Past projects

Previous Courtenay Place light boxes exhibitions.

Here by Ben Howe
Ben Lowe, Here


Ben Lowe

14 October 2023 – 3 March 2024

'Here' makes light of dark in a series of photographs taken by Ben Lowe while hiking Wellington’s South Coast, Te Rimurapa/Sinclair’s Head.

The series emerged from Ben’s desire to make time and light and life tangible, and create a parallel world of time through the interplay of light trails of distant stars, people, planes, ships, and meteors.

The photos were taken with long exposures using the night sky to light the work, allowing the viewer to experience a place differently.

Te Whanganui-a-Tara based artist and photographer Ben Lowe is undertaking a Master of Fine Arts at Wellington’s Massey University of Creative Arts, after graduating in 2021 with a Bachelor of Design (Honours) in Photography.

By letting the old light from the stars imbue itself over long durations, the photographs allow us to experience a place differently says Ben.

"'Here' explores how the night adjusts our perception of time, the cosmos and whenua, how intimate their connection is woven together, and the deep pleasures of walking in the dark.

"To see the area from a different perspective, I walked the hills at night when the terrain was cloaked by the night sky.

"The sense of time as measured astronomically is reflected in the process: walking through and feeling the terrain, a sense of place accumulating over time, uncovering traces of the past, to find a moment to set up the camera where it takes the photo over a single exposure sometimes lasting over six hours using light from the moon and stars."


The artist would like to acknowledge his supervisors, Caroline McQuarrie and Shaun Waugh, who have supported him as he developed this project from its conception.

About the artist

Ben Lowe graduated in 2021 with a Bachelor of Design (Honours) in Photography from Massey University College of Creative Arts where he is currently undertaking a Masters of Fine Arts in Photography. Ben has been awarded multiple scholarships including the New Zealand Scholarship – Design and Visual Communication, the Lāffare Photography Scholarship (Highly Commended) and a Massey University Undergraduate Scholarship.

Photographic portrait image of a student standing side profile with studio lighting effects in the background.
Kura Huna

Kura Huna

Artist: Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngā Mokopuna with Shannon Te Ao (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Wairangi, Pāpaka-a-Māui) and Hendrix Hennessy-Ropiha (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Raukawa)

21 July – 9 October 2023

Kura Huna is a new Matariki light box exhibition by the tauira of Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngā Mokopuna, mentored by Te Whanganui-a-Tara based artists Shannon Te Ao (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Wairangi, Pāpaka-a-Māui) and Hendrix Hennessy-Ropiha (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Raukawa).

Kura Huna asks us to consider what is important to us. Timely during Matariki and Puanga, as times to come together and reflect upon where you are.

Te Ao and Hennessy-Ropiha worked with tauira from years 9 -13 over several months to create a series of photographic images for Kura Huna. The project began at Te Rau Karamu Marae at the Pukeahu campus of Massey University. Ngā Mokopuna were welcomed onto the marae and introduced to the story of its creation. This experience led to reflections on the importance of connecting to te taio and place in the process of making their own artworks.

The group worked through a range of photographic approaches including digital camera work, darkroom experimentation, lighting and projection. Rangatahi were invited to think about ways to explore time, place and movement and to connect this to ideas.

The light box artworks feature striking portraits of the students taken in a photographic studio. Tauira created unique backgrounds by making photograms through placing objects between light sensitive paper and a light source. The photograms were projected as backgrounds for the portraits and combined with studio lighting effects.

“Kura Huna poses a fun, surprising and youthful way to think about who we are and where we are.” says Shannon. “I wanted these rangatahi to create the kind of work that they wanted to see in public space, during this time, Matariki and, to be able to stand in front of the light boxes and feel a spark in themselves and hopefully more mahi like this.”


Ngā mihi nui ki Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngā Mokopuna.

Kura Huna is supported by the Wellington City Council, Te Rau Karamu Marae, Whiti o Rehua School of Art and Te Rewa o Puanga School of Music and Creative Media Production, Massey University Wellington.

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Ko Te Reo ō Ngā Tāngata | The People’s Voice

Ko Te Reo ō Ngā Tāngata / The People’s Voice

Artist: Wellington City Council City Housing tenants with Mark Amery, Anna Brown and David Cook

25 February – 16 July 2023

Ko Te Reo ō Ngā Tāngata | The People’s Voice is the new outdoor exhibition installed in the Courtenay Place Light Boxes, featuring text, images, and art, in a long column-style broadsheet format, from Wellington City Council City Housing tenants.

Tenants, mainly from Granville Flats, Central Park, Newtown Park, and Te Ara Hou Flats, have written stories, created artworks, and taken photographs that express life in City Housing which presents a counter-narrative to the often negative stereotype of social housing.

Over 30 tenants from a wide range of cultural backgrounds worked with facilitators David Cook (photography and art), Mark Amery (writing editor), and Anna Brown (designer) on the independent art project.

The project also includes the contributions in a citizen’s newspaper with creative writing, columns, stories, photography, artwork, and even crosswords, to be printed by the Dominion Post in late March and distributed as an insert and by hand around City Housing facilities.

“Ko Te Reo ō Ngā Tāngata provides the voices of those living in social housing. The exhibition and newspaper provide tenants’ views on some immediate issues that affect them, and demonstrates the connectedness and creativity of our social housing communities,” says facilitator David Cook.

The project is created with the support of the Wellington City Council Public Art Fund, Toi Āria: Design for Public Good, Toi Rauwhārangi, College of Creative Arts Massey University, and the Dominion Post.

