Ka Mua, Ka Muri!

By February 1987 Aotearoa New Zealand had been experimenting with internet connections for more than a decade. Parliament had passed the Homosexual Law Reform Act six months prior, and within six more it would make Te Reo Māori the first official language of Aotearoa New Zealand.

This was the time in which Artspace arrived, emerging from a plan by Auckland City Council for a new public art gallery. Twelve years later, on the threshold of the millennium, Artspace Aotearoa moved to Karangahape Road, where Guy Ngan’s aluminum sculpture, Star (1973), still adorns the entrance to the old Newton Post Office building. Suitably affixed to one of the few contemporary independent art organisations that mediated contact with the world. Ngan’s public art work was a presentiment of the future of Auckland as a growing city, embracing modernity by engaging with the radical social implications at its horizon. We walk backwards into the future; ka mua, ka muri.

Artspace Aotearoa has grown into a modest, lean contemporary institute for supporting visual art with civic intent. Artspace Aotearoa works within a city, nation and world, knitting together stories that interpret, react, and respond to these permeable borders and the ever-changing societies that exist within them. We have built an approach to our programme and organisation that seeks to care, support, and inspire, making exhibitions that both promote NZ art and actively engage with voices from elsewhere.

Artspace Aotearoa is proud of its long commitment to, and support from, an active community of artists, benefactors, writers, performers, academics and many more who shape the reality we live. We also know that this reality is not the same for all of us, and that many imaginations of how and where we live have many unheard voices. Sometimes what we do is unbalanced, or not enough. We work towards imagining more, better, and in other ways.

Tūī Matira Ranapiri-Ransfield, He Manu Taiko

Tūī is a descendent of Ohomairangi and Mākuratawhiti of the Ngāti Ohomairangi people. Her grandparents hail from the vessels: Te Arawa, Hōkioi, Tainui, Honoiti, Uruao, Hohou-te rongo, Kaiwhare, Mataatua, Nukutere, Nukutaimemeha, Paikea, Ārai-te-uru, Uruao, Tākitimu, Manuka, Maahunui, Ko Wai Ka Tohu, Kurahaupō.

A highly skilled Māori performing artist, Tūī is an expert in Mau rākau a Matarua (Weaponry Māori). She is a specialist in patu (short clubs) and teaches this artform to people of Aotearoa, Australia, Hawaii and London. Tūī is the senior wahine karanga for her many pā/marae throughout Te Arawa, mai Maketu ki Tongariro. Tūī performs karanga me te poroporoākī no matter what pā or environ and surrounds she enters throughout Aotearoa’s landscape, near and far.

Tūī is a kapa haka guru, traditional, marae/pā and contemporary creator, composer, singer, choreographer, mentor, performing artist, tutor and first female tutor and leader of Te Matarae-i-Ōrehu 1994 - 1997 (top National Kapa Haka), and over the last 40+ years has been a judge for Māori performing art forms from primary through to tertiary level, including senior regional levels, and for Te Matatini. She has stood with the crème de la crème groups in Aotearoa from the age of 16 years. She has judged various ahurei and ahurea throughout Aotearoa, Hawai’i and Australia, including traditional and contemporary contexts/festivals and competitions.

“Te Arawa māngai nui ūpoko tūtakitahi e kore e nuku, hei hā!”
“Ngā puna he rau a Atuamatua!”


Ruth Buchanan, Kaitohu Director

Bridget Riggir-Cuddy, Manahautū General Manager

Robbie Handcock, Kaiāwhina Whakaaturanga Assistant Curator

Kaitlin Dedman, Kaiwhakapā Communications Assistant


The Board is guided by a Tiaki model with three core focus areas:

Cultural Strategy:
Tikanga; Kawa; Sector Growth; and Strategic Networking

Creative Well-being:
Leadership and staff Well-being; Artist Relationships; Art-space and Art-place (Identity)

Commercial Resilience:
Audit and Risk, Benefactors, Business Innovation and Funding Partnerships

