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Policy for Re-siting or Removal of Public Art Works

Auckland City, New Zealand


Auckland City's public art policy and guidelines, published in 1999, refers briefly to the topic of deaccession or removal of public art works. The policy recognises that: 'Not all works are made to last forever, and indeed some works are temporary in nature from the outset. In other cases works may have outlasted their useful life or the location may no longer be suitable'.

This issue became of active importance in 2005 when Auckland City's intention to remove a public art work caused alarm and concern amongst the arts sector. It quickly became clear that a more detailed policy was needed to take account of the wide range of complex issues involved in evaluating and making decisions on the future of a public art work. Research showed that many cities were struggling with similar issues but few had developed specific policies and procedures to guide their actions. Auckland City therefore determined to develop a rigorous and transparent procedure.

The policy and guidelines for the re-siting or removal of public art works were developed by a small project team including Auckland City's arts staff, representatives from Artists Alliance and University of Auckland's Art History Department. The draft policy was put out for consultation with key people in the arts sector and a workshop was held in early 2006.

The Policy

The policy is founded on a position of respect for the integrity of the art works and the sites for which they were created, in line with the intentions of the artist, the donor or lender, and consistent with the rights enshrined in contractual agreements and copyright legislation.

It states that: 'Removal of public art works should be considered only after careful and impartial evaluation and undertaken only when no other option exists. It should involve the same degree of careful review as a decision to commission a work of art; informed by professional judgement and the interests of the public, and should proceed according to carefully developed policies and procedures.'


The policy guidelines include:

  • Policy statement
  • Policy objectives
  • Policy scope
  • Definitions
  • Criteria for initiating a review process
  • Procedure
  • Appendix: Consultation Options (a choice of three options, to be implemented following a Stakeholder Impact Analysis to assess the level of impact/public interest)

The full policy is on the Auckland City website at:


Follow this link to download the full re-siting policy as an Adobe Acrobat document: 1.65 Mb

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