Tuesday, July 01, 2014

The Count

With all the fuss over Napier’s MTG not getting enough people through the door to satisfy its City Council (who let it not be forgotten originally set the target at an absurd 690,000 in their Annual Plan), we did a quick check to see how everyone else was doing.

Top people magnet is the Auckland Art Gallery helped hugely by its new building. Next up, kind of surprisingly, is the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. Its attendances must wipe everyone else off the map in visitors as a percentage of population. Then it’s Te Papa’s fifth floor. There are no audited figures available but over the years we've cobbled together an estimate based on its own reports.

Only one on the list Rotorua charges an entrance fee although some of the others do charge for temporary or touring exhibitions. Many institutions don’t publish their attendance figures or do so in a way that makes them difficult to extract. The Dowse's attendance numbers, for instance, are combined with the Petone Settlers Museum at 204,000 so aren't included (The Dowse have since told us their latest annual attendance figure is 205,563 not including the
Petone Settlers Museum). There's also the notorious kid factor - the percentage of non-voluntary children (aka school kids) bulking up these figures is of course a deeply hidden secret.

But here’s a rough and ready guide.

Auckland Art Gallery  720,000
Dunedin Public Art Gallery 255,000
Te Papa’s fifth floor 190,000
City Gallery Wellington 161,681
Waikato Art Museum  111,915
Rotorua Museum 97,642
Govett Brewster 67,000
Sarjeant Gallery  37,463

Image: sophisticated chart from OTN’s design department