Tiaki - Trustees

Desna Whaanga-Schollum, Kaihautū Chairperson

Iwi: Rongomaiwahine, Kahungunu, Pāhauwera. Hapū: Ngāi Tahu Matawhaiti. M. Sci Comm (Otago University 2018); Adv. Cert, Te Ara Reo (Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, 2004); B.Design (Unitec 1997).
Current Communications Advisor Māori, for Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge and an Ambassador for Landscape Foundation NZ, Desna actively involved in indigenous discourse, stakeholder engagement and Kaupapa Māori leadership, strategy, research, design and communications. She has worked with, promoted, elevated, and connected Māori and indigenous professionals and communities continuously throughout her career. Governance roles include; Chair, Ngā Aho Māori Design Professionals; Trustee, Arts Foundation NZ; Governance Board Member, Auckland Urban Design Panel. Governance Committee Treasurer, Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery (2015-18).

Hamish Coney, Trustee

Hamish joined the Artspace Aotearoa board in 2019. He is an Auckland based art advisor, writer and curator. From 2007 to 2018 he was the founding managing director of the auction house Art+Object. In 2021 he was the project manager for the Artspace Aotearoa fundraising event When the Dust Settles - which featured the support of over 35 Artspace Aotearoa alumni artists. Hamish also provides valuation advice and consultancy to many of New Zealand’s public galleries and bodies including Te Papa Tongarewa, Auckland Museum, The Kingitanga, The University of Auckland, Auckland Council, The Auckland Art Gallery, The Canterbury Museum and Waikato Museum. As an arts writer, he was the winner of the Qantas Media awards arts columnist of the year in 2009 and he currently contributes a monthly column for Newsroom (2017 - present). In 2022 he was guest curator at the Adam Art Gallery for the exhibition Tēnei Ao Tūroa. A graduate in Art History from the University of Auckland he has a particular interest in benefactor engagement and corporate patronage.

Dr Diana Albarrán González, Trustee

Dr Diana Albarrán González is a Native Latin American design researcher from Mexico. She is a lecturer and researcher in the Design programme at Elam Te Waka Tūhura in the Creative Arts and Industry faculty at the University of Auckland. She graduated from the Māori and Indigenous faculty, Te Ara Poutama, at Auckland University of Technology where her PhD research focused on the decolonisation of design in collaboration with Mayan weavers from Chiapas, Mexico, her birthplace. She proposes a Buen Vivir-Centric Design model towards a fair-dignified life, based on collective well-being, textiles, crafts-design-arts, embodiment and creativity. Diana has more than 18 years of international experience in places like New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, Spain and Mexico applying, re-learning, researching and teaching design. This has given her the ability to address challenges in a variety of contexts, and the opportunity to develop a meaningful sense of culture and diversity awareness and sensitivity. She is a craftivist, a mother and an active member of the Latin American community seeking to contribute to women's and families' well-being through connections to our own cultural roots.

Guillermo Merelo, Trustee

With a strong background in public management and public policy, Guillermo has worked as a senior public officer, columnist, lecturer and academic researcher in Latin America, Europe and New Zealand. His academic work revolves around diversity, equity and inclusion. He is also a People and Culture specialist with over 30 years of experience in diversity, organisational development and change. Guillermo believes in a world where art is inclusive of all groups shaping the rich tapestries of societies. He has worked as Research Fellow at AUT, Head of Research and Innovation at Diversity Works New Zealand and he currently works as Associate Director of Staff Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the Waipapa Taumata Rau | The University of Auckland.

Janine Randerson, Trustee

Janine Randerson is an artist and writer from Aotearoa New Zealand. Her moving image installation works are exhibited in the Asia-Moana region and internationally. She often practices in collaboration with community groups, mana whenua, and environmental scientists from urban meteorologists to glaciologists. Janine’s book Weather as Medium: Toward a Meteorological Art (MIT Press, 2018) focuses on modern and contemporary artworks that engage with our present and future weathers. She has curated programmes with CIRCUIT: Artist Film and Video Aotearoa New Zealand and she is currently working on a curatorial project with Te Tuhi gallery and Artangel (London). In addition, she is a LASER talk chair (Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous) and an Associate Professor in Art and Design at AUT University, Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland.