Read more about Ko Te Reo ō Ngā Tāngata / The People’s Voice.

Jane Wilcox, Māhina


Artist: Jane Wilcox

24 September 2022 - 23 January 2023

Photographer Jane Wilcox captured the magic of twilight in her Courtenay Place Light Boxes exhibition Māhina.

Stunning images of Wellington’s flora and fauna, taken at dusk, bring a special glow to the inner city in this popular outdoor exhibition space, imbuing our everyday surroundings with a new sense of wonder and connection to Te Taiao.  

In Māori, Māhina can mean ‘dusk’ or ‘twilight’. In French, there is a saying ‘entre chien et loup’ or between dog and wolf. The Scottish refer to it as ‘the gloaming’. 

“Every culture has myths, fables, and stories around this time” says Wilcox. “It is a time when the daylight has its last glow, an almost mystical period when time is caught before suddenly it has moved on”.  

Wilcox has captured her images within the very short time periods of dusk, around Pōneke’s paths and walkways, in the Botanic Gardens ki Paekākā, and Ōtari Wilton’s Bush. 

These are spaces Wellingtonians walk through often, to and from work, or relax, and play in. Spaces we revisit to connect ourselves to the environment.  Wilcox’s images, photographed during 2020-2021, remind us that these spaces are part of something bigger than ourselves.  

Her images are part of an ongoing series, captured over a year, published in the photobook ‘Between dog and wolf’, July 2021, and series of zines ‘Māhina’, June 2021. 

About the artist

Jane Wilcox has been working at Massey University for over twenty years as the Technical Services manager /Head Technician within Whiti o Rehua School of Art. She holds a Diploma in Photography - Wellington Polytechnic and a BFA (Hons) Massey University.

Wilcox has exhibited 'Play/Childhood Landscapes' at Photospace, Wellington; The Dowse Art Museum, Lower Hutt; Engine Room, Massey University; Blender Gallery, Sydney, Australia, and The Coningsby Gallery, London. Her photobooks include 'Between Dog and Wolf' (highly commended and a finalist in Aotearoa Photobook Award 2022) and 'Between perfection and beauty' (nominated for the best antipodean photo books 2019), published through Bad News books. 

In 2021 Wilcox co-curated (with Caroline McQuarrie) and exhibited in 'Quicken; photography touch', at The Engine Room, Massey University, 2021.

Tanya Ruka, Te Pōrūrū and Te Aorūrū


Artist:Tanya Te Miringa Te Rorarangi Ruka

23 May  – 23 September 2022

Ko au te whenua, te whenua ko au

How do we protect and enhance the mauri within an urban environment? asks Te Whanganui-a-Tara based artist Tanya Te Miringa Te Rorarangi Ruka in the Courtenay Place light box exhibition for Matariki 2022. Whakapapa Te Pō Te Ao turns the light boxes into a series of digitally woven pou whenua which are derived from the natural phenomena of Te Aro and the local environment.

Whakapapa Te Pō Te Ao acknowledges the whenua and awa above and below the city streets. “Past, present and future coexist within the whenua,” says Ruka. “Our tupuna are the soil and the water. They hold our collective memory, the good and the bad, the light and the dark. We are alive because of them, by acknowledging this truth we enhance the mauri and we build our relationships with the natural world even within an urban environment.”

Whakapapa Te Pō Te Ao responds to Matariki as a time to recount the past seasons and set new plans for the coming year. Guided by the Maramataka, Māori lunar calendar, Ruka filmed the area surrounding the light boxes once a month during 2021. The focus of the filming was to capture the natural elements as they are now. Ruka’s key consideration was how we experience the three major awa sources - Waitangi, Kūmutoto and Waimapihi streams that were once a source of kai and are now below the city streets. Ruka then translated here video imagery into digital weavings for the light boxes. One side of the light box images references Te Whakapapa o Te Pō and the other, Te Whakapapa o Te Ao. Together, the whakapapa of light and dark capture a story of time unfolding in Courtenay Place from a kaupapa Māori perspective.

The colour sequence of the digital weavings is based on the rainbow, the colour of light, referencing Te Ao Marama our world of life and acknowledging the rainbow’s meaning of importance to the people and community of Te Aro. In honouring our past we strengthen our future.

About the artist

Tanya Te Miringa Te Rorarangi Ruka is a Māori Indigenous artist and designer living in Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Aotearoa. She is of Ngāti Pākau, Te Uriroroi, Te Parawhau, Te Mahurehure Ngāpuhi, and Waitaha Hokianga descent. Ruka has a Master of Art and Design from Auckland University of Technology and works as an independent indigenous researcher on projects that seek to elevate indigenous knowledge systems and voices within the environment. This includes connecting with Indigenous nations globally through her work as research communications lead with Native Land Digital.

Tanya Ruka bio website

Drawing of a cat, man and a woman.
Hank, Harry and Sallie by Sallie Culy.

Hello To Everybody

Artist: Sallie Culy
Curator: Harry Culy

31 January – 22 May 2022

Hello to Everybody tells a story of someone who is deeply curious about the world.

Sallie Culy spends much of her time walking and visiting people, especially in Courtenay Place, Manners Mall and Cuba Street where she forms friendships with people of all ages and all walks of life. Her family, these friendships, and the city she inhabits are the most important things in her life. At home she draws those she knows, and the moments and things that make up her everyday life.

