Gil Hanly ONZM is a veteran photographer and archivist best known for documenting the social, political and artistic landscape in Aoteaora from the 1970’s to the turn of the millennium. She notably covered protests surrounding the 1981 Springbok Tour, the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior, the land occupation at Bastion Point and the 1984 land hikoi. Always motivated by a commitment to recording issues with major impacts on local communities, she was equally dedicated to the preservation of information, with a unique personal system of indexing her enormous archive. This rich resource is now housed at Auckland Museum.
Hanly attended Ilam School of Fine Arts in Christchurch in the early 1950’s where she trained to be a painter. After graduation she moved to London for five years where she worked as a props buyer for a production company, then on return to New Zealand she worked for the feminist publication Broadsheet. Her photographs of the women’s movement in the 1970s and 1980s featured prominently in the exhibition at Auckland Museum Are We There Yet? which marked the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in Aotearoa.
Her personal love of gardening and gardens lead to a second career in garden photography in later years for Hanly. Considering the garden as a site of important biographical and cultural context, Hanly saw the garden as a site to explore the problems of occupying space, tending the land, and respecting cultural difference and attitudes.