Lectures on the decorative and fine arts from world experts

Become part of our network of over 90,000 people worldwide – brought together through a shared curiosity for the arts and our artistic heritage.

We offer enjoyable opportunities to discover and support the arts of yesterday, today and tomorrow, wherever you are. Our events provide welcoming places – locally, nationally and globally – to hear excellent lecturers share their specialist knowledge about the arts.

Internationally, The Arts Society is a leading arts education charity with a global network of 385 local Societies, which bring people together through a shared curiosity for the arts.

Here in New Zealand, we have eight local Societies, offering an annual program of eight or nine lectures, delivered by subject matter experts. The first Society was formed in 2001 in Christchurch and there are now over 1,400 members nationally.

2021 Programme & Lecturers

All lecturers are professionals and experts in their field – their presentations are lively, informative and entertaining. UK Lecturers are required to meet stringent criteria established by The Arts Society in the UK to ensure lectures and images are of the highest quality.

Due to the ongoing uncertainty of international travel, for 2021 we have made the decision not to attempt bringing any lecturers in from overseas. However, we are still offering a full programme of eight lectures, the four New Zealand-based lectures will be with us in person and the four UK-based Arts Society lecturers will deliver their lectures by live broadcast to our venues or to members at home if Covid-19 restrictions require this. We are optimistically anticipating an undisrupted year, but of course our arrangements may be subject to change if the need arises.

Meeting format

A one-hour lecture, followed by light refreshments and opportunities for members to mingle and meet the lecturers are part of the meeting format. Coming along to a lecture is a great way to learn and an enjoyable way to develop friendships.

The Arts Society in New Zealand

The international society has recently changed its name from the National Association of Decorative & Fine Arts Societies (NADFAS) to The Arts Society.  All the New Zealand Societies come under The Arts Society umbrella and operate in a similar way although each is an autonomous entity.

While the international body has changed its name, for several of our New Zealand Societies, there are already well-established art societies in their area. This has meant that, to avoid confusion, those with existing local art societies will retain their DFAS name, while others will move to The Arts Society – a great example of unified diversity!

Auckland | Canterbury | Hawke’s Bay | Marlborough | Nelson | Otago | Waikato | Wellington

Upcoming Lecturers

Visit Society pages for more information


Pete Bossley [NZ]

February/March  2021 – Wellington, Nelson & Marlborough
July/August 2021 – Hawke’s Bay, Auckland, Waikato, Canterbury & Otago


Neil Faulkner [UK]

February/March 2021 – Hawke’s Bay, Auckland, Waikato, Canterbury & Otago


Benny Castles [NZ]

March 2021
– except Nelson & Marlborough


Arthur Tompkins [NZ]

March 2021
– Nelson & Marlborough


Nigel Bates [UK]

May 2021


Dominic Riley [UK]

June 2021



July/August 2021 – Wellington, Nelson & Marlborough


Nicholas Merchant [UK]

August/September 2021


Michelle Brown [UK]

October 2021


Mary Kisler [NZ]

November 2021


Gregory O'Brien [NZ]

rescheduled to February 2022