The Dowse Foundation was established in 2003 to support a major redevelopment of The Dowse and form a basis for ongoing support of the visual arts in Lower Hutt through the museum. The Foundation successfully raised $2 million from individual donors, businesses and philanthropic organisations which unlocked matched funding from central government and the Hutt City Council.

The Foundation’s purposes, as laid out in its deed of charitable trust, include:

  • to stimulate and sustain interest in The Dowse and to extend its educational and cultural influence throughout the community
  • to facilitate public access to and enjoyment of the arts and in particular the visual arts and craft through the work of The Dowse
  • to support projects, including capital projects, which the Trust has adopted as being of specific benefit to The Dowse
  • to establish, maintain and increase the Trust Fund to assist The Dowse to meet its objectives

Today, as an independent charitable trust we raise and manage funds that are distributed on a regular basis to support projects at The Dowse that transcend its core Council-funded activities, create value for local communities, and reinforce The Dowse’s reputation as a world-class arts institution.

Our focus is long-term and strategic. We build relationships with supporters, advocate for the importance of art and culture, and encourage ambition and excellence at The Dowse. Through prudent management of an endowment fund, we ensure The Dowse will undertake ambitious and meaningful projects today and into the future.

We gratefully acknowledge all those organisations and individuals who have so generously supported The Dowse for nearly five decades now, and welcome new businesses, individuals and organisations who wish to join us in this work. Donations and bequests can be made to our general fund, which is managed by the Foundation Trustees, or dedicated to a specific purpose. You can see the kinds of projects dedicated and general funds have supported on the Outcomes of our work page of this website.

To discuss how we might work together, we warmly invite you to contact The Dowse Foundation’s Chair, Sandra Preston, for an initial conversation.

Sandra Preston
Chair, The Dowse Foundation
E info@dowsefoundation.org.nz


The Dowse Art Museum was opened nearly 50 years ago in 1971 by His Excellency the Governor General Sir Arthur Porritt.

"In this gallery you, the citizens of Lower Hutt, have not only a magnificent new civic amenity, but also a nucleus from which can grow amongst New Zealanders, both young and old, a love of real beauty."

Since its establishment The Dowse has been a place of ambition and inspiration thanks to the community of people that work on its behalf.

This is true of former Mayor Percy Dowse and his wife Mary to whom we owe our name. Their passion for a high quality local art gallery is something we share till this day.

Since The Dowse opened with the exhibition Artists of the Wellington Province 1939–1971 The Dowse has been supported by a strong and generous community as exemplified by The Dowse Foundation.

In particular, The Dowse’s acquisitions have been supported by the work of the Foundation. Recent successes in this area include Ronnie van Hout’s Fallen Robot in 2012, Peter Robinson’s people powered sculpture Tribe, Subtribe in 2013–14 and more recently the publication and exhibition Gavin Hipkins: The Domain and the refurbishment of The Hive: The Dowse’s family lounge.