Tauranga Art Gallery could look to tourists for future funding.
Gallery admission is free with a donation encouraged. The question of charging visitors was raised at a Tauranga City Council meeting on Monday when the gallery was presenting its annual report.
Commissioner Bill Wasley asked if there were opportunities for charging overseas and other New Zealand visitors to the gallery given the “challenges of income and costs” it was facing.
”When you go overseas or other parts of New Zealand those opportunities seem to always present themselves.”
Toi Tauranga Art Gallery director Sonya Korohina replied: “It is expected when you are travelling, as you say, that you are making a contribution when you’re visiting facilities.”
She said it was a piece of work the gallery would be undertaking and her new business development and experience manager would look into it.
The gallery had 30,094 visitors for the year July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023, according to the Tauranga Art Gallery Trust Annual Report 2022-2023.
International visitors made up 8 per cent of these, 18 per cent were national, 26 per cent came from the Western Bay of Plenty and 46 per cent were from Tauranga.
Tauranga Art Gallery finished the year with a $200,000 deficit, based on the unaudited report.
Covid had an impact at the start of the financial year and increased service and labour costs also affected the bottom line, said Korohina.
”We couldn’t generate any revenue through hosting events. It also meant for our sponsors and our donors, we were not as attractive a proposition during that time as well.”
Since her appointment in March, Korohina had employed a “full business team” and they were “very focused on revenue generation”.
As a council-controlled organisation, the gallery received a $1.32 million operating grant from Tauranga City Council.
Western Bay of Plenty District Council gave $40,000 in funding. Other revenue sources included government and non-government grants, sponsorship and donations, events, venue hire and retail sales.
Commissioner Stephen Selwood said it was “fundamental” to get the “balance right between revenues and expenses”.
”Many museums or art galleries you go to there is a fee, even to the locals, for those special events.”
He said there was the opportunity to have discussions about capturing revenue from tourists and special exhibitions over the next year while the main gallery was closed.
It will be shut from October 1 for renovations as part of the $306m Te Manawataki O Te Papa civic precinct redevelopment.
The entrance to the gallery will be changed from Wharf Street to Masonic Park on the opposite side of the building and a new café and retail area will be added.
The $3.38m upgrade is jointly funded by the council and Tauranga Art Gallery Foundation. Te Manawataki o Te Papa, meaning the heartbeat of Te Papa, will include a library and community hub, civic whare (public meeting house), and museum.
A pop-up gallery was set up on nearby Devonport Rd in July that will continue to host the gallery’s education programmes and exhibitions on a smaller scale.
Korohina said this meant her team could review their programmes for the first time in the 16 years the gallery had been open.
”This is really exciting for the gallery as we move into this next phase as a Te Manawataki o Te Papa partner.
”When we reopen in our main building later on next year, we’re really looking forward to servicing future generations in Tauranga Moana through exceptional art experiences.”
- Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ on Air