Futuna Chapel Open Day – Sunday 22 March 2020


Ron Brownson is Senior Curator New Zealand and Pacific Art at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki.  He has worked long-term as a professional curator and is an expert on New Zealand and Pacific art with has a particular interest in photography.

The most amazing discovery for me was the Futuna Chapel in Wellington, “one of the most spiritual interiors in all New Zealand”, as Ron describes it. It was designed by John Scott, with windows by Jim Allen that cast shimmering patterns of coloured light on the walls, which in the course of the day move across a large scale, magnificent mahogany Christ figure, also Allen’s work. This “very emotional, very passionate work”, to use Ron’s words, was missing for 12 years, stolen, but happily it was recovered and reinstated in the chapel.


Ron has initiated many exhibition and publication projects including John Kinder Photographs, Rita Angus, 1950s Auckland Photographers, Ioane Ioane Fale Sa, Ross T. Smith, John Pule, Marti Friedlander Photographs, Pat Hanly – Pure Painting, L. Budd et al, Eric Le Johnson  – Opo the Hokianga Dolphin, Gretchen Albrecht, Fiona Pardington, Le Fauluga – Pacific artists from New Zealand, Self and Other: The Expressionist Spirit in New Zealand Art, Tribute: Visual artists celebrated by the Arts Foundation of New Zealand, Fiona Pardington Proud Flesh, Open Skies Divided Horizons, Greg Semu O Le Tatau Samoa, Colin McCahon’s Titirangi, Fatu Feu’u, Golden – Celebrating 50 Years of the Friends of the Gallery (with Jane Davidson Ladd) Michael Smither The Wonder Years, Through the Eyes of Shirin Neshat, In Shifting Light, John Kinder’s New Zealand, Local Revolutionaries: Art & Change 1965–1986 (with Mary Kisler), Partner Dance: Gifts from the Patrons of the Gallery (with Natasha Conland), Choi Jeong Hwa Flower Chandelier, Te Wā Tōiri: Fluid Horizons, Home AKL – artists of Pacific Heritage at Auckland (with Kolokesa Mahina Tuai, Nina Tonga and Ema Tavola), Kinder’s Presence: John Kinder, Mark Adams, Chis Corson Scott, Haruhiko Sameshima, Robert Ellis – Turangawaewae: A Place to Stand, Ralph Hotere’s Godwit Kuaka, The Extra Ordinary Everyday in New Zealand Art, Len Casbolt – From Soft Focus to Sharp Vision, A Place to Paint: Colin McCahon in Auckland.

Ron Brownson edited ART TOI – New Zealand art in the collection of Auckland Art Gallery, a comprehensive profile of local art.