrate McCahon’s ideas and influences during this forty year period. The exhibition will also demonstrate how the Hocken’s significant holdings of Modernist New Zealand art were strategically developed from the 1950s onwards by enlightened professionals such as former Hocken Librarian Michael Hitchings and Hocken Art Curators Gordon Brown and Tim Garrity, cultural patrons such as Charles Brasch, Rodney Kennedy, Patricia France, poet John Caselberg and the McCahon family.

‘A Constant Flow of Light’ will coincide with a companion exhibition at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, as both institutions wish to acknowledge the artist’s significant relationship with Dunedin. Both exhibitions will share, investigate and interpret McCahon’s career for new and current audiences. The curation of ‘A Constant Flow of Light’ is led by Robyn Notman, Head Curator Hocken Pictures.


Colin McCahon, The Virgin and Child compared (1948), Hocken Collections 20,924, courtesy of the Colin McCahon Research and Publication Trust


Need help? Talk to one of our friendly Library staff.