In June 2022, Aotearoa lost a stalwart of the national arts scene. Luit Bieringa was a figure of immense stature in Aotearoa New Zealand’s contemporary cultural environment, and Te Manawa was deeply saddened to learn of his passing.
Luit was Director at the Manawatū Art Gallery from 1971 until 1979. He was central to the construction of the Art Gallery building – now part of Te Manawa – that has been a vital hub of arts and culture in Palmerston North for 45 years.
Always a passionate champion of the arts, Luit worked hard to change public perceptions of art galleries. He saw the new building as a centre for expanding arts education in New Zealand. His vision of a fully-fledged public institution, that the whole community could relate to, drives much of Te Manawa’s thinking and practice to this day.
“His close association with the arts, and with all of us, has had a lasting impact on the cultural landscape of our city and region,” says Te Manawa acting chief executive John Fowke.
Luit’s loss will be felt keenly by many members of the Te Manawa Arts Society, who worked closely with him during his directorship.
Read a retrospective of his life in New Zealand, highlighting landmark moments in a career dedicated to the arts.
Right: Luit Bieringa speaking at the Art Gallery’s 40th birthday celebrations in 2017. Photo by Alexander Hallag.