Opening of the Suzanne Aubert Heritage Centre

The rich story of the Sisters of Compassion is told in a new exhibition which opened on 18 September 2018 in the Suzanne Aubert Heritage Centre at the Home of Compassion in Island Bay.

The Sisters of Compassion are Aotearoa's home-grown religious order of women. The congregation was founded in Hiruhārama/Jerusalem on the Whanganui River in 1892 by Suzanne Aubert, the extraordinary French woman who travelled to New Zealand in 1860 and devoted her life to supporting the Māori people and the care of suffering and disadvantaged people. For over 125 years the Sisters have lived Suzanne's legacy of compassion, responding to the greatest needs of the times. The Sisters have touched the lives of people across cultures, generations, and social positions.Their mahi has taken them throughout New Zealand, Australia, and the Pacific. The Sisters have been held in high and affectionate regard by Wellingtonians since their arrival in Buckle Street in 1899.

The challenge for the exhibition was to interpret the wide and deep story of the congregation and its more than 300 sisters, in the constraints of 150 square metres of space. Designed by Craig Turvey of 3D creative, visitors sense the contribution of the Sisters to New Zealand's history and society and can delve deeper into the story through a range of interactive features. The exhibition complements the existing exhibition room on the life of Suzanne Aubert and is in keeping with the wairua of the Home of Compassion. The Home, well known for its time as a hospital, is now a spirituality centre, an urban oasis, just minutes from central Wellington. It continues as the home of the sisters and is the resting place of Suzanne Aubert.

Master of Museum and Heritage Practice (MMHP) student Lara Simmons contributed to the interpretation of this exhibition as a placement for the course Practicum MHST512. Lara interviewed the Sisters of Compassion and worked to develop the interpretive theme for the exhibition. Lara continued her involvement after her practicum continuing to serve as interpreter and content developer for the exhibition. Lara is seen here with an exhibit interactive she developed. Visitors can pull the bell pull and ring the bell of the church in Hiruhārama/Jerusalem. In 2010 Lily Frederiske, now a graduate of the MMHP Programme, worked on the exhibition about Suzanne Aubert’s life, under the guidance of Craig Turvey, of 3D Creative, for the course Practicum MHST512. Lily now works as a freelancer in this field.

Visitors are invited to discover the Suzanne Aubert Heritage Centre and explore the Sisters of Compassion and Suzanne Aubert exhibition rooms, Chapel, the Resting Place of Suzanne Aubert and Cloister Cafe.

Opening Hours:

10am-3pm, Tuesday - Saturday

12noon-3pm Sunday

Home of Compassion, 2 Rhine Street (off Murray St), Island Bay

For more information phone the:

Visitor Experience Manager (04) 282 1953