While Sallie has received no formal training in art, she instead uses her own shapes, lines, and colour to show what interests and delights her. Sallie’s work comprises a personal visual diary of her unique relationship to the city, and its people, and her distinctive view on her small but significant world. She invites everyone passing by to engage with the joy and importance of friendship, family, colour, and imagination.

About the Artist: Sallie Culy

Sallie Culy (born 1980) lives and works in Wellington Te Whanganui-a-Tara. Sallie was educated at Clyde Quay School and Wellington High School. She has worked for some years at the Strathmore Bakery, and now does voluntary work at the Wellington City Mission, and at Holy Cross School in Miramar. Her great and constant joy is singing in the Wellington Community Choir. Sallie was born with Williams Syndrome and she has been drawing and creating her distinctive art for over twenty years.

About the Curator: Harry Culy

Born in Wellington 1986, Harry holds a Master of Fine Arts from Massey University. He is an artist, curator and book designer based in Pōneke. Harry is represented by Jhana Millers Gallery and also runs the small publishing company Bad News Books. Recent exhibitions include ‘News from The Sun’ at City Gallery Wellington and ‘Mirror City’ at Jhana Millers Gallery. In 2021 he received an Arts Foundation Laureate award receiving the Marti Friedlander Photographic Award. Sallie Culy is Harry’s sister, and he has encouraged and supported her drawing.

An image of the Gordon WIlson Flats with a white textural image over the top of it.
Standing still, still standing by Deanna Dowling

Standing still, still standing

Artist: Deanna Dowling
Graphic Design: Mike Peters
Photographer: Ted Whitaker

23 October 2021 – 24 January 2022

Standing still, still standing, uses photographic documentation, archival imagery and text to explore modern architectural value systems. Pōneke-based artist Deanna Dowling’s new light box exhibition reflects on the history and future of the well-known and highly debated Gordon Wilson Flats located on The Terrace in Pōneke Wellington. Through a process of extracting and editing small excerpts of text from articles discussing the situation this building find itself in, Dowling’s poetic text and image works invites viewers to consider the relationships between people, place and structure.

In a city where land is precious and housing is limited, has the building become a symbol of the problems the city faces? And what will win: preservation or progress?

Designed by Gordon Wilson and his team within the Ministry of Works Architectural Section and built between 1957–1959, the Gordon Wilson Flats embody modernist design thinking in Aotearoa New Zealand. This building is one of two remaining modernist and brutalist high density social housing structures, built under a post-war government. With few alterations ever made to the exterior of the building, the integrity and form of the mid-century design has never been compromised.

An architectural artifact, slowly becoming a modernist ruin, this structure and the smaller, neighbouring, McLean Flats exist in a form of stasis. Vacant since their closure in 2012 due to structural safety concerns, the site was sold to Victoria University of Wellington in 2014 for six million dollars. Perched below the university and caught in “The battle over Wellington’s ugliest building”; between those who fight to preserve this symbol of innovative social housing and those who render it useless. Victoria University intends to demolish it.

About the artist

Deanna Dowling holds an MFA from Massey University. Recent exhibitions include: Notes on time, Gus Fisher Gallery Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland (2021); Hold, RM Gallery, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland (2020); The crab and the rock, Taipei Contemporary Art Center, Taipei (2019); SOLO, The Dowse Art Museum, Te Awakairangi Lower Hutt (2018) and The sea we built on, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Ōtepoti Dunedin (2016). Deanna was a recipient of an Asia New Zealand Foundation residency at Youkobo Art Space in 2016, and the winner of the National Contemporary Art Award awarded by Waikato Museum in 2014.

Whiro, Keri-Mei Zagrobelna, 2021  Photographer: Norm Heke  - Tamatea-ā-Ngana, Keri-Mei Zagrobelna, 2021 Photographer: Norm Heke .
Tamatea-ā-Ngana, Keri-Mei Zagrobelna, 2021 Photographer: Norm Heke, Model: Miriama Grace-Smith; Whiro, Keri-Mei Zagrobelna, 2021 Photographer: Norm Heke , Model: Awhina Tamarapa


Artist: Keri-Mei Zagrobelna
Photographer and Digital Artist: Norm Heke
Awhina Tamarapa

18 June – 26 September 2021

Te Whanganui-a-Tara based artist Keri-Mei Zagrobelna’s new exhibition Whakahoki draws inspiration from the Maramataka Māori Lunar calendar to celebrate Matariki in the Courtenay Place Park light boxes.

In Whakahoki, Zagrobelna considers how working within Te Ao Māori can bring balance and meaning to our lives, with a particular focus on mental health. The artist looks at how the Maramataka’s cycles through darkness and light can offer guidance on navigating similar phases in our own lives.

Zagrobelna has created contemporary jewellery and object art to interpret sixteen of the thirty lunar nights from the Maramataka. She uses a diverse array of materials in her handcrafted pieces including obsidian, shells, kowhai seeds, glass and pounamu. The unique objects have been translated into a series of striking light box images with photography by Norm Heke. Zagrobelna and Heke worked closely together to create digital imagery that captures the essence and kaupapa for each of the corresponding Maramataka nights. The imagery pulls viewers into the space of the Maramataka, providing an opportunity to interpret the night’s meaning and relevance. The title Whakahoki refers to Zagrobelna’s engagement with the Maramataka as a way to ‘return, respond and give back’. She hopes the exhibition will prompt audiences to consider the relevance of indigenous knowledge to contemporary life.

