Govett-Brewster Art Gallery is celebrating its golden anniversary and the woman who made it all possible with an especially brewed drop of amber nectar.

Art lovers will be able to raise a glass with a new brew created by Shining Peak Brewing, called Mrs Brewster NZ Pale Ale, to 50 years since the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery opened its doors.

The ale is named in honour of the gallery's founding donor and visionary Monica Brewster (née Govett), whose bequests to the New Plymouth District Council established the gallery and its permanent collection of artworks focused on Aotearoa and the Pacific.

Co-directors Aileen Burns and Johan Lundh say the beer has developed out of one of their cherished local partnerships.


"Together Shining Peak and the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery are celebrating a unique and powerful Taranaki story as we celebrate 50 years."

Visitors can have their first taste of Mrs Brewster NZ Pale Ale at the public opening of the exhibition The scene in which I find myself / Or, where does my body belong on December 7, 6pm.

The show is led by Taranaki-born artist Ruth Buchanan (Te Atiawa, Taranaki, Pākehā) and features nearly 300 artworks by 190 artists, collected in the last 50 years. It is the gallery's largest ever collection exhibition.

NPDC recreation and culture manager Teresa Turner says it's important to celebrate 50 years of the gallery that has energised the region's vibrant art scene and put New Plymouth on the map.

"I think Monica would be extremely proud of what the gallery has achieved since 1970. NPDC is delighted to celebrate the gallery's importance to our district."

There will be a number of events throughout 2020, including a Leap Year party on Queen St, Saturday, February 29, where Mrs Brewster Pale Ale will be on tap again.

50 years: By the numbers
· Monica Brewster donated $50,000 in 1962 for a gallery – that's about $2 million in today's money.
· The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery opened in February 1970.
· The gallery has held more than 800 exhibitions.
· It has hosted close to 200 Monica Brewster Evenings.
· The gallery has collected nearly 1000 artworks for the Govett-Brewster Collection.