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We Set Out One Morning...

Art Collection as displayed in Archives Level 2 Grand Annex Peter McLeavey square

During the 1980s a number of factors were at play creating the perfect environment in which BNZ could establish an art collection. The economic boom, a golden period of New Zealand art, BNZ’s art-minded General Manager, Mr W. J. Shaw, and a newly built Head Office all supported this bold initiative.

From 1982 to 1987 renowned Wellington gallerist, Peter McLeavey, was commissioned to purchase a collection which would ‘clothe the walls’ of the BNZ Centre, add an extra dimension to the normal business day and demonstrate the bank’s commitment to a ‘fuller quality of life’ for staff, clients and visitors - no small task!

Jill Trevelyan’s 2013 biography, Peter McLeavey, The life and times of a New Zealand art dealer highlights the significance of McLeavey's role,

"His first task was to establish some objectives for the collection: it would focus on contemporary art, maintain a high standard and reflect a national identity."

A careful selection of works, including paintings, photographs and ceramics ensured that the BNZ Art Collection has grown in historical, cultural and financial value throughout the years.

Today, the BNZ Art Collection contains approximately 350 pieces and is widely considered one of New Zealand’s best private collections.