Coinciding with Wills Month, a new exhibition at Waikato Museum celebrates the generosity of local citizens, philanthropists, collectors and artists who have bequeathed a range of taonga and artworks to the Waikato Bequests Trust collection at the Museum.

With works spanning more than 200 years, the exhibition offers a mix of prints, oils, watercolours and cast glass drawn from more than 100 works donated since the Trust was established a little more than 10 years ago.

On one wall it features a diptych Familiar Spaces, 2012, donated by prominent Waikato artist Zena Elliott (Ngaati Awa, Te Whaanau-a-Apanui, Ngaai Te Rangi, Te Arawa), and on another wall a nineteenth-century work by Charles Blomfield sits comfortably next to a twentieth-century work by Michael Smither.

Trust chair David Fowler says: “The Trust was established to provide an avenue for the gifting of art and artefacts to the Waikato Museum, to keep cultural resources in our region, and to make them available for the benefit and delight of future generations.

“Our exhibition opening happily coincides with Wills Month, which was established to remind people of the importance of making a will.”

Research undertaken by the Public Trust, which established and promotes Wills Month each September, shows only 45% of adult New Zealanders have made a will and there is a lot of misunderstanding in the community about wills and why they are important.

Museum Director Cherie Meecham says: “This lovely exhibition reflects the forethought of the Waikato Bequests Trust in working with us to offer a safe home for taonga and artworks from private collections. Some of the works have never been on public display before and are really worth seeing.”