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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.


Tuia - Southern Encounters

Monday 9 September, 10 a.m. – Saturday 11 January 2020

Curated by Hocken Librarian Sharon Dell.

When James Cook sailed down the Otago coast in 1770 he observed what he thought to be a barren uninhabited land. This exhibition weaves together taonga, images, maps, and knowledge handed down from ancestors to tell the story of how fifty generations had been living in southern New Zealand when the first explorers from another world visited these shores. The names of lakes and rivers, mountains, settlements and foodgathering sites remind us that long before Cook claimed Te Waipounamu for Great Britain, this land was the dearest possession of another people.

Tuia FB update pic edited


Ayesha Green, Kurawaka (2018)

New work by Imogen Taylor, 2019 Frances Hodgkins Fellow

Saturday 1 February 2020 - Saturday 28 March 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

April – 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.