Announcement from the CSA/CoCA Board, 17 April 2023

After undertaking an extensive consultation process in 2022, we are implementing some changes.

We are pleased to share the outcomes of the consultation with everyone who took part in the process that helped shape the decisions made about the future of the organisation and our wider community.

A summary of the consultation

It was critical for us to hear what the community in Ōtautahi, and further afield, thinks about how the Canterbury Society of Arts serves the sector, audiences and our charitable purposes. As part of the consultation, we reached out to our community in 2022 via two online surveys and a series of in-person interviews.

Overall, 400 people provided input, of whom the majority were experienced artists, practitioners, curators, arts administrators and gallery staff. We greatly value the insights everyone provided through this process, which informed the reshaping of our strategic direction and we are excited to share this update with you today.

The message from the respondents was clear: CoCA Toi Moroki Centre of Contemporary Art is vitally important to the community for its role in supporting the arts. CoCA is viewed as providing audiences and arts practitioners with crucial opportunities to connect, collaborate and participate in free and low-cost events.

Many people also expressed their strong connection to the 1968 character building, as it is an important example of modernist architecture and a unique asset for an arts organisation to own. CoCA is seen as an important part of the local arts ecology: critical for the development of artists at different stages of their careers and a range of disciplines.

However, we also received important feedback to address, including concerns about connections to the local arts context, commercial sustainability of the organisation and a desire for relationship building to be one of the organisation’s key aims.

Several people expressed concern about the lack of visibility at a board level and the negative impact of staff retention on the organisation’s reputation.

The way forward

We are grateful for all of your input and feedback and will be making the following changes as a result:

  • A new strategic framework has been created with the purpose of better-connected arts practitioners, at the heart of better-connected communities. This will underpin our decision making across the organisation.
  • CoCA’s Ō Papa Ground floor gallery will continue to host exhibitions and public programming activity while the organisation operates at a reduced capacity.
  • A newly created panel of experienced arts practitioners from various disciplines will now support artists to facilitate, develop and deliver programming outcomes.
  • The CSA has strengthened financial sustainability through providing a five-year lease to Canterbury Museum where programming will be delivered in the Ō Raki upper floor galleries during redevelopment work of its Rolleston Ave site.
  • The CSA has developed a long term fundraising strategy to engage the supporter community and secure the building and organisation’s future.
  • CoCA will partner with key arts organisations across the region including ARA Te Pūkenga and UC Fine Arts to nurture and promote talent at a tertiary level. CoCA will remain focused on developing relationships with arts organisations such as Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū, The Physics Room, and Paemanu Ngāi Tahu Visual Arts for enhanced collaboration and greater efficiency.

Open Call for Proposals

We are proud to announce our first Open Call for an exhibition programme of works beginning in late 2023. We encourage applications from artists, collectives, community groups, curators, and writers with proposals for an exhibition or ideas for public programming for the Ō Papa gallery. We are also interested in Waitaha-based offsite proposals. Click here to apply. The deadline is 28 May 2023.

Further exhibition and event details will be announced soon. Keep an eye on our social channels for regular updates. In the meantime, for further queries, contact CoCA via email at


A message from Canterbury Society or Arts Board Chair, Anna Ryan, 25 January 2023

Tēnā koutou,

We’re delighted to announce that later in 2023, Toi Moroki – the Centre of Contemporary Art (CoCA), will launch a new exhibition programme.

From mid-2023, the doors of the CoCA gallery at 66 Gloucester Street will swing open once more, welcoming visitors to new contemporary art exhibitions and an exciting ‘pop-up’ of Canterbury Museum.

The Museum has agreed a lease with us which will allow it to deliver exhibitions in the first floor of our building for the next five years while their building is completely redeveloped.

CoCA will continue to operate from the Ō Papa ground floor gallery, behind Lux.

The ‘pop-up’ Museum will house a mixture of temporary exhibitions as well as the ‘greatest hits and highlights’ from its permanent galleries.

This partnership – of art and artefacts – is extremely positive news.

It brings stability for CoCA and ensures Cantabrians and visitors to the city will be able to view some of the Museum’s taonga while its Rolleston Ave building is closed to the public.

As you know, CoCA’s been facing a number of challenges and needed more than $150,000 to replace the building’s air conditioning system.

Thankfully, the Christchurch City Council has agreed to meet us halfway, with a $75,000 grant to complete the much-needed upgrade. This will ensure the gallery has the right heating and cooling systems to preserve the Museum’s precious taonga. That work will be undertaken over the next six months. In the meantime, the CoCA team is committed to ensuring Christchurch’s thriving arts scene stays active, with planning underway for a number of exciting events. You can keep up-to-date with what’s happening by following us on Facebook and Instagram.

CoCA’s Long-Term Future

This new partnership is great news for CoCA and ensures we can keep our much-loved building. It does not, however, provide us with long-term financial security post the Museum tenancy.

Our Board is continuing to work tirelessly on this, as well as developing a new strategic plan for programming. We’ll be sharing our vision for this strategy with you in the next few months and as always will welcome all input.

Our focus will be on connecting arts practitioners and communities in Waitaha Canterbury. We are confident we can deliver a strategy to achieve this.

For now, we’re excited to share the news with you that we’re here to stay. Our partnership with the Museum is a real cause for celebration. Check out this video clip for more information on what's to come.

I hope you are as excited as I am to see CoCA and Canterbury Museum work alongside each other to deliver compelling displays for Cantabrians and visitors alike for the next five years.

Anna Ryan
Canterbury Society of Arts Charitable Trust