About us

The Govett-Brewster is a contemporary art museum of the Pacific, located in Ngāmotu New Plymouth, Taranaki, with an international reputation and reach.

Founded on the vision of New Plymouth-born Monica Brewster and her aspirations for a contemporary art museum for her city, the Gallery works with artists and ideas to engage people and build communities through contemporary art.

The Gallery continues to build on its 50-year legacy of presenting art, from local, national and international contemporary artists that explores and celebrates who we are – our people, our place, our communities, our cultures, our histories and our understanding of the world.

Our Strategic Direction

Our purpose:
Firing the imagination and opening minds to create an expanded sense of what is possible.

Our ambition for the future: A bold and innovative contemporary art centre, connecting people, communities and cultures and encouraging critical dialogue about the world we live in.

Our strategic agenda:

Contemporary Pacific

· Presenting contemporary art of Aotearoa and the Pacific
· Exploring new ideas, practices, and experiences
· Connecting art with the community
· Reflecting international perspectives

Living Collection

· Developing the collection
· Assuring best practice custodianship
· Enabling access and interaction

Connected Community

· Welcoming all audiences
· Communicating with communities
· Growing productive partnerships

Valued People

· Embracing Te Ao Māori  
· Encouraging collaboration and cohesion
· Embracing diversity
· Assuring wellbeing

Resilient Institution

· Developing organisational capability
· Responsible environmental footprint
· Funding our future


Our Values

· He Ngākau Toi

We love art and the difference it makes to our lives.We value creativity within culture, and honour the arts and artists of Tangata Whenua and First Nations and the many contemporary artists within Aotearoa, the Pacific and internationally.

· Ōritetanga

We grow in genuine partnership with Tangata Whenua.
We build partnerships with Māori to enable learning and understanding, and facilitate the development of programmes and collections that celebrate the art and culture of Tangata Whenua.

· Mana Tangata

We embrace the mana of our people.
We foster caring and respectful relationships that welcome difference and diversity and recognise the unique potential of every person to make a valuable contribution to the community.

· Kotahitanga

We achieve more by working together.
We collaborate with artists, arts practitioners, arts organisations, and our supporters to create programmes that contribute to the development of contemporary art in Aotearoa.

· Hāpaitanga

We make a difference by helping others to succeed.
We operate inclusively holding a shared intention for the future, developing the individual and collective capability of our people to make a meaningful contribution within the wider community we serve.

· Oranga Tangata

We care about the wellbeing of our community.
We are committed to co-creating an enabling working environment that nurtures and supports the wellbeing of the people we work with, and to building a community that cares for the natural environment that we share.

The Regent Theatre in New Plymouth before it was transformed into the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in 1970

The Regent Theatre in New Plymouth before it was transformed into the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in 1970

Our History

Transforming the city’s decommissioned heritage cinema, the original museum opened in 1970 with a ground-breaking exhibition and multi-sensory installation. Since that time we have continued to present a lively programme where people can connect with art and artists through tours, talks, workshops, films, performances, music and education programs, and grow the permanent collection of paintings, video, installation and photography.

In 1977 we presented Kinetic Works, the first survey of Aotearoa artist Len Lye's work anywhere in the world. Just months before his death in 1980, Lye established the Len Lye Foundation to continue his artistic vision and, recognising the strength of the relationship between artist and museum, he chose the Govett-Brewster to be the home of Len Lye.

In 2015 we opened as the combined Govett-Brewster Art Gallery / Len Lye Centre with a renewed vision and vigour to promote and foster contemporary art and the conversations it encourages including the work and vision of Len Lye.

We continue to build on this history in a manner that honours Te Tiriti o Waitangi principles of partnership, participation and protection by recognising tangata whenua and respecting tikanga and taonga, and aims to engage our diverse local, national and international audiences.


Our Commitment to the Environment

The Gallery team is committed to a genuine and active response to the impacts of climate change. We are reviewing our operations and taking actions across all areas of our organisation, with projects looking at energy efficiencies, reusing or recycling materials, considering our travel and freight requirements, and preferring suppliers from the local creative community and industry where possible. Recent initiatives have included:

· Art Handling - moving to recyclable or biodegradable gloves

During the changeover of our exhibitions and other occasions when we handle or move art works, our exhibitions and registrations teams wear gloves to ensure the least possible impact on the art works. When possible we use washable and reusable cotton gloves, but on occasions when nitrile gloves are required, we have sourced gloves that biodegrade within two years rather than standard gloves which break down over 10 to 20 years.

· Creating an exhibition furniture library

Different exhibitions require different display and gallery furniture. Working with Puke Ariki, we have collated a furniture library that is shared with designers and curators in both places with the aim of encouraging greater reuse of existing exhibition furniture for the fit-out of our exhibitions, resulting in a significant decrease in resource use and waste.