Roberta Tills, Trustee

Roberta most recently was the Finance Director / Business Manager for Whitecliffe College of Arts & Design for 10 years. She has an MA in Arts Administration from City University, London. She is also currently the co-owner of a local backpackers, Brown Kiwi. Previous experience has included owning small businesses, managing the Sky City Theatre, Bay of Islands Arts Festival, and projects at the Shakespeare's Globe, London, Brighton Arts Festival. She has always been interested in contemporary New Zealand art.

Emily Parr, Secretary

Emily Parr (Ngāi Te Rangi, Moana, Pākehā) is an artist living in Tāmaki Makaurau. Her moving-image practice weaves through time and space, exploring systems of relation emerging from Te Moananui-a-Kiwa. Emily is a PhD candidate and part of the Vā Moana research cluster at AUT. Her doctoral research considers the responsibilities she has inherited through her ancestral legacies and, in particular, to her family’s collection of taonga and measina held by museums. Emily has recently exhibited with City Gallery Wellington, CIRCUIT, The Physics Room, and Te Uru, St Paul Street, and Gus Fisher galleries. She has presented her research internationally with the Pacific Basin Institute, the Native American & Indigenous Studies Association, and the Global Asia/Pacific Art Exchange. Emily holds a BFA (Hons) from Elam and an MVA from AUT. She was the recipient of the 2019 Iris Fisher Scholarship and a 2021 Auckland Museum Institute Postgraduate Scholarship.

Former Directors

Remco de Blaaij, (2017-2022)

Remco came to Artspace Aotearoa from the position of Senior Curator at the Centre of Contemporary Arts in Glasgow, where he had worked since 2012. Previously, he co-curated Picasso in Palestine whilst working at the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands, since 2007. He worked on the team of Be(com)ing Dutch, a two-year elaborate project in the museum that dealt with residues of globalisation, national identity and immigration. In 2011, he concluded his research at the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths University with the publication ‘too little, too late,’ which focused on border practices of visual culture against the background of Suriname, South America. In 2013 he was recipient of the CPPC/ICI Travel Grant for Central America and the Caribbean. At CCA he curated The Shock of Victory, an exhibition in reaction to the Independence Referendum in Scotland in 2014.

Misal Adnan Yıldız (2015-2017)

Misal Adnan Yıldız is currently co-director of Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden in Germany (2021). He studied psychology and education at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul and later completed his master’s degree in visual arts and image theory at Sabancı University. From 2006 to 2008, he completed the Curatorial Studies Programme Curatorlab/Konstfack, was a fellow of the Swedish Institute and worked with the Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s International Programme for Visual and Applied Artists. In 2010, Misal Adnan Yıldız worked as a research curator for the Independent Study Programme at the Valand Academy of Arts in Gothenburg/Sweden.

He is currently a member of the board of the New Centre for Research & Practice and teaches curatorial methods there. Yıldız is the former director of Artspace Aotearoa in Auckland/New Zealand (November 2014 – June 2017) and was previously artistic director at Künstlerhaus Stuttgart (2011-2014). His exhibition projects such as “Time Challenger” for HISK, Ghent, “There is no audience” for Montehermoso, Vitoria-Gasteiz, “Correct me if I’m critical” as a multi-venue project in Berlin for the Swedish Embassy, “A History of Inspiration” for the Palais de Tokyo in Paris as part of “Nouvelles vagues” (New Waves) and the multi-location project “Mutterzunge” in Berlin were awarded in the context of calls for proposals.

Caterina Riva (2012-2015)

Caterina Riva co-founded the curatorial project space FormContent (2007-2011) in London with Francesco Pedraglio and Pieternel Vermoortel. She then moved to Auckland, New Zealand to be the Director and Curator at Artspace (2011-2014). In 2016, Riva worked at Istituto Svizzero in Rome and Milan and was Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore (2017-2019).

Caterina Riva is currently (2021) the Director of MACTE–Museo di Arte Contemporanea di Termoli in Molise, Italy.