About the artists

Keri-Mei Zagrobelna (Te Āti-Awa, Te Whānau a Apanui) is an emerging contemporary Māori artist who seeks to build cross-cultural understanding and relationships through her work. Zagrobelna has exhibited and presented her work nationally and internationally including as part of the 12th Festival of Pacific Arts New Zealand delegation in Guam (2016) and at Crypt Gallery, London (2018).

Stan Chan, Dragon, 2020 (left) ; Kerry Ann Lee, Half Heaven - Half Heartache, 2021 (right)
Stan Chan 仕丹 陳, Dragon, 2020 (left) ; Kerry Ann Lee 鄺南燕, Half Heaven - Half Heartache, 2021 (right)

Ho Sun Nian 賀新年

Artists: Kerry Ann Lee 鄺南燕, Stan Chan 仕丹 陳
Asian Events Trust 

1 February – 23 May 2021

Ho Sun Nian is inspired by Wellington’s Chinese New Year celebrations and community. Wellington-based Chinese artists Stan Chan and Kerry Ann Lee respond to the annual celebration by bringing their unique perspectives and expressions of Chinese culture to Courtenay Place.

New Year is the most important date in the Chinese calendar. The exhibition’s title Ho Sun Nian refers to the Cantonese phrase ‘celebrating New Year’ and references the language of the Chinese community who first settled in Wellington. The community’s new year festivals created an opportunity for new Chinese residents to bring their culture out into the streets of Wellington, and to feel more at home in New Zealand.

Chinese brush painter and calligrapher Stan Chan has been involved with the new year festival for 20 years. In Ho Sun Nian, his Chinese brush paintings capture moments from photographs of Wellington’s Chinese New Year celebrations in years gone by – a Chinese lion parading through the streets, an East meets West fashion show from the 1980s.  Chan’s expressive paintings portray the lively atmosphere of the cultural events.

Kerry Ann Lee shows a personal perspective of Chinese culture and celebrations. Her work has been described as exploring cultural intersections in the space between private moments and public locations. Well known for her hand-made and digital collages, Lee’s new work in the light boxes also overlays a playful ‘pop’ aesthetic to scenes of remembrance and celebration. Fascinated by the role food and ritual plays in bringing communities together, Lee shows Cantonese Chinese placemaking in all its guises from family meals, restaurants and local sites of significance.  

Ho Sun Nian is part of the 20th anniversary of Chinese New Year festival celebrations, 13-14 February 2021.

About the artists

Stan Chan has practised and taught traditional Chinese brush painting and calligraphy, as well as western oil and watercolour techniques from his studio inkLink in Left Bank, Cuba Mall, Wellington since 2000. Chan studied art in Hong Kong and has participated in both group and solo exhibitions throughout New Zealand.

Kerry Ann Lee is a visual artist, designer, and scholar from Te Whanganui-a-tara of Seypi Cantonese Chinese descent. Lee has undertaken international residencies in China, Taiwan, US, Mexico and Australia and exhibits regularly in New Zealand and overseas. Exhibitions include, Fruits in the Backwater at Pātaka Art + Museum (2017) and Return to Skyland (2018), an installation within the Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality exhibition at Te Papa. 

To Turn Night Into Day, Martin Awa Clarke Langdon
‘Celestial Bodies’, Martin Awa Clarke Langdon

To Turn Night Into Day

Courtenay Place Park Light Boxes
Martin Awa Clarke Langdon

27 May – 27 September

Wellington-based, Auckland-born artist Martin Awa Clarke Langdon (Waikato-Tainui, Ngāti Whāwhākia, Ngāti Hikairo, Kāi Tahu) presents a new photographic series in the Courtenay Place Park Light Boxes for the months leading into and through Matariki 2020, Pipiri – Whiringa-ā-nuku.

Langdon plays on the transient and changeable nature of this site, allowing passers-by to observe and interact with his artwork during the day and night. The exhibition consciously embraces the constant state of natural change from Pipiri to Whiringa-ā-nuku.

To Turn Night Into Day observes Matariki as a time of reflection, realignment and reconnection for all. Langdon’s visual imagery explores duality and connections within the culturally entangled Māori and Pākehā worldviews he experienced growing up. Personal moments with whānau, urban observations and abstractions of whakapapa highlight the importance of whānau and shared knowledge through the generations.

Selection of light box images from To Turn Night Into Day:

The lightboxes installed at Courtenay Place.
If these walls could talk, they'd tell you my name, Jasmine Togo-Brisby

If these walls could talk, they'd tell you my name

Courtenay Place Park Light Boxes
Jasmine Togo-Brisby

16 December 2019 – May 2020

Wellington-based, South Sea Islander artist Jasmine Togo-Brisby presents a new photographic series in the Courtenay Place Park Lightboxes – titled, If these walls could talk, they'd tell you my name.

This new body of work responds to two concurrent events; the artist's recent discovery of records confirming her great-great-grandparents' existence as house slaves, acquired in 1899 by the Sydney-based Wunderlich family, and the current restoration of the Wunderlich ceiling panels in Wellington's Town Hall. 

The photographic series continues Togo-Brisby's interest in histories of the Pacific Slave Trade embedded within contemporary material culture. Wunderlich ceiling panels, distinctive for their ornate pressed designs, can be found across many buildings across Australia and Aotearoa and are now carefully preserved as heritage materials. 

The overly visible Wunderlich family legacy bears remarkable contrast to paucity of historical records available for South Sea Islanders. Across Togo-Brisby's photographs, inter-generational portraits force a consideration of who is and isn't visible within the archives and narratives of history.

