Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki now offers tours for Mandarin speakers, making it easier for Chinese Kiwis and tourists to learn about New Zealand art and culture.
The tours offer highlights across Auckland Art Gallery, including an introduction to the gallery’s art collection, Māori portraits and its award-winning building.
The 45-minute tours, hosted by gallery staff, will take place Thursdays to Sundays at 12.30pm at a cost of $10 per person.
A more meaningful experience
Auckland Art Gallery Director Rhana Devenport says Auckland Art Gallery has one of the highest Chinese visitation rates in Australasia, making up 10 per cent of all visitors.
"This is an audience we want to care for and grow," she says.
Gallery Visitor Experience Manager Richard Wormley says the tours should provide a deeper and more meaningful experience of the gallery for participants.
"We want to engage both local and international Chinese visitors with art content and help further develop their understanding of New Zealand culture," he says.
Learning through 'the charm of art'
New Chinese gallery assistant Hannah Xie says the first time she visited Auckland Art Gallery she wanted to learn about Māori culture so joined a guided tour, however she struggled to understand it, as English is her second language.
"I felt I lost a vivid introduction to the Māori story, and I think many other Chinese people will have had a similar experience," she says.
"I applied for the role as a tour guide because I want to help Chinese people integrate into New Zealand society better by learning about its culture and history in a way they can understand, through the charm of art."
Six new recruits
Hannah is one of a team of six Mandarin-speaking gallery assistants recently recruited and joins other Mandarin-speaking colleagues working at the Gallery. The tours will begin in the Gallery’s foyer with an introduction to the gallery, its history and architecture and will follow with information about the Gallery’s collection of New Zealand art and Māori culture through Māori portraits.
As well as the daily Thursday to Sunday tours, group bookings can be made for up to 15 people. To book email firstname.lastname@example.org.