Emma Bugden (2008-2011)

Emma Bugden is strategic lead of creative industries and arts for Whanganui & Partners. Formerly she was the Managing Curator of SCAPE Public Art, responsible for the selected exhibition element of the SCAPE Public Art Season 2019 through to 2021.

Bugden has carved out a career in the arts over two decades. She is a recognised curator, writer, editor and contemporary art maven holding key roles including Senior Curator at the Dowse Art Museum in Lower Hutt, Director of the Physics Room in Christchurch, Director of ARTSPACE in Auckland, Curatorial Director at Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts in Auckland, and Curator at City Gallery Wellington.

Originally trained as an artist, she has worked as a curator for both independent spaces and public art museums, holding key leadership roles within the sector. She has worked with over 100 artists to realise ambitious and challenging exhibitions that have toured New Zealand. Bugden has a reputation as a fierce advocate for artists with a passionate belief in the power of art to transform and enrich communities.

Bugden has served on numerous panels and trusts. She was New Zealand Nominator for the Signature Art Prize 2018 at the Singapore Art Museum and a Juror for the 2016 Walters Prize.

Brian Butler (2005 – 2008)

Brian Butler is the Director of 1301PE, an LA-based gallery that represents internationally renowned artists including Fiona Banner, Jorge Pardo, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Pae White, and Superflex.

Tobias Berger (2003 – 2005)

Tobias Berger is now (2021) Head of Arts at the JC Central Police Station project in Hong Kong. Previously he has worked at the Kunsthalle Fridericianum, the Triennial in Vilnius, ARTSPACE in Auckland, Para/Site Art Space in Hong Kong, was Chief Curator at the Nam June Paik Art Center in Korea and curator at M+ in Hong Kong.

In 2002, Berger was artistic director of the 8th Baltic Triennial of International Art in Vilnius, Lithuania, which presented more than 50 East European and international artists in an exhibition entitled “Center of Attraction". In 2004, he was responsible for developing the concept for the New Zealand contribution to the Sao Paulo Biennial and in the same year in New Zealand, he curated sections of the Auckland Triennial and “Work It!” for the Art & Industry Biennial in Christchurch. Other international Biennial projects which included exhibitions organized by Berger include Guangzhou, China (2005) and Busan, South Korea (2006).

Hanna Scott (2002-2003)

Hanna Scott is currently a Senior Programme Leader, Arts and Culture at Auckland Council and ran Artspace Aotearoa as an interim Director in 2002. With a strong background in creative industries, Hanna Scott has worked with the architectural design community, brand marketing, communications and publishing, in roles where I combine business knowledge, analytic skills and creative expertise to increase profile and revenue for clients and employers.

Robert Leonard (1997-2001)

Robert is currently (2021) Chief Curator at City Gallery Wellington, New Zealand. He has held curatorial posts at Wellington’s National Art Gallery, New Plymouth’s Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, and Auckland Art Gallery, and have directed Auckland’s Artspace and Brisbane’s Institute of Modern Art. His curated shows include Headlands: Thinking through New Zealand Art for Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art in 1992 and Mixed-Up Childhood for Auckland Art Gallery in 2005. I curated New Zealand representation for Brisbane’s Asia-Pacific Triennial in 1999, the Sao Paulo Biennale in 2002, and the Venice Biennale in 2003 and 2015. In City Gallery he curated Yvonne Todd: Creamy Psychology (2014), Julian Dashper & Friends (2015), Francis Upritchard: Jealous Saboteurs (2016), Colin McCahon: On Going Out with the Tide (2017), John Stezaker: Lost World (2017), This Is New Zealand (2018), and Iconography of Revolt (2018).

Lara Bowen (1993-1996)

Lara Bowen has been working in the international tech sector for two decades after her tenure at Artspace Aotearoa. She has recently returned to Aotearoa New Zealand from the UK and works for Exploration Lab here in Aotearoa. She is an advocate for high-level physical and virtual technology solutions and invents tools for Netflix and brands, producing XR and metaverse experiences.