Essay about this work by Ioana Gordon-Smith (23KB PDF)

Image displayed on one of the light boxes in Courtenay Place.
Lost in the air 2019, Gregory Kan, Sarah Maxey

Lost in the air

Courtenay Place Park Light Boxes
Ana Iti, Ellyse Randrup, Gregory Kan and Sarah Maxey

Curated by Chloe Geoghegan

10 June 2019 – 2 September 2019

Four local and independent artists with complex, new and enduring relationships to Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington have collaborated to create two encounters or readings of the urban nature of Te Aro, central city Wellington.

Chloe Geoghegan asked these four creative practitioners to collaborate, creating dual readings of the city, and new ways for Wellingtonians to navigate the creative fabric of the city. Ana Iti often brings text into her work as a visual artist to explore narrative. For one side of the light boxes, she tells the story of Waimapihi, a bubbling stream / awa buried below Wellington — lost but not forgotten. Currently based in Europe, young Wellington designer Ellyse Randrup delicately illuminates this story with a new typeface based on Iti's text. She imagines this text being gradually etched away under the street surface as a misty memory of the stream.

On the other side of the lightboxes, Gregory Kan's prose about Wellington emotively captures this complicated, bustling and populated urban environment. Kan's text imagines people passing each other by on the street, the wind whipping up around them, capturing their many thoughts and feelings, to be lost in the air and in the moment. Designer Sarah Maxey overlays Kan's texts on her photographic interventions - cyanotypes taken just around the corner on Cuba Street, illustrating a place for Kan's words to live within.

Iti, Randrup, Kan, and Maxey find ways to seek and disrupt moments of ambiguity and familiarity through the minutiae of life, bringing these imaginative, everyday and random encounters of the street to reveal the city's own graphic language.

Black and white picture of a star.
Tangaroa ā mua by Angela Kilford

Te Māra Tautāne

Angela Kilford
10 June 2019 – 2 September 2019

In Māori cosmology, the rising of the Matariki constellation, and the star Puanga, marks the beginning of the new year. Artist and textile designer Angela Kilford's (Te Whanau A Kai, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungunu) exhibition Te Māra Tautāne explores and celebrates invisible whakapapa connections between the earthly and celestial realms at Matariki.

Photographing and manipulating images of Aotearoa New Zealand's natural environment; flower blossoms, tree bark, and tuatara skin, the artist seeks to express the ecosystems and multiple ancestries these living beings share. Tangaroa ā mua, the first moon phase of Matariki, is depicted by the small white flowers of the Ngaio tree, evoking the whakapapa story of Rona and the moon, where Rona is plucked from earth, and taken to the moon whilst holding onto a Ngaio tree. 

Kilford sees these lightbox images as a contemporary urban māra tautāne, which is a traditional, ceremonial garden, planted in offering to Matariki.

Greywacke love poems piece of art by Raewyn Martyn.

Greywacke Love Poems

Raewyn Martyn
8 April 2019 – 9 June 2019

Wellington artist Raewyn Martyn explores processes of transformation within human-made forms and geological landscapes. Greywacke Love Poems have developed through experimentation with mineral pigments, plant-based polymers and photography, re-positioning Wellington's South Coast in the city's urban centre.

A group of people in Courtenay Place, next to light boxes displaying artwork by Chevron Hassett.
A Place TŪ Be by Chevron Hassett

A Place TŪ Be

Chevron Hassett
17 December 2018 – 24 March 2019

As Aotearoa’s population becomes more diverse, the concept of cultural identity also shifts and evolves. Chevron Hassett’s exhibition in the Courtenay Place Park Lightboxes presents large-scale portraits of his peers, young urban Māori as digital pouwhenua, situating them within the heart of the city they live in, and creating a temporary public marae ātea in Courtenay Place.

Chevron Hassett graduated with a Bachelor of Design with Honours from Massey University in 2017, winning the Creative New Zealand Te Waka Toi award – Ngā Manu Pīrere in the same year. He has worked on a variety of community projects with the Hutt City Council and was awarded the Hutt City Certificate of Achievement for Art in 2017. Most recently, his work was included in the group show Nowhere to Somewhere at Paul Nache Gallery, Gisborne. In 2019, his solo exhibition The Children of Māui will show at artist-run space Meanwhile and at Wharewaka in Wellington.

Visit Chevron's website for more information.

A yellow and red surface with liquid dripping down it.
Laura Duffy, Garden of Purity

Garden of Purity

Laura Duffy
31 August - 9 December 2018

Garden of Purity considers how we read and ingest imagery, drawing links through history from art history to advertising. Duffy sees the works as being a layered conversation about Catholicism, advertising, abjection, and queerness. She uses edible materials as a starting point for the series of digitally manipulated photographs in the light boxes and online video works. The series intends to prompt questions about traditional notions of beauty and divinity by blurring the lines between repulsion and desire.

Brooch made from New Zealand 10 cent coin by Matthew McIntyre Wilson.
Matthew McIntyre Wilson, 'The Price of Change'

Whetū Whitu

Matthew McIntyre Wilson (Taranaki, Ngā Māhanga and Titahi)
1 June - 20 Augus

Tērā Matariki ka rewa i te pae
Nau mai, haramai te hua o te tau hou…

Whetū Whitu is a series of  brooches that reflect the stories of Puanga and Matariki. The brooches are part of McIntyre Wilson’s ongoing Price of Change Series which feature re-purposed imagery cut from New Zealand, Cook Island and British coins. Brooches are normally pinned to the wearer, but for this exhibition they adorned light boxes as large-scale prints.

