Suter Gallery Redevelopment


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Contractor: Scott Construction
Project Manager: Opus
Budget: $12 million
Status: Construction complete
Time frame: 2 years

The Suter Gallery officially reopens on Sunday 2 October 2016. See the activities planned for the day here and make sure you go along to see the new facility and enjoy the celebration.


August 2016

Adawn blessing ceremony was held on Friday 12 August at the Suter Gallery – Te Aratoi o Whakatu. Work on relocating the collection back to the Gallery is now in progress. Make sure keep to Sunday 2 October free in your calendar for the fun family reopening day!

July 2016

Construction is set to be completed this month, but there is much painstaking fit-out work to be done before the Suter Gallery doors can open.

Once the fit out of the building is complete, all the new systems that have been installed will be thoroughly tested before the Suter’s precious collection can be moved back to its reinvigorated home. The process of moving the collection is very delicate and will take several weeks to complete.

Afamily-focussed fun opening day is planned for Sunday 2October.

April 2016

Work is progressing well with most of the construction on track to finish at the end of June.

Recent key areas of work include:

  • Installation of the climate control system for the building.
  • The cladding of the exteriors is complete with the use of zinc and stone offering a textured look.
  • The exhibition spaces are well underway and feature specialist track lighting suspended from the ceiling so each exhibition can have tailored lighting.
  • A new education room will cater for The Suter’s highly regarded art education programmes.
  • The entry foyer is taking shape and will have a seven metre long reception desk.
  • Floor to ceiling windows at either end of the foyer and in the café, ensure the best use is made of the natural light and views.
  • A boardwalk is being built alongside the edge of the pond to create an accessible link between the Gallery, the Gardens and Albion Square.

Suter redevelopment april2016

December 2015:

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After the 2014 AGM of the Bishop Suter Memorial Art Gallery Trust, board members were treated to a guided walk through the site to see progress so far.

The single level concrete floor in the entrance lobby and gallery is in place, with a ramp to the lower level for the cafe.

Framework for the new collections and archive rooms, the upstairs administration area, the education room and the two new galleries is in place. The original gallery building is being restored with new insulation and earthquake strengthening work being installed under the original match lining. The historic floor is being re-piled by lifting it in one piece using tackles hung off the existing roof trusses. The original windows at the front entrance to the gallery have been uncovered and will be visible in the foyer. Work is on track to complete the main building by May 2016.

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Construction work on this project began in January 2015.

Bishop Suter Memorial Art Gallery - Te Aratoi o Whakatū is the Nelson Tasman region’s public art gallery and art complex. Open since May 1899, it played a vital role in the region’s cultural development. A new foyer was added in the late 1970s to meet modern standards.

The Suter is now the oldest gallery in continuous use throughout the country and the original Suter Gallery building is registered as a historic place with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust. However the original gallery needs major restoration to ensure it is a safe and appropriate facility for the future.

For more information about the history of the Suter Gallery click here.

For the Nelson City Council Suter Gallery webpage click here

In July 2014 Council signed a joint redevelopment agreement with the Bishop Suter Trust to establish a Project Governance Committee.

The Suter Redevelopment Programme includes:

  • Strengthening and restoring the original heritage gallery
  • Refurbishing the theatre and installing new seats
  • Developing larger exhibition spaces
  • Installing 21st century temperature and lighting controls, and a climate-controlled storage facility to protect art works on display and in storage
  • A new foyer and reception area to hold up to 300 people
  • An education room for children and adults
  • A new cafe overlooking the Queen’s Gardens