Priscilla Pitts (1989-1993)

Priscilla Pitts is a freelance writer and curator and formerly was General Manager Heritage Destinations for the New Zealand Historic Places Trust Pouhere Taonga, responsible for the forty-eight properties cared for by the Trust. She was also formerly director of the Dunedin Public Art Gallery and Otago Settlers Museum, the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and ARTSPACE (NZ) in Auckland. She has written extensively on contemporary New Zealand art, curated exhibitions and was a co-founder of Antic, a journal of arts, literature, theory and criticism. In a distant former life, she freelanced as a theatre designer.

Mary-Louise Browne (1987-1989)

The inaugural Director of Artspace, Mary-Louise Browne is a practicing artist who is represented by Bartley and Company, Wellington. She is represented in major public and university collections throughout the country. Her commissioned public artworks can be seen in the Botanic Gardens, Wellington; Civic Square, Wellington; Lorne Street, Auckland CBD and Nuffield Street, Newmarket, Auckland. She currently lectures in Theory at Unitec School of Design, Auckland and is a former Curator at City Gallery Wellington.

Former Staff

Georgina Bret (Production Manager, 2018-2022)
Aliyah Winter (Front of House and Communications Assistant, 2021-2022)
Meijing He (Manahautu General Manager, 2019-2022)
Daniel John Corbett Sanders (Kaiāwhina Whakaaturanga Assistant Curator, 2021-2022)
Geneva Alexander-Marsters (Marketing, Media, and Communications Assistant -2021
Tyson Campbell (Assistant Curator, 2020-2021)
Lachlan Taylor (Assistant Curator, 2019-2020)
Jaimee Stockman-Young (Gallery Administrator, 2017)
Leah Mulgrew (Communications Coordinator, 2011-2017)
Bridget Riggir-Cuddy (Curatorial Assistant, 2017)
Cameron Ah Loo-Matamua (Education Intern, 2017)
Anna Gardner (Gallery Administrator, 2010-2016)
Henry Davidson (Curatorial Assistant, 2015)
Louisa Afoa (Education Intern, 2015)
Amelia Hitchcock (Curatorial Assistant, 2013/2014)
Ahilapalapa Rands (Education Intern, 2014)
Alex Davidson (Curatorial Assistant, 2012/2013)
Ioana Gordon-Smith (Education Intern, 2013)
Arron Santry (Curatorial Intern, 2011)
Annie Bradley (Communications Manager, 2010)
Lena Kovac (Administrator, 2010)
Roman Mitch (Curatorial Intern, 2010)
Vera Mey (Education and Media Intern, 2010)
Robyn Maree Pickens (Curatorial Intern, 2009)
Victoria Henderson (Resource Manager, 2009)
Kate Brettkelly-Chalmers (Curatorial Intern, 2008)
Ida Moberg (Communications Manager, 2007)
Ariane Craig-Smith (Curatorial Intern, 2007 and Project Manager 2019)
Laura Preston (Curatorial Intern, 2006)
Tessa Giblin (Assistant Curator, 2005)
Sonya Korohina (Administrator, 2001)
Constance McArdle (Projects Manager, 1998)
Kelly Carmichael (Administrator, 1998)

Te Tiriti o Waitangi

Artspace Aotearoa acknowledges Te Tiriti o Waitangi / The Treaty of Waitangi as Aotearoa New Zealand’s founding document. Artspace Aotearoa prioritizes the analysis, development and maintenance of practices which nurture the evolving relationship of the dual constitutional heritage of Te Tiriti.

Within our strategic development for the 2015-2018 period, Artspace Aotearoa began incorporating mātauranga Māori more visibly and effectively into organisational leadership. For 2019 and beyond, this strategic focus will continue to explore how we might develop and apply:

— Pūrākau and whakapapa foundational practices
— Tikanga and principles based practices
— Respectful, reciprocal relationships with Mana Whenua, Mataawaka and Tauiwi in Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland.

Creative Commons

All texts written by Artspace Aotearoa are under the Creative Commons License. Texts by external authors or sources usually are not, except where noted otherwise.

2018 Report

2018 Performance Report, Artspace Aotearoa.



+64 9 303 4965

292 Karangahape Road
Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland 1010
Aotearoa New Zealand

292 Karangahape Road
Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland 1010
Aotearoa New Zealand


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