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Regular tours at the Hocken

Behind the scenes tours

Every Thursday at 11am (tours are 50 minutes)

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. Tour starts at Hocken reception.

Current exhibitions

Artists and Letters, Pictures and Words

Saturday 22 June- Saturday 31 August 2024

Discussions for this exhibition began in 2017 when Ron O’Reilly’s family offered to donate his correspondence with artists and associated exhibition catalogues, photographs and documents to the Hocken Collections Te Uare Taoka o Hākena. That collection contains letters dating from the 1940s to the early 1980s, primarily from artists Colin McCahon and Toss Woollaston, along with a handful from other artists and cultural identities including Charles Brasch and Rodney Kennedy. This illuminating material joins significant existing collections of art and archives at the Hocken, including the Colin and Anne McCahon papers and over 200 artworks by Colin McCahon.

Te Papa Press’s publication of the 2024 book Dear Colin, Dear Ron: The Selected Letters of Colin McCahon and Ron O’Reilly, by Peter Simpson with essays by Matthew O’Reilly and Finn McCahon-Jones, provided an ideal opportunity to present an exhibition linked to McCahon and O’Reilly’s shared correspondence. In Artists and Letters, Pictures and Words, the context surrounding artworks and letters is expanded by the inclusion of relevant material from the Hocken’s archives, artist files and published collections.

The Hocken would like to thank the following lenders to the exhibition: Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Dowse Art Museum, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Dunedin Public Library, Reed Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Otago Ōtākou Whakaihu Waka Embellishment Collection and Special Collections, The Hotere Foundation Trust and the private collectors who have entrusted their works with us.

The exhibition has been curated by Peter Simson and Robyn Notman with support from Hocken curators Kākahu Banks, Anna Blackman and Hope Wilson.

Artists and Letters, Pictures and Words runs Saturday 22 June-Saturday 31 August 2024. Hocken Gallery open hours are Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm.

Upcoming events

Saturday 22 June at 11am

Artists and Letters, Pictures and Words exhibition talk with Peter Simpson and Finn McCahon-Jones.

Image credit: Colin McCahon, Harbour Cone from Peggy's Hill, 1939, oil on textured ground on board: 750 x 1333 mm, Hocken Collections Te Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago Ōtākou Whakaihu Waka, 73/86. John & Ethel McCahon Bequest, 1973. Reproduced courtesy of the Colin McCahon Research and Publication Trust.

Visitors observing painting in gallery

The Hocken Collections and Gallery are open to all researchers and exhibition visitors:

Tuesday–Saturday, 10am–5pm
Sunday–Monday, Closed

Exhibition Programme

Exhibition catalogues

Events Archive

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