Art Collection management plan and guidelines

The University has been collecting artworks since the 1960s and has amassed over 1900 artworks including significant works by major New Zealand artists. Most of these works are on display across the University’s campuses. Te Kohikohinga Toi o Waipapa Taumata Rau | The University Art Collection is a vital resource for teaching, learning and research, and a cherished part of the University’s intellectual and cultural life. As the kaitiaki of these taonga the University is committed to their ongoing care and display.

The Art Acquisition Committee (AAC), chaired by the Associate Director - Collections and Digital, Te Tumu Herenga, is responsible for strategic oversight and Collection acquisition decisions. 

Collection guidelines

The University Art Collection will be managed and developed with reference to the University’s mission and core values, notably:

  • Commitment to the conservation, advancement and dissemination of knowledge through teaching, research and creative work.
  • Commitment to collegiality, diversity and intellectual rigour.
  • Serving our student body. 
  • Advancing the intellectual, cultural, environmental and social wellbeing of the people of Auckland and New Zealand. 
  • Recognising the University’s special relationship with Māori under the Treaty of Waitangi.
  • Providing equal opportunities.
  • Open, responsible and accountable administrative practices.

The Collection will be managed in ways which:

  • Develop a Collection which fosters research, learning and teaching on the visual arts within the University.
  • Foster awareness and understanding of the visual arts in the University community.
  • Recognise the contribution of the Collection to the special character of the University as a tertiary institution and the cultural vitality of its physical spaces.
  • Develop a Collection that strongly represents New Zealand’s Māori and Pacific heritage and context and strengthens the University’s relationship with mana whenua.
  • Enhance the University’s physical and cultural environment through the display of artworks and their incorporation into the University’s physical spaces.
  • Allow the provision of a high standard of curatorial care for the Collection.
  • Take into consideration the University’s sustainable procurement practices when acquiring new pieces, and the ongoing conservation/maintenance needs of existing Collection items.

Our collecting categories are: 

  1. Art of the University of Auckland
  2. Art of the Auckland region
  3. Contemporary New Zealand Art
  4. Historical New Zealand Art


University staff and students may make purchase recommendations to the Art
Acquisition Committee for consideration. Faculties, schools and departments may also purchase works of art from their respective budgets, following
consultation with the Art Acquisition Committee. Recommendations and purchases must be in line with the Art Collection Guidelines above. Recommend an acquisition.

The University may also acquire art by commission following consultation with the Art Acquisition Committee. These commissions must comply with the Art Collection Guidelines and Categories. Funding may come from sources other than the art acquisition budget. Commissions will be managed by Art Collection staff and Property Services. 

Art may also be acquired by donation or bequest. Prior to acceptance, donations will be assessed against the Art Collection Guidelines and Categories, as well as any conditions set by potential donors. The University reserves the right to decline donations. Those considering making a donation or bequest should discuss their intentions with the University. Final decisions regarding acceptance of donations or bequests will be made by the chair of the Art Acquisition Committee in consultation with committee members.


Internal loans of University art are managed by the Art Collection staff and requests should be made using the contact form. Requests will be reviewed within two weeks of application.

Loan requests from New Zealand-based organisations such as accredited institutions, museums or professional galleries will be reviewed by the Director Libraries and Learning Services. 

Hanging and installation

If a loan request has been approved, a time for hanging/installation will be
arranged with relevant faculty admin and facilities staff. 

Please note, the remit of the Art Collection team is limited to works that are part of the Art Collection. We are not available to hang personal or departmental works,  though we can suggest contractors who may be able to help. 

Copyright and reproduction

The University will ensure the copyright, moral, intellectual and cultural property rights of the artists are respected and upheld in the documentation, display and reproduction of all art in the Collection. Copyright, moral, intellectual and cultural property rights will be taken into account when commissioning works and completing donation agreements. 

The University may reproduce images of artworks in the Collection for various purposes, including:

  • Representation of works on the Art Collection website
  • Art Collection promotional and outreach initiatives via University websites, booklets, postcards and so on.
  • Use in University research, learning and teaching activities
  • Supply to external parties working within a specific professional framework (e.g. gallery and museum curators; art historians and researchers; authors, editors and publishers) for use in exhibition catalogues and promotion, research, books and so on. 

Any reproduction (or use of such) is governed by agreements with the rights holders. When purchasing or accessioning works into the Collection we negotiate rights to reproduce the work for the above purposes. 

For reproductions of works currently in the Collection that have no current reuse rights agreement we do our best to attempt to contact the copyright holder and negotiate rights before providing these for use.

Care of the Collection

Those with material from the Art Collection in their spaces agree to act as joint custodians/kaitiaki for the work(s). Due diligence and care, with respect to works of art from the Collection, must be exercised at all times.

Proper ethical principles affecting either the integrity of the work and/or the artist are to be observed. This means that optimal exhibition standards must be maintained, by ensuring the display wall is in good condition, and that the work remains visible and is not obscured by furniture or other objects. Posters, calendars, notice boards, whiteboards and rubbish/recycling bins should not be placed near the work. 

Changes to the usual environmental conditions affecting works of art and taonga from the Collection (e.g. changes to lighting levels, security/surveillance, heating and humidity levels) should be reported to the Art Collection team immediately, preferably prior to the change taking place.

Appropriate security arrangements, such as locking doors and monitoring access to the works of art and taonga from the Collection, should be effected to safeguard the works.

Maintenance of Art Collection works

Maintenance of works will be arranged by, or in conjunction with, the Art Collection team. 

  • Maintenance and movement of Art Collection works is to be carried out by qualified professionals only.
  • Scheduled maintenance of all Art Collection works will be carried out periodically.
  • If Art Collection works in your space(s) require maintenance or cleaning, please let us know.

Damage to artworks

In the event of an artwork being damaged:

  1. Inform the Art Collection team with details of
    artwork, location, incident and damage and date/time if known. 
  2. Do not attempt to undertake repair of any artwork. 
  3. Costs of repair may be directed to parties responsible for the damage. 

Building maintenance in proximity to artworks

When maintenance or painting work is scheduled for an area where Art Collection work is hanging:

  1.  Contact the Art Collection team with details of the scope, type, location and timeframe of maintenance taking place.
  2. Work with the Art Collection team to assess whether the artwork needs to be moved.
  3. If need be, the Art Collection team will arrange for works to be moved and stored while maintenance takes place. It is the borrower's responsibility to inform the Art Collection team once building maintenance has been completed.

Deaccession of works

Decisions regarding deaccessioning of artworks (removal from the Art Collection) are made by the Art Acquisition Committee, with recommendations from the Art Collection team. Works may be deaccessioned in the case of:

  • Damage beyond reasonable repair
  • Obsolescence due to site-specificity
  • Loss or theft
  • Incongruence with Waipapa Taumata Rau values
  • Work being requested, and approved by the Art
  • Collection Committee, for repatriation
  • The artwork presenting a health and safety hazard, either to staff and students or to other works of art 

In the case of deaccession, the Art Collection team will endeavour to contact the donor, artist, estate or copyright holder to inform them. Works may be returned, sold or disposed of as deemed appropriate by the Art Acquisition Committee.

Any income realised from the sale of works of art may only be used for further acquisitions of artwork, or the care and conservation of the Collection.