When I started working at the Gallery in November I joined a people in exile. For more than three years the staff have waited in their temporary office environs, planning for the moment when the Gallery building would be returned to them in all its glory.
Now that the day is approaching there's been a discernible shift in the atmosphere in our offices. While there is still a huge amount of work to do (and a few anxious faces!), there's a real feeling of excitement and relief that at last it's all happening.
On June 13 members of Haerewa, our Māori advisory group, led staff members and members of the Hawkins construction team through the building for a blessing of the new and restored spaces. We filed quietly through the empty galleries, under the direction of our kaumatua Arnold Manaaki Wilson.
More recently an open afternoon was held so family and friends of Hawkins and Gallery staff could come and see the project that's consumed us for such a long time.
Crowds look into the North Atrium
Exploring the galleries
Viewing Albert Park from the sculpture terrace