50 / fifty - 50 Years of Aratoi

Barbara Hepworth Galliard – Forms in Movement 1956, copper and bronze. Aratoi Wairarapa Museum of Art and History. (Photo: John Casey)
Hei Tiki, pounamu. Collection of Aratoi Regional Trust, Broughton Collection. Aratoi Wairarapa Museum of Art and History. (Photo: John Casey).
Colin McCahon Poem I, II, III 1974, acrylic on hessian, Norman Prior Bequest Collection. Aratoi Wairarapa Museum of Art and History.
Robin White Summer Grass 2001 oil on wallpaper, purchased with funds from Phoebe Maunsell Bequest, Prior Family and Friends of Aratoi. Aratoi Wairarapa Museum of Art and History.
Gladys Eastwood Before the Storm, Marlborough Sounds series 1975, oil on canvas, Gift of the artist’s husband. Aratoi Wairarapa Museum of Art and History.
Bridget Bidwill Still life with flowers 2013, acrylic on paper, purchased with funds from the Phoebe Maunsell Bequest. Aratoi Wairarapa Museum of Art and History.
Ship Biscuit, 1869, flour, salt and water, from the HMS Galatea, captained by Queen Victoria’s second son, Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, Masterton Museum Collection. Aratoi Wairarapa Museum of Art and History.
William Sutton Landscape Elements No II 1970, oil on board, purchased with money from a bequest from B.A. & M.A. Kummer. Aratoi Wairarapa Museum of Art and History.
Vera Jamieson Totem I oil on canvas, purchased in 2000 by the Wairarapa Cultural Trust (the previous incarnation of Aratoi Regional Trust). Aratoi Wairarapa Museum of Art and History.
Masterton Methodist Junior Ladies tray 1910, Gift of Dr Owen Prior 2001. Aratoi Wairarapa Museum of Art and History.
In 2019, Aratoi celebrates its first 50 years.


50 Years of Aratoi

In 2019, Aratoi Wairarapa Museum of Art and History, in Masterton, celebrates its first 50 years of existence with an exhibition representing 50 years of collecting: 50/fifty: 50 years of Aratoi.

With more than 3,000 items to choose from it has been no easy task, but the selection reflects the highlights and significant events, as well as the many gifts received, that have helped form the Aratoi collection.

From the obvious, such as work by Colin McCahon, Robin White and Barbara Hepworth, to the less obvious: an 1869 ship’s biscuit with a tale to tell of the visit of a prince; from Taonga Māori and moa bones to botanical sketches and sculpture, from photographs of early settlement to contemporary art, there will be some surprises as items never shown before emerge into the light.

The 50th celebrations include public events, an education programme, and a publication.                                                                                                                  

Opening: Friday, 16 August, 5.30pm. Guest speaker: Luit Beiringa. MC Bob Francis, QSE, MBE. The exhibition will be officially opened
by Wairarapa Mayors Lyn Patterson, Viv Napier & John Booth. Please RSVP to info@aratoi.co.nz or by Tel: 06 370 0001.

Public Talk: Saturday 17 August, 11am with Director Susanna Shadbolt and Collection Manager Bronwyn Reid

Free public floortalks, every second Sunday, from 1 September, 2pm

1/9          The 1970s – Luit Bieringa, former Aratoi Director, Director of the National Art Gallery (1979-89)

15/9       The 1980s – Barbara Roydhouse, Wairarapa Arts Foundation Committee Member (1984-1989) and Chair (1989-1993); Current Chair of Aratoi Regional Trust 

29/9       The 1990s – Bob Francis QSO MBE, Mayor of Masterton (1986-2007)

13/10     The 2000s – Richard Arlidge, former Aratoi Director

27/10     The 2010s – Dame Robin White, Honorary Patron of Aratoi                                                                                                                            

Publication launch: 11 October, 5.30pm, - This publication will be launched on October 11th, the museum’s actual birthday, with texts by Gregory O’Brien, Sian van Dyk, Bronwyn Reid, Jill Trevelyan and others.                                                                                           

The exhibition continues until 10 November.    


 The exhibition is proudly supported by Hansells, Goodeye and Resene.           


Aratoi is open daily, 10-4, Koha is welcome.


Aratoi issues this media release just ahead of International Museum Day (May 18), and Ko Aotearoa Tēnei – This is New Zealand (May 22-24), the annual conference of Museums Aotearoa, of which it is a member. 



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About Aratoi Wairarapa Museum of Art and History, 12 Bruce St, Masterton, www.aratoi.co.nz                                                                                       

Residents of the Wairarapa purchased ‘Galliard – Forms in Movement’ by Barbara Hepworth in 1963, the first item in the collection, to advocate for the establishment of an arts centre in the region. The institution is the first in New Zealand to own a sculpture by the modernist artist. The doors would open six years later, in 1969.

Currently, the museum welcomes about 50,000 visitors each year, hosts 25-30 exhibitions annually, delivers an education programme to thousands of students, runs a live performance series, and operates a museum shop. The Aratoi collection remains the only public collection of art works in the Wairarapa.

Further information: 

Media contact:

Susanna Shadbolt, Director, Aratoi Wairarapa Museum of Art and History

Tel 06 370 0001 / susanna@aratoi.co.nz




(Updated June 18th)

Written by

Aratoi Museum

16 May 2019