An ornament to the town
The band rotunda in New Zealand
Runs from 13 March – 2 June 2017 | 10am-5pm, Monday to Saturday | Level one
Alex Lithgow, "Invercargill", performed by Woolston Brass Band, ca 1933. Record page
Band rotundas are an attractive feature of cities and towns across New Zealand.
Popular enthusiasm for brass band music led to over 100 rotundas being built from the 1890s to the 1930s – Wellington alone had nine.
Much admired as civic ‘ornaments’, these elegant structures sheltered musicians while they performed for the public, projecting their music out across parks and botanic gardens, beaches and city streets. They’ve often been used for other purposes, too, including municipal receptions, speeches and protest events.
This exhibition explores the unique heritage of the New Zealand band rotunda through photographs, postcards, architectural plans, ephemera, sound recordings, paintings and more.
As many rotundas have been have lost over the years, now is a good time to renew our appreciation of these delightful fixtures.
This exhibition has been curated by Dr Michael Brown (Curator, Music) and Associate Professor Samantha Owens (Victoria University of Wellington). Listen to the curators talk about the exhibition on RadioNZ’s Upbeat with Eva Radich, and Sunday Morning with Wallace Chapman.
Ornaments across New Zealand
Kenneth J Alford, "Dunedin", performed by Woolston Brass Band, ca 1933. Record page
Join us for live music and special talks.
Feature image: New Zealand and South Seas International Exhibition, Dunedin, 1925. Ref: 1/1-008744-G.