Always Song in the Water explores the oceanic environment of Aotearoa, drawing inspiration from Gregory O'Brien's eponymous book. The exhibition celebrates our connection to the wider Pacific region, its people, flora, and fauna, reflecting themes of whales, oceans, voyaging, and conservation. Experience paintings, photography, jewellery, poetry, and dance from artists including John Pule, Robin White, John Reynolds, Elizabeth Thomson, Denys Watkins, Neke Moa, Lianne Edwards, Phil Dadson, Fiona Hall, Kazu Nakagawa, Bruce Foster, Steev Laufilitoga Maka, Shona Rapira Davies, and more.

Ala Hagatonu

Experience Ala Hagatonu from our 2023 exhibition "Always Song in the Water." Song by Steev Laufilitoga Maka, choreography by Ruha Fifita and filmed by Bruce Foster.

The inspiration behind the exhibition

At the core of the exhibition – and its starting point – is Gregory O'Brien's 2019 book, also titled Always Song in the Water. The Museum is proud to release an expanded edition of the book featuring more than 40 new works of art and an extensive chapter outlining the 2023-24 exhibition project.

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Dive deeper into Always Song

Take a deeper look at Always Song in the Water with our easy-to-use audio tour on your own device, at the museum and from home. Bring your headphones and become your own guide! Discover an immersive audio tour led by co-curator Gregory O'Brien highlighting ten artworks featured in the exhibition along with poems, and an interactive quiz. 


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