Find out more in Nikki Hessell’s essay on Whetū Whitu (612KB PDF)

Llight boxes in Courtenay Place displaying photographs by Suzanne Tamaki.

Native Eye

Artist: SuzanneTamaki (curated by Reuben Friend)
2 February–late May 2018

Courtenay Place became the latest runway venue for Māori fashion designer and artist Suzanne Tamaki. Renowned in art circles as a social provocateur, her politically charged garments and fashion shoots merged indigenous New Zealand Māori textiles and designs with modern business attire, creating a unique style of adornment that goes far beyond fashion. Each of the art-fashion garments and fashion photographs featured in the light boxes drew inspiration from Māori interpretations of Western concepts such as feminism, or mana wāhine.


New nightclub for Courtenay Place

Susana Torre and Raphaela Rose
1 August 2017 – 26 January 2018

Collaborative arts duo Lightreading worked with architects Susana Torre and Raphaela Rose to design a fictitious, new, and socially progressive nightclub complex for Courtenay Place.Their designs are based on interviews with a range of women who’ve helped shape Wellington’s nightlife over the past 50 years.

New nightclub interviews (507KB PDF) - This document contains content that may offend.

Photo showing one of the lightboxes installed in Courtenay Place, reading

Magical Māori Mystery Tour of Wellington

Designed by: Johnson Witehira and Kemi Niko
Curated by: Tina Makereti
Written by: Debbie Broughton and guests

1 April – 30 July 2018

This textual light box project engages elements of poetry, pastiche and parody to both explore a personal history of Wellington and critique the way Māori histories are represented.

Detail of Modulation by Shannon Novak - a bright pink background with tonal, geometric forms over top.


Artist: Shannon Novak (curated by Andrew Clifford)

Shannon Novak’s Courtenay Place Park light box project Modulation demonstrates his ongoing interest in the ways we perceive shape, space, colour, rhythm, energy and sound. He creates chromatic and compositional relationships that respond to both visual references and the energy of an object, site or body.

This project creates a dynamic experience that is engaging and interactive. Through the use of mobile technology, it encourages new audiences to experience traditional forms of art. It activates another dimension of the light boxes, extending their reach into virtual space. The light boxes build awareness of the phenomenon of synaesthesia and its potential for creative exploration, as well as (re)connecting the disciplines of visual art, music and moving image/animation.

Read Curator Andrew Clifford's essay about Modulation (173KB PDF) to find out more.

We don't have to be the building

12 August–5 December 2016
Artist: Sian Torrington

Artist Sian Torrington’s project We Don’t Have to be the Building featured in the Courtenay Place light boxes from August to December in 2016. The assemblage works photographed for the light boxes are the result of an extensive, interactive, community-based project exploring queer activism around Homosexual Law Reform 30 years ago, and asking what queer activism is today.

“Art helps us to find ways to tell our stories. I'm looking at the coming-out process – telling our personal stories as a form of activism. That includes stories about our sexuality. I’ve been searching for my own and our community whakapapa of sexuality and protest. I'm focusing on lesbian, bi-sexual, queer, trans*, mana wahine, takataapui and female-identified activists,” says Sian. 

We Don’t Have to be Building was supported by the Wellington City Council Public Art Fund, Creative New Zealand, Rainbow Wellington and a successful Boosted campaign.

From the Eather exhibition

From the Aether

7 April–31 July 2016
Curator: Caroline McQuarrie

From the Aether showcased Wellington artists whose interest in amateur science was brought together into a ‘cabinet of curiosities’. From the Aether featured artists: Jonathan Kay, Shaun Matthews and Bonny Stewart-MacDonald. The exhibition's aim was to celebrate exploring the world around us through easily accessible science.

Two light boxes with images by Richard Shepherd.


December 2015–April 2016
Artist: Richard Shepherd

Richard Shepherd's light box exhibition 'Romance' is made from pictures photographed live from broadcast television. It reflects and illuminates our pixel-blasted lives, providing a daydream-like backdrop to the drift and jostle of the city.

Sculpture of a face made out of stiffened wool that was cast into a resin, fibreglass and iron powder mix by artist Des Hughes

The Visitors

August–December 2015
Artist: Des Hughes (curated by Katharine Allard)

British artist Des Hughes created new work especially for the light boxes, translating his quasi-humanoid sculptures into photographic form.

To make the sculptures, Hughes used sheets of wool cut from jerseys to create individual faces and bodies. He stiffened the wool and cast it into a resin, fibreglass and iron powder mix that was rusted and fettled. The work was then carefully photographed and the sculptures sent in digital form from the UK where Hughes is currently living.

Curator and arts producer, Katharine Allard, holds a Masters of Fine Arts (Hons) from Massey University. Her previous projects include directing The Art Box Project, a series of 10 temporary public artworks in Wellington, and managing artist Gabby O’Connor’s large paper iceberg sculpture, What Lies Beneath, for a theatre foyer in Oxford, England.  

Light boxes in Courtenay Place displaying the artwork by Gary Peters.

The Colour of Courtenay Place

7 April–31 July 2015
Artist: Gary Peters

As colour perception had its 15 minutes of internet fame with that dress, artist Gary Peters launched The Colour of Courtenay Place – a series of 16 bold, urban monochrome works, which encouraged us to look more closely at the space and colour around us.

