From Thursday 13 April Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki will offer tours for Mandarin speakers. The 45-minute tours will feature highlights across Auckland Art Gallery and will include an introduction to the Gallery’s art collection, Māori portraits and its award-winning building.
Each tour, hosted by Gallery staff, will take place on Thursdays to Sundays at 12.30pm at a cost of $10 per person.
Auckland Art Gallery Director Rhana Devenport says creating the Mandarin language tours was a natural next step for the Gallery.
"According to our visitor research, around ten per cent of all our visitors, from home and abroad, identify as Chinese, ours is one of the highest visitation of Chinese visitors to museums in Australasia – this is an audience we want to care for and grow," she says.
Gallery Visitor Experience Manager Richard Wormley says communicating with Chinese-speaking visitors in their own language should provide a deeper and more meaningful experience of the Gallery.
"We want to engage both local and international Chinese visitors with art content and help further develop their understanding of New Zealand culture," he says.
New Chinese host Hannah Xie says the first time she visited Auckland Art Gallery she wanted to learn about Māori culture so joined a guided tour, however she struggled to understand it, as English is her second language.
"I felt I lost a vivid introduction to the Māori story, and I think many other Chinese people will have had a similar experience. So I applied for the role as a tour guide because I want to help Chinese people integrate into New Zealand society better by learning about its culture and history in a way they can understand, through the charm of art," she says.
Hannah is one of a team of six Mandarin-speaking Gallery Assistants recently recruited and joins other Mandarin-speaking colleagues working at the Gallery. The tours will begin in the Gallery’s foyer with an introduction to the gallery, its history and architecture and will follow with information about the Gallery’s collection of New Zealand art and Māori culture through Māori portraits.
Another tour guide Jenny Yang says she became a tour guide as she wanted to help create connections.
"I want to build a bridge between Kiwi aesthetic values and diverse Chinese communities in New Zealand," she says.
As well as the daily Thursday to Sunday tours, group bookings can be made for up to 15 people. To book email email@example.com in Mandarin or English.