It was the largest exhibition in the 132-year history of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki and the most attended since 1989.
Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art is the first exhibition to take over the entire gallery. It held more than 300 artworks by 110 Māori artists and before its closing saw more than 140,000 gallerygoers.
It consisted of contemporary art between the 1950s and today, with some of New Zealand's biggest names like Robyn Kahukiwa, Robert Jahnke, Lisa Reihana, Ngatai Taepa, Tangimoe Clay, and Donna Tupaea-Petero.
According to the Toi Tū Toi Ora exhibition key statistics, 51 per cent of people who came to see the exhibition had stepped into the gallery for the very first time, making it one of the most intriguing exhibitions Tāmaki Makaurau has held.
Among those statistics were 6,000 students, despite the normal average being 3,000. The students ranged from primary school pupils to tertiary students.
Māori visitation also increased from 4 per cent to 15 per cent, which was a goal for mana whenua and Chief Operating Officer for Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Tom Irvine.
"It's a new beginning now that the show has ended," Irvine said, but due to its popularity and capacity, some of the artworks remain at the gallery for anyone who has missed the opportunity.
An Auckland Art Gallery spokesperson said they're expecting an extra 50,000 people to check it out by July.
The artworks include:
• Ko Tangaroa e ngunguru nei! | Tangaroa Rumbles and Roars!
• Te Haerenga | The Passage
• Kei te Eke Panuku te Wahine | Women Far Walking
• Te Kore, Te Po, Te Ao Marama
• Tikanga Ora, Tikanga Toitū | Living Traditions, Enduring Traditions
• Ngā Tai e Whā | The Four Tides of Tangaroa
• Ko Taku Toa Takitini | Finding Strength in the Collective
It opened on December 5, last year, and closed most of its art on Mother's Day.
"This show holds a new era. It re-indigenises institutions, if it's safe for Māori it's safe for all," Irvine said.
"There is potential to create travelling shows to celebrate toi Māori internationally. I am working with our team and stakeholders to work toward taking toi Māori to the world's galleries and grow commercial success for our artists."
The exhibition looked at old and new ways of approaching and engaging with the Māori art of the last 70 years, bringing forward a multiplicity of interpretations on the narrative of making the art.
Beyond the art, it was also an opportunity to grow new leadership roles and a beginning of a bicultural partnership.
"A great start demonstrated by partnership between Toi o Tamaki director Kirsten Lacy and mana whenua Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei," Irvine said.
The headcount of Māori staff had increased, with new roles at all levels and a senior leadership team role with a core focus on kaupapa Māori to be advertised soon.
"We are building biculturalism powerfully here."