Bishop Suter Memorial Art Gallery


Bishop Suter Memorial Art Gallery - Te Aratoi o Whakatū is the public arts gallery of the Nelson Tasman region. It is also an arts complex that includes a theatre, cafe and store. The Suter offers a dynamic range of exhibitions and education programmes.


The Suter Art Gallery was founded as a memorial to Andrew Burn Suter, Bishop of Nelson from 1866 to 1891. It opened on 31 May 1899 and has always been an important part of the region’s artistic life.

At the time, there were only two other art galleries in New Zealand. Bishop Suter had established the Bishopdale Sketching Club in 1889. His widow promised his art collection to an art gallery if established in his name. Frederick de Jersey Clere, a Wellington architect, was commissioned to design the new building.

By the mid 20th century, the existing building was inadequate in both size and in meeting modern gallery standards. From 1977 to 1979, the Matthew Campbell School's original porch and steps were demolished for a new foyer, but much of the original gallery remained intact.

As one of the first permanent structures built solely  for the display of art in New Zealand, The Suter is now the oldest gallery in continuous use throughout the country. It is registered as a historic place with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust - the registration relates only to the original Suter Gallery building.

For more information on the history of the gallery, visit the Suter's website.

Sights to see

Currently The Suter provides:

  • Shows from its permanent collection and national tours
  • Nelson Artists’ Exhibitions
  • Nelson Arts Festival Events
  • Art education services


The Suter Art Gallery is located at 208 Bridge Street in Nelson.