A spirit of connectivity is ensuring Aucklanders can engage with an extraordinary range of performances, exhibitions, environmental activities, and education opportunities during COVID-19 restrictions. 

While Aucklanders stay at home to help eliminate the virus, Regional Facilities Auckland’s (RFA) Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Auckland Live, Auckland Zoo, and the New Zealand Maritime Museum are doing what they do best: inspiring, entertaining, and bringing people together online. 

Among the treasure trove of digital culture and unique experiences curated and uploaded are art exhibitions and talks from artists and curators at Auckland Art Gallery; live streams and stories with keepers and their wild charges at the Zoo; performances by some of New Zealand’s best professional musicians, orchestras, dancers, comedians and artists programmed at Auckland Live; and an online exhibition in response to the Tuia 250 commemoration at the Maritime Museum.

Auckland’s tamariki are especially well served with the Auckland Live Kids Club, Maritime Museum’s Mini Māuis Kids Club, and the Zoo’s Kids Hub and dedicated Learning from Home Resource Hub, all created to stimulate and engage young minds and imaginations, and ensuring every member of the whānau can stay connected during these challenging times. 

These online experiences will become richer still with the release later this month of a significant project giving Aucklanders – and those around the world – a new way of virtually touring Auckland Art Gallery’s exhibitions, launching with the exquisite Enchanted Worlds: Hokusai, Hiroshige and the Art of Edo Japan.

RFA chief executive, Chris Brooks, says the organisation takes its mandate to bring Aucklanders together, even when we’re physically apart, seriously.

He says while RFA’s venues may be closed, there is a huge demand from the community to continue engaging and interacting with the organisation’s wide variety of offerings. 

Moving some of the region’s most popular cultural, entertainment and environmental experiences online and into Auckland homes has proved extremely popular.

“Not only are we receiving wonderful feedback daily from people throughout New Zealand who are sharing our content with their own networks, our digital analytics show since self-isolation began our website traffic and click-throughs, electronic newsletter open rates, and social media followings have significantly increased. 

In addition, our partners in the arts, culture and recreation sectors are very motivated to share their own stories with us and our audiences and visitors, making for a highly collaborative, rich, and supportive online presence.

Chris Brooks says he’s never been so entertained or engaged in his downtime as he is at present.

“In the past few weeks I’ve curated my own online mini-exhibition at Auckland Art Gallery, enjoyed classic Kiwi humour at the 2019 Best Foods Comedy Gala filmed at The Civic, and been thoroughly enchanted by web cam encounters with our furry and feathered friends at the Zoo. 

“I have also had armchair dates with my wife to watch Royal New Zealand Ballet and a range of theatre performances, streaming live on Auckland Live’s Facebook page.”

Brooks says he is proud RFA is contributing widely to enriching the daily lives of so many people at this time, while showcasing the hard work, dedication and commitment of RFA’s valued staff, stakeholders, and partners – past, present and future.