Unlike that dress, there was no confusing the colours in Wellington’s Courtenay Place.

The Colour of Courtenay Place was the first large-scale public artwork for Peters, taking his colourful work out of the studios and galleries and onto the streets.

Peters encouraged us to look again at our environment, to pause for a moment and notice the details we normally overlook. These slabs of colour, devoid of text and advertising, offered us a visual pause in the busyness of the strip, and invited us to take a moment and be curious about looking at the space we inhabit.

Light boxes in Courtenay Place displaying the artwork by Kemi Niko & Co.

Huts of Welling Town

5 December–29 March 2015
Artist: Kemi Niko & Co.

Artists Kemi & Niko brought everything you love about the backcountry to Courtenay Place.

In tandem with their project Miniature Hikes, these light boxes acted like photographic portals to seven magical miniature huts located across Wellington's diverse backyard.

Hidden in the bush, at the beach and on windy summits, these individually themed, colourful, and interactive miniatures celebrate the honesty and unexpected comfort of the backcountry hut.

Teasing out a love of summer adventure, an intricately hand-drawn map also provides curious passersby with the hut’s locations.

Sarah Jane Parton's light box exhibition in Courtenay Place.

It's love, isn't it?

29 August–30 November 2014
Artist: Sarah Jane Parton (curated by Jessica Scott)

Prominent multimedia artist and writer Sarah Jane Parton’s art work, It’s love, isn’t it? explores the quest for love on Courtenay Place. A series of works that combine images and text, Sarah’s work takes its name from the title of a book of love poems by Alistair Te Ariki Campbell and Meg Campbell.

The visual references for the exhibition came from posters made in the 1980s and 90s, the journey between the moments when her birth parents met in the Courtenay Place McDonald’s when they were 16; and when Sarah started to think about love as sex. Sarah has worked with 15 writers, photographer Matt Grace and graphic designer Alice Clifford.

Together they have created a love story inspired by the possibilities of the inner-city location of the light boxes, and have drawn on the associations of Courtenay Place as a site of potential meetings and the fruitless pursuit of love.

The Land of Tara

10 April –3 August 2014
Artist: Johnson Witehira

Designer and artist Johnson Witehira presents a new and bold series of digital portraits in his light box exhibition The Land of Tara. Standing in each light box are Witehira’s graphic representations of ancestors such as Kupe, Whatonga, and his sons Tautoki and Tara (after whom Wellington harbour, Te-Whanganui-a Tara, is named).

Acting like pou-tāhuhu support pillars found in wharenui, the depicted artworks transformed Courtenay Place Park into a meeting place suggestive of a Marae. Striking and highly visible to Wellingtonians during the city’s Matariki festival, this exhibition further developed the artist’s exploration of Māori and Pacific designs in a contemporary context.

Production Still exhibition installed at Courtenay Place, at night.

Production Stills

6 December 2013–6 April 2014
Artist: Daniel von Sturmer (curated by Rob Garrett)

Production Stills presents a series of works using a collection of found objects and recycled materials to form improbable sculptural stacks. The works defy logical reading, confounding the innate understanding of gravity, friction and balance.

Daniel von Sturmer’s work uses various media to explore questions about the nature of perception, the embodiment of time and how context and framing shape the meaning and experience of an art-work. Developed from studio based experiments and observations, video and photography is used in the work to reframe common materials and objects as unlikely props from which philosophical questions can arise.

Installation image of Holland Street exhibition.

Holland Street

15 August–1 December 2013
Artists/curators: Sarah Caylor and Ann Shelton)

Taking as its starting point two 19th-century events - London's cholera outbreak of 1854 and Wellington's typhoid epidemic of 1890-2 - Holland Street recalls a world where disease was thought to travel through miasma (noxious air) and bacteria were believed to be as real as 'Hydras, and Gorgons, and Chimeras Dire'.

Holland Street uses differing visual approaches to map critical sites related to these two disease events, one marking the birth of modern epidemiology, and another resulting in the construction of Wellington's sewerage system.

In telling this story, Holland Street places the spectre of human waste at centre stage. The work addresses the cultural, ideological, and medical contexts and consequences of an epidemic that took place in the area of Courtenay Place Park. In imposing a visual interruption of the streetscape, Holland Street encourages us to envisage an otherwise invisible conceptual and material infrastructure, tracing its roots back to the 19th century and forward to the present.

Collisions exhibition installed on Courtenay Place.

Against the Prevailing Winds - The public / Collisions Issue

19 April–5 August 2013
Writers/Artists: Pip Adam, Sarah Jane Barnett, Airini Beautrais, Eleanor Catton, Joan Fleming, Peter Gouge, Amy Howden-Chapman, Lynn Jenner, Chloe Lane, Tina Makereti, Tahi Moore, Bill Nelson, Rachel O’Neill, Lawrence Patchett, Campbell Patterson, John Summers
Curator: Hue & cry
Design: The International Office

The title of this light box exhibition is taken from an issue of the Wellington-based art and literary journal Hue & Cry

Sixteen writers and artists were commissioned to write a text, or make a text-based work, in response to the idea that Hue & Cry and Wellington are both centres of collision. 

Against the Prevailing Winds - The Public / Collisions Issue might be thought of as a collision of voices, mediums, and communities. 

Collisions happen in Wellington too. And here the results are mixed - funny, sad, embarrassing, creepy, productive, wet, and even romantic.

Looking Up to You exhibition installed on Courtenay Place.

