Support Our Redevelopment Support Mahara Gallery


If you wish to make a donation to the Mahara Gallery Trust redevelopment, online donations made be made to:

   The Mahara Gallery Trust, Kiwibank account number:

   38 9019 0838904 03

   reference: (YOUR SURNAME) code: Redevelopment Project


Noted art historian’s family contributes to the MAHARA project

John McKinnon [right] has a peek at progress on the new MAHARA project along with, from left, Field Collection trustees Simon Brown & Kay Brown and Mahara Gallery Director Janet Bayly, 8 April 2022


The family of noted art historian and writer, the late Avenal McKinnon, has made a substantial contribution to the Mahara Gallery Redevelopment Project in recognition of her interest in the works of Frances Hodgkins and of her role in preserving the Field Collection, which contains 24 Hodgkins works.

The contribution was announced at a function in Waikanae’s Mahara Place on Friday 8 April — Avenal McKinnon’s birthday. Read more here





Council decision clears the way for Gallery upgrade to begin


Photo (from left): Mahara Gallery Director Janet Bayly, Waikanae Coummunity Board Deputy Chair and new Mahara Board trustee Margaret Stevenson-wright and Mahara Board Chair Gordon Shroff give the "thumbs up" for the gallery redevelopment.


The long-planned upgrade of the Mahara Gallery is scheduled to begin later this year.


This follows Kāpiti Coast District Council voting to confirm its $2.8 million commitment to the project’s $6.5 million estimated cost and agreeing to underwrite the project.


The Council’s decision follows the Mahara Gallery Trust’s recent success in securing significant government funding of $1.73 million from the Regional Culture and Heritage Fund towards the project. Read more here





Plans for the New Mahara double the number of exhibition galleries



Mahara Gallery MR info sheet July 2019


Frances Hodgkins Information Sheet 2019


Mahara welcomes appointment of architect for Gallery redevelopment


Mahara Gallery welcomes the appointment of Athfield Architects to design the redevelopment of the Gallery.

Mahara Chairman Professor Les Holborow says the appointment is a welcome step forward in the project which seeks to improve public gallery space and enable the Gallery to house and display the nationally-significant Field Collection, on offer to the Gallery on condition it is upgraded to museum-standard.

“We were pleased to work with the Council and the Field Collection Trust to select a preferred architectural firm to recommend to the Council,” he said.

“The number and quality of the proposals received was highly encouraging. They were an indication that the various firms had grasped the significance of what is being proposed.

“I am pleased that there has already been positive reaction to the news and the concept that Athfield Architects provided.

“I’m also aware there has been some public comment about the choice of a firm outside Kāpiti,” said Professor Holborow. “In making the choice, we were conscious of the need to appoint a firm with experience of designing art galleries as well as having good size and scale.

“We are satisfied that we have a design which, when realized, can become the cornerstone building for the Council’s plans for Waikanae to become a cultural hub and complement the Council’s plans for the town centre upgrade.

“The appointment provides us with a platform to relaunch the project and enables us to reignite the appeal for the remaining funding needed for the project to proceed.”

Professor Holborow said the Board looked forward to communicating the architect’s concept to the many people in the Kāpiti district who support the redevelopment of the Gallery.

Kāpiti Coast District Council comment:

“We’re pleased to welcome Athfield Architects on board and we’re excited to take the next steps on this project. Athfield Architects took part in a detailed tender process and showed they have the right experience to move this project forward alongside the Council and our community,” says Council Group Manager Regulatory Services Natasha Tod.

“The Gallery is an important community asset and we consulted on the redevelopment as part of the Long term plan 2018-38. Council remains committed to the $5.206 million budget project, with a third of the total costs coming from Council. The next steps are to progress the designs to enable the Mahara Gallery Trust to complete their fundraising for the remainder of the project’s budget.”

Waikanae Ward Councillor Michael Scott described the Athfield concept as inspirational and innovative, taking the best of the current building and creatively developing a concept for the District’s Gallery on the current site.

“The entire arts community will be very pleased to see the project progress. It’s a very exciting project and I’d like to acknowledge everyone that has been involved to move the project to this point – the Mahara Gallery Trust, the Field Collection Trustees, the steering group and staff.”

“We know people are anxious to see this project move along. As part of the design development we’ll be working with the Waikanae Community Board, stakeholders and the wider community to make sure the redevelopment reflects community needs, and helps increase the vibrancy of the Waikanae town centre.”

The attached photos are Athfield Architects’ impressions of the exterior of the Gallery redevelopment seen from the Countdown carpark and what the interior could look like.




The Field Collection is a collection of 44 works, 24 of them paintings by Frances Hodgkins (1869-1947), considered New Zealand’s most significant expatriate artist. It is the largest collection of Hodgkins’ work outside Te Papa and city collections in Dunedin, Auckland and Christchurch. It has a national reputation and is the subject of regular requests for loans for exhibitions by other institutions, and study access from scholars and art historians from within New Zealand and overseas. It has the potential to be a significant visitor attraction for Kāpiti. The collection originates in Frances’ sister Isabel marrying William Field and settling in Waikanae. Frances used the word “ancestral” when writing about Waikanae. She visited and painted there during her lifetime and her ashes, when returned from Britain, were interred in the family plot in Waikanae cemetery – once the Field family farm.


“Within this core of twenty-four works is found the essential early Frances Hodgkins from which her later work would spring. As a collection these paintings should never be underestimated for what they reveal to us about the nature of her beginnings as an artist, her complex relationship with her family, especially her sister Isabel, and the artistic taste of New Zealand during her lifetime.”


“This collection of forty-four artworks is unique in that it offers not only an insight into Frances Hodgkins’ work but also provides an opportunity to consider the art milieu which nurtured her. The collection also reveals the personalities and on-going commitment to art of a single family during a time-span of over a hundred years.”

Avenal McKinnon, former Director of the New Zealand Portrait Gallery and a Frances Hodgkins specialist, from Frances Hodgkins, The Link with Kāpiti, The Field Collection (2000).



Download pdf version here



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