Guy Ngan: National Bank Gisborne, 1969

Artist: Guy Ngan
Title: Pacific Voyages (Cook Bicentenary Mural)
Medium: New Zealand timber and bronze, mounted on cork
Dimensions: Approx. 5.6 square metres (60 sq ft). Exact dimensions unknown
Date: 1969
Original location: National Bank Gisborne Branch, 31-35 Gladstone Rd, Tairāwhiti Gisborne
Architect: TBC
Current location: Held by a private collector in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington
Heritage status: TBC


This work was the result of Ngan winning the 1969 National Bank Mural Award: his second win in a row after his successful entry into the 1968 competition which resulted in the work “Habitation” being installed in National Bank’s head offices in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington.

Installed in October 1969 as part of the Cook Bicentenary celebrations, the mural depicts the paths of Cook’s voyages around the Pacific. A timber map sits on a cork background, and a coin-like bronze medallion depicting Cook presides over the scene.

As reported by The Gisborne Herald on 7 October 1969, the judges commented “This artist again reveals his outstanding ability to produce a forceful design tempered with elegance and charm.” 

Guy Ngan: National Bank Head Office, 1968

Artist: Guy Ngan
Title: Habitation
Medium: Wood and cork wall sculpture
Dimensions: Approx. 6 square metres (65 sq ft). Exact dimensions unknown
Date: 1968 (building opened in 1970)
Original location: National Bank Head Office, 170-186 Featherston St, Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington, CBD
Architect: TBC
Current location: Ngan noted the work as being “destroyed” in April 2000
Heritage status: n/a


This mural was the result of Ngan winning the 1968 National Bank mural award. He won again in 1969 and 1971.

Guy Ngan: ANZ Queen St Branch, 1964

Artist: Guy Ngan
Title: Q & V Mural
Medium: Glass mosaic tiles
Dimensions: Approx. 244 square metres (800 sq ft). Exact dimensions unknown.
Date: 1964 (elsewhere dated 1960, but the building opened in October 1964).
Original location: Rear wall, banking chamber, ANZ Bank, corner of Queen & Victoria Sts (203A Queen St), Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland CBD.
Architect: Stephenson & Turner
Current location: Unknown, possibly painted over.
Heritage status: n/a


Ngan’s large mural design for the ANZ Bank Queen St covered a two-story high wall in the public banking chamber. It was also his final public artwork executed in mosaic glass tiles.

Guy Ngan: Dunedin Dental School Lecture Hall, 1957

Artist: Guy Ngan
Title: Untitled
Medium: Two murals, both ceramic tile and concrete
Dimensions: Approx 800 sq. ft. / 74 m²
Date: 1957
Original location: Lecture Hall exterior, Dunedin Dental School, University of Otago, 35 Frederick St, Dunedin Ōtepoti
Architect: Gordon Wilson, Government Architect, Ministry of Works
Current location: In situ
Heritage status: TBC


Ngan’s murals for the Dunedin Dental School Lecture Hall exterior were completed the same year as the Engineering School Lecture Hall exterior at Canterbury University in nearby Ōtautahi Christchurch.

Two murals were completed: one at each end of the building. Both still exist.

They are said to have been made with recycled broken tiles.

Guy Ngan: Canterbury University Engineering School Lecture Hall, 1957

Artist: Guy Ngan
Title: Untitled
Medium: Concrete
Dimensions: Approx. 457 m²
Date: 1957
Original location: Lecture Hall exterior, Engineering School, University of Canterbury, Creyke Rd (opposite 48), Christchurch Ōtautahi
Architect: Helmut Einhorn, Ministry of Works Architectural Division
Current location: Demolished in 2011 due to earthquake damage.
Heritage status: n/a


The University of Canterbury School of Engineering’s Lecture Hall was completed during Guy Ngan’s time as an employee of the Ministry of Works (under Gordon Wilson), where he advised on how public art might be incorporated into architectural design.

Fondly referred to as the ‘Mushroom’ due to its appearance, the iconic Lecture theatre was one of the first buildings to appear on the Ilam campus. It was added to and modified several times during the years, and its copper roof gradually aged to a verdigris hue.

The building was damaged in a major earthquake in Canterbury on 22 February 2011, after which a decision was made to demolish it, along with Ngan’s mural.

A geometric mosaic tile mural featuring bands and rectangles in greys, with orange and yellow accents, 1987

Guy Ngan: Broadcasting House/Bowen State Building linkblock, 1957

Artist: Guy Ngan
Title: Untitled
Medium: Mosaic tiles
Dimensions: Approx. 12m in length
Date: 1957
Original location: Broadcasting House and Bowen State Building linkblock, Pipitea, Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington
Architect: Gordon Wilson, Ministry of Works Architectural Division
Current location: Destroyed
Heritage status: n/a


Guy Ngan’s mosaic tile mural for the linkblock between the Bowen State Building and Broadcasting House was designed and completed at a similar time to the Bledisloe State Building.

As Ken Davis notes, “Both the Bowen State Building and Broadcasting House were designed to form an architecturally harmonious whole and were separated by a sunken court and then linked by a canopy and mural faced wall. The mural consisted of abstract patterns of brightly coloured ceramic tiles and seemed inspired by modern abstract art.”

Colour-blocks in a range of greys, yellow and orange filled an entire wall and provided a backdrop for generous plantings.

Sadly, this work is no longer. Broadcasting House was demolished in 1997, and it is likely this mural was destroyed at the same time.

A geometric mosaic tile mural featuring bands and rectangles in greys, with orange and yellow accents, 1987
Image: Ken Davis, 1987