Thursday 7 December 2017
Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato and Hamilton City Council are mourning the loss of an ardent supporter of arts and culture in the region.
Barry Hopkins, renowned for his unmatched passion for and generosity to the Waikato arts community, passed away on Monday 4 December 2017, aged 75.
A former Ohaupo farmer, Mr Hopkins’ interest in art dates back 60 years to his first purchase, a Colin McCahon work titled Waterfalls with Red Cliffs.
His involvement in the arts scene extended from collector to prominent member of the Waikato Society of Arts and long-serving member of the executive committee of the Friends of the Waikato Museum.
His collection, featuring hundreds of works selected in his eclectic style according to personal tastes rather than art trends, resides at Waikato Museum.
In 2014, a significant financial contribution by Mr Hopkins paved the way for Waikato Museum’s former café to be refurbished as a gallery space which bears his name.
Waikato Museum Director Cherie Meecham says Mr Hopkins’ selfless support, as both a benefactor and advocate of the Museum, was invaluable.
“Passion doesn’t come close to describing Barry’s devotion to the arts,” she says. “He loved art, and his appreciation was matched by a deep knowledge, firm beliefs and generous philanthropy.”
Mayor Andrew King says Mr Hopkins’ contribution to Waikato Museum is among the greatest of any individual.
“The people of Hamilton and visitors to Waikato Museum are fortunate to be able to enjoy Mr Hopkins’ collection for all time, and the city is grateful to have benefitted from his philanthropy and commitment to the arts.”