Looking Up to You

12 December–8 April 2013
Artists / Curators: Cat Auburn and Fiona Pardington

Looking Up to You uses photography to explore the dynamic between two artists separated by distance and experience. Emerging artist Cat Auburn and established artist Fiona Pardington swap, switch and subvert each others' artistic practices.

Taking Courtenay Place as a starting point, the artists merge contemporary and archival material to reveal an intricate tangle of past, present, and future mythologies for Wellington. A visual feast in the light boxes exploring the intricacies of history and memory, private and public, idolisation and emulation, and narratives of desire.

Installation image of Local Coordinates exhibition.

Local Coordinates

10 August–3 December 2012
Artist: Molly Samsell (curated by Andrea Bell)

Local Coordinates is a series of photographic images by Molly Samsell. These images present a composite of surfaces - from exterior brick walls to decorative interior features. Photographic moments of stillness are presented in contrast to the dynamic urban movement in Courtenay Place, creating a space that disrupts the pace of the everyday.

Ever Green exhibition installed on Courtenay Place, at night.

Ever Green 

3 April–6 August 2012
Artists / Curators: Jenny Gillam and Dieneke Jansen

Ever Green is a photographic project which explores how 'nature' exists in a built environment.

The artists exploit the outdoor location and physical structure of the Courtenay Place light boxes to question the ways urban dwellers experience nature.

Imaginary Geographies exhibition installed on Courtenay Place.

Imaginary Geographies

8 December–2 April 2012
Artists: Elaine Campaner (Australia), Alex Dorfsman (Mexico), Jae Hoon Lee (Korea), Kerry Ann Lee (Dunedin), Brian Samuels (Wellington), Gemma Syme (Wellington) and Kate Woods (Wellington)
Curator: Claudia Arozqueta

Artists from New Zealand, Australia, Mexico and Korea draw on real and imagined landscapes to encourage passers-by to take a fresh look at public space.


20 August–5 December 2011
Artists: Andy Palmer and David Boyce (curated by Andy Palmer)

Pilgrimage is a collaborative exhibition by photographers Andy Palmer and David Boyce, which explores the essence of rugby and sporting culture in New Zealand.

The photographers move beyond the game itself, to look at the ways rugby permeates our lives, landscapes and national identity.

Image of Bryce Galloway light box exhibition on Courtenay Place.

Bryce Galloway's Light Box Project

5 May–15 August 2011
Artist: Bryce Galloway (curated by Emma Febvre-Richards)

"What would aliens make of Courtenay Place?" was one of many questions artist Bryce Galloway asked passers-by for his Courtenay Place Park Light Box Project. Other questions included "what's the most important thing you did today?" and "have you ever broken anything on Courtenay Place?"

The light box project shows a selection of the responses together with a sketch of the participants.

Installation image of All the Cunning Stunts exhibition.

All the Cunning Stunts

17 December–31 march 2011
Artists: Liz Allan, Clare Noonan, Rachel O'Neill and Marnie Slater(curated by Mary-Jane Duffy)

All the Cunning Stunts is a collaborative exhibition developed to coincide with the second Asia Pacific Outgames.

Installation image of Cloudfold exhibition.


24 june–December 2010
Artist: Cathryn Monro (curated by Mark Hutchins)

Cloudfold features a series of photographs showing cloudscapes, glimpsed through close folds of material.

As well as providing Wellingtonians with a welcome relief from the grey skies, Cathryn explores how our ideas are viewed through a screen of cultural social and personal perspectives.

Three Stories Up exhibition installed on Courtenay Place.

Three Stories Up

21 December 2009–June 2010
Artist: Gabrielle McKone (curated by James Gilberd)

Three Stories Up featured 48 photographic artworks, stacked three-high in the 16 light boxes.

The images displayed Wellington street scenes captured by a compact digital camera in a 'shoot from the hip' style of photography.

Installation image of Love Notes, showing a photograph of a handwritten note reading

Love Notes (2005)

19 June–19 December 2009
Artist: Marie Shannon (curated by Heather Galbraith, City Gallery)

Love Notes featured 16 private handwritten notes - offering an unexpectedly intimate encounter within this large-scale public display.

The notes expressed love through various shorthand jottings, acronyms and more elaborately drawn compositions.

Shannon's photographs presented tangible evidence of seemingly anonymous intimacy.

Installation image of Give Us a Sign exhibition.

Give Us a Sign

17 December 2008–14 June 2009
Artists: Various (curated by Heather Galbraith, City Gallery Wellington )

Light boxes have been used for a long time in public space for commercial advertising or public service announcements.

Give Us a Sign did not aim to sell products, but rather offered a platform for ideas within a busy retail and entertainment district.

Seven artists and/or graphic designers were invited to each contribute two or three works responding to the call to 'Give us a sign - a message, a proclamation, a warning, a proposition; a way to make things better'.

Installation image of Flanerie and Figments showing NAKED LADY WITH TATTOOS.

Flânerie and Figments

May–December 2008
Artist: Various (curated by Andy Palmer and Simon Bush-King)

Flânerie and Figments was the first light box exhibition. It featured images by eight Wellington-based emerging photographers: Andy Palmer, John Lake, Victoria Birkenshaw, Shaun Lawson, Amelia Handscomb, Steve Rowe, Jessica Silk and Clare Noonan.

Artists were invited to respond to Wellington's urban condition. The outcome was an exhibition that reflected a diversity of photographic techniques and subject matter - from people to landscapes - each with Wellington at its heart.