Skip to main content
Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.




There are four major art schools in New Zealand, two being university schools and two associated with the technical colleges in Wellington and Dunedin under the control of the Department of Education. Many secondary schools throughout the country provide art courses and in the smaller centres art classes for adults are provided, mainly in the evenings. Art classes for day students in High Schools and Technical Colleges must be fitted in to a curriculum governed by School Certificate and University Entrance requirements, and anything like a complete art course cannot be provided. There is frequently close cooperation with local art societies and clubs, and valuable though unspectacular results are achieved. There are no private art schools of importance and very few private art teachers.

Candidates for the art schools have had, therefore, little preparatory training. The Fine Arts Preliminary examination, a prerequisite for the university schools, is elementary, and cannot be compared with the normal University Entrance requirements. Much of the usual three-year course is thus, of necessity, devoted to bringing students up to the standard which would be required for admission to one of the overseas schools or colleges. The recent appointments of professors of fine art at Auckland and Christchurch could well mean a thorough revision of the present unsatisfactory situation.

Art is a lively subject in our primary schools. Art training is part of the normal course at teachers' colleges and there are opportunities for suitable students to undertake an extension course for specialist art teachers. Robert Donn, a Scot trained in Glasgow who taught at teachers' colleges in Dunedin and Auckland, was one of the first to lift the teaching of art in schools from the doldrums into high favour, and his pioneering work has been developed by a number of gifted artist-teachers, the majority recruited from overseas.


Stewart Bell Maclennan, A.R.C.A.(LOND.), Director, National Art Gallery, Wellington.