On Saturday 15 May our new extension opens. YAY! This new extension, five years in the making, features the Gillies Gallery, a dedicated space to showcase Upper Hutt’s history and stories. Its opening exhibition is called Te Ara: Stories of our Streets and celebrates the significant stories behind the streets of Upper Hutt, our people and places, our meetings and memories, told and untold, and is the city’s first major historical exhibition. The extension also includes the new Heretaunga Rotary Gallery, an intimate space for local, national and international art. We also added a creative workshop; a new custom built educational space for Upper Hutt, a collection store to house the nationally significant Pumpkin Cottage Collection and a commercial kitchen to support the Processionals Recreational Hall; a place for community gathering.

Alongside the opening of this new extension we also announce our new name;

Whirinaki Whare Taonga

Arts I Culture I Events


This name builds on the name gifted to Expressions Whirinaki Arts and Entertainment Centre by Orongomai Marae and local iwi in 2011. Whirinaki means to provide support, or to lean on, and to encourage. Whirinaki Whare Taonga recognises us as a treasure house sitting at the heart of the Upper Hutt community; a place where art, culture and events are supported, and the community embraced. Our kaupapa is to provide arts, culture and event opportunities that inspire and engage. As one of the more diverse arts and culture institutions in New Zealand, Whirinaki offers bold, modern and truly remarkable exhibitions and events. These exhibitions and events bring the best of New Zealand to the region and the best of the world to New Zealand, encouraging innovation, creative thinking and meaningful engagement for all ages. This new name also celebrates the new extension and our evolving role as kaitiaki of our precious local culture and heritage, and the teller of local stories, weaving our cultural stories together in ways that engage and connect us.

In the coming months you will notice our name change and see our new brand appear. Our new name and our new building guides us into an exciting new chapter and we welcome you, our friends, to come and explore with us Whirinaki; a place where everyone is welcome, and memories are made.

Click here for Extension Information sheet