Whirinaki Whare Taonga

Galleries and museum key icon.
Galleries and museum key icon.

Monday9:00 am – 4:00 pm.

Tuesday9:00 am – 4:00 pm.

Wednesday9:00 am – 4:00 pm.

Thursday9:00 am – 4:00 pm.

Friday9:00 am – 4:00 pm.

Saturday9:00 am – 4:00 pm.

Sunday9:00 am – 4:00 pm.

836 Fergusson Drive, Upper Hutt Central, Upper Hutt

04 527 2168

Whether it’s dinosaurs or the Mona Lisa, Whirinaki Whare Taonga is an arts centre that simply refuses to do boring.

At first glance, you’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise - the imposing, almost brutalist exterior dominates this corner of Fergusson Drive, its mix of plain wooden and concrete slats giving little away. Step inside - and past the glorious waft of baked goods from the in-house Dough Bakery - and it’s an entirely different proposition. A panoply of sights, sounds, and textures flow seamlessly throughout the five galleries that make up the centre, each with a revolving programme of exhibitions. With a focus on interactive experiences and family-friendly activities, laughter and chatter are constantly filling the spaces, whether it’s from a school group visiting for an art class, a gaggle of model train enthusiasts, or a jazz band playing to a relaxed audience.

It’s no wonder Whirinaki Whare Taonga manages to draw such an eclectic crowd - exhibitions in the past have ranged from dinosaurs and space photography to ceramics, impressionist paintings, superheroes, and more. And with its ability to pull in truly “blockbuster” exhibitions - think The Secrets of Mona Lisa from the Louvre, and 50 Greatest Photographs of National Geographic from The Smithsonian - the centre forms a pivotal part of Upper Hutt’s cultural identity.

A proud stalwart of the Upper Hutt arts scene, Whirinaki Whare Taonga aims to engage, enrich, inspire, and connect people through the arts - something it does a fine job of, judging from the hordes of people who flow through its doors every day.

Words by John Son & Photography by Anna Briggs

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836 Fergusson Drive, Upper Hutt Central, Upper Hutt

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