Standing under the towering kauri canopy and columns at Auckland Art Gallery’s entrance always takes my breath away. Most of my clients are impressed by the venue too, even before they step inside.  

Don’t be fooled by its modern outlook though. The Gallery was built in 1887 and is a Category 1 Historic Place that blends historical features with contemporary spaces. Just two years after an extensive restoration and expansion, it was named the World Architecture Festival’s 2013 World Building of the Year. 

Here’s a guide to the event spaces available for hire in one of the most desirable venues in Auckland’s CBD - Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki

Awe-inspiring spaces 

The North Atrium is the largest and one of the most requested spaces in the heart of the Gallery. It’s light-filled, with kauri columns that stretch three storeys to a stunning (also kauri) canopy - take a virtual look here. The large windows on each side connect the cityscape with greenery in neighbouring Albert Park. 

The North Atrium features unique art installations that become part of the backdrop to impressive presentations, cocktail receptions, and banquet dinners. It’s also one of two spaces in the Gallery where dancing is allowed.

A lesser-known fact – look closely at the polished limestone floor throughout the Gallery and you might find some ancient fossils!  

 

Rooftop function venue 

The East Terrace on the top level of the Gallery is an expansive outdoor space that looks out to the ancient pōhutukawa trees in picturesque Albert Park – a distinctive setting for champagne breakfasts or sunset cocktails.  

Here’s a tip - the East Terrace is the other place where dancing is allowed inside the Gallery. 

 

Secret auditorium in Auckland’s CBD 

Through the historical clock-tower entrance on Wellesley Street is one of the Gallery’s best-kept secrets – a 150-seat tiered auditorium on the lower ground level. As it’s not a publicly accessible space, the auditorium is perfect for day conferences and exclusive presentations during Gallery opening hours or after closing. It’s fitted with state-of-the-art AV technology, and opens out to a small foyer, perfect for networking between sessions. 

 

Private boardroom 

Right next to the auditorium is an intimate boardroom for up to sixteen people. It’s quiet and private, ideal for off-site meetings and roundtable forums to escape office distractions. 

 

Be part of the masterpiece 

Some call it ‘one of the best art museums in the world’ with its collection of 17,000 classic and contemporary works, including artworks by New Zealand artists. 

When your event is in one of the most beautiful settings in the City, minimal theming is required. In the Mackelvie Gallery, the combination of wooden floors, architectural ceiling and nineteenth-century artworks offer a unique backdrop for exclusive banquets, cocktails and corporate functions.  

 

Timeless beauty 

The oldest part of the Gallery building was designed in French Château style. It’s these characteristics you’ll find the Lower Grey Gallery in the original heritage building with decorative columns, a corniced ceiling and pale wooden floors.  

Perfectly proportioned for dinners and events, the elegant gallery is a luxurious setting for wedding receptions or exclusive cocktail functions. 

 

Unique wedding reception venue 

We recently hosted a wedding reception at the Gallery that took full advantage of hiring multiple spaces. Starting with pre-dinner drinks in the Lower Grey Gallery, followed by an intimate seated dinner in the Mackelvie Gallery, the reception then moved to the North Atrium where the party really started.  

 

Apart from the auditorium and boardroom, which are available during the day and evenings, the event spaces in Auckland Art Gallery are ideal for evening events. Once the Gallery is closed to the public, our experienced team can set your event up in (record) time, ready for your after-work event.  

So, if you’re looking for a unique venue in the Auckland CBD that really makes an impression, let’s have a chat.

 

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Charmaine Hylla has been a Business Development Executive at Auckland Conventions, Venues & Events since 2016. She is passionate about events and helping organisers, businesses, even brides-to-be find their ideal venues, making the planning of their event as stress-free and seamless as possible.  

Auckland Conventions, Venues & Events is a part of Regional Facilities Auckland, a Toitū carbonreduce certified organisation.

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