The New Zealand Art Crime Research Trust is a Charitable Trust with three primary purposes:

  • Hosting an annual Art Crime Symposium;
  • Advancing multi-disciplinary research into art crime and related issues; and
  • Encouraging and fostering awareness of art crime in all its manifestations and forms.

The Trust hosted its inaugural Art Crime Symposium on Saturday 19th September 2015, at the City Gallery in Wellington. This innovative symposium brought together leading academics and researchers for an important and ground-breaking one-day Symposium, covering many aspects of art crime both in New Zealand and beyond, at the City Gallery in the heart of Wellington.

The first Symposium was such a success that it has now become an annual event.  On Saturday 15 October 2016, the Trust held ArtCrime2016: The Symposium at City Gallery in Wellington.  See the Annual Art Crime Symposia page for more details.

The four foundation trustees of the Trust are:

Arthur Tompkins
Arthur Tompkins is a sitting District Court Judge based in Wellington. For 7 years now he has taught the Art in War component course as part of the annual Graduate Certificate Program in Art Crime and Heritage Protection Studies, presented by the Association for Research into Crimes against Art in Amelia, Umbria, Italy. Judge Tompkins has taught the same course as a summer Intensive Programme at Waikato University, and (in shortened form) at Victoria University as a continuing Education Course. He has lectured around New Zealand and abroad on art crime, and is a regular art-crime guest on Kim Hill’s Saturday Morning show on National Radio.

Penelope Jackson
Penelope Jackson is an art historian with a special interest in New Zealand art crime. She is the former Director of Tauranga Art Gallery. Ms Jackson curated the exhibition, Corrugations: the art of Jeff Thomson that won the 2014 Museum Aotearoa exhibition of the year and another, Lynley Dodd: A Retrospective is currently touring Australia. She has given several presentations about art crime, including at the 2014 Association for Research into Crimes against Art conference in Amelia, Umbria, Italy.

Louisa Gommans
Louisa Gommans is a commercial lawyer with a special interest in art law. She practises at Rainey Collins Lawyers in central Wellington and writes regularly on the topic of art law. Ms Gommans has an honours degree in Italian and Art History, and worked for a time in the Karanga Aotearoa Repatriation Team at Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand.  She has researched and written about the protection of Maori cultural heritage, including through repatriation of taonga and remains and the appropriate use of Maori cultural products.  A particular area of interest is provenance research, and advising both buyers and sellers  about conducting thorough due diligence.

Ngarino Ellis
Ngarino Ellis (Ngapuhi, Ngati Porou) is a Senior Lecturer in Art History at the University of Auckland. Her teaching includes a stage 2/3 paper entitled ‘Art Crime’ which includes illicit antiquities, looting, theft, vandalism, forgery and art squads, both historic and contemporary across the globe. This is the only permanent academic course of this nature in Australasia. She has researched indigenous art theft in Aotearoa New Zealand as part of her wider role as Co-ordinator of the Museums and Cultural Heritage Programme, also at the University of Auckland. She is yet to enjoy the wonders of Amelia, Italy.