Dunedin is a UNESCO designated City of Literature, a magnificent example of a small city that lives, breathes and connects through its people, its culture and its intense love of literature. Situated in the South Island of New Zealand, Dunedin has a population of approximately 123,000 people and although a rather young city in worldly terms, it is well known as a university town of excellence in research and learning, and a city where writers, books and literature thrive.
Dunedin has a rich history in the arts and of making art freely available for all to enjoy. It is unsurprising, then, that the city is now embracing street art, with an increasing number of blank walls being transformed into works of art by local and international artists.
Experience these vibrant, whimsical artworks on the Dunedin Street Art trail. Artists include ROA (Belguim), Pixel Pancho (Italy), Phlegm (UK), Natalia Rak (Poland), Dal East (China), Mica Still (NZ) to name a few.
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Dunedin Public Art Gallery houses New Zealand’s oldest public art collection. Light & airy and situated in The Octagon, the gallery is itself a work of art. Old masters feature in its permanent collection, which also contains significant works by local artists including Ralph Hotere and Frances Hodgkins. The gallery has a programme of residencies and exhibitions showcasing contemporary artists.
Gallery De Novo is situated on lower Stuart Street; Goldsmith Tony Williams, Temple Gallery, Quadrant Gallery and Whiteroom design shop are on Moray Place – as is the avant-garde Blue Oyster space – while The Artist’s Room, Milford Galleries and Brett McDowell Gallery are nearby on Dowling Street.
Olveston Historic Home located on Royal Terrace has one of the largest collection of New Zealand and International art on permanent display in the city.
The Hocken Library, now on Anzac Avenue, has a stellar collection of New Zealand art. It also has a growing pile of photographs, manuscripts and books.
Hours can be spent soaking up the calm and contemporary environments that city’s libraries have to offer. From Medieval manuscripts to precious historical items, reference material for the genealogist of the family to impressive photographic and pictorial collections, Dunedin’s libraries are comprehensive and accessible.
Our libraries have exciting event calendars, with lectures, performance, art and launches often reflecting activities around the city, so do remember to check what’s on when you are in town.
Otago Museum is one of the nations finest, housing a stupendous collection of treasures from around the world.
For an insight into Dunedin’s past, visit Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, situated in the historic Queens Gardens precinct. The focus here is on people and technology. For a fascinating and authentic insight into how peopled lived in Dunedin during the early 1900s, visit Olveston Historic Home located on Royal Terrace. Gifted to the city of Dunedin in the 1960s, the house is fully furnished with all the original contents including artworks, furniture, collectables. For history specifically on the Otago Peninsula, there is a small museum located in Portobello.
New Zealand’s proud sporting achievements are celebrated at the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame, just along the road in Dunedin Railway Station.
Steam buffs should visit Dunedin’s unique Gasworks Museum. And Maritime buffs can visit the Port Chalmers Maritime Museum.
Dunedin has a vibrant independent music scene which rose to international prominence through the 1980s and 1990s. Dunedin Sound bands including The Clean, The Chills, The Verlaines, Straitjacket Fits, Sneaky Feelings and the 3Ds rocked local, national and international airwaves across America and Europe, all affiliated with the Flying Nun record label.
The Dunedin Symphony Orchestra, City Choir Dunedin and Dunedin Youth Orchestra cater to classical tastes, as do regular visits from the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the Royal New Zealand Ballet.
The city has one professional theatre – the Fortune – and two first-class auditoriums: Dunedin Town Hall and the atmospheric Regent.
Amateur theatre thrives at The Globe, Allen Hall and the Mayfair Theatre.