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.



The School of Art, Dunedin

In 1870 New Zealand's first art school was opened in Dunedin with David Con Hutton, then recently arrived from Scotland, as its first drawing master. The school was established in two large rooms in what is now the Stock Exchange Building and was under the control of the education board. In 1874 the school moved into rooms in the newly completed Normal School building where additional teachers were appointed. Affiliation with the art department of the South Kensington School of Science, London, followed and in 1894 Hutton became principal of the Otago School of Art and Design. He retired in 1908. Robert Hawcridge, who became director the following year, strongly favoured an independent school of art and he resisted a move that the board of managers of the Technical Association should take it over. This extremely versatile artist did much in his 10 years as director to expand the scope and influence of the school. After his death in 1920, for reasons of economy, the school became a branch of King Edward Technical College. A. H. O'Keeffe, widely known and deeply respected throughout New Zealand as a painter, succeeded Robert Hawcridge. His term of office was one of extreme difficulty owing to lack of suitable accommodation and of finance, aggravated by public apathy.

In 1925 both T. H. Jenkin, A.R.C.A., and F. V. Ellis, A.R.C.A., who had been appointed to the staff in 1922, resigned and were replaced by W. A. Allen and R. N. Field, both associates of Royal College. J. D. Charlton Edgar replaced W. H. Allen, who resigned in 1930. In 1937 the school was installed in the present well designed building adjacent to but separate from the Technical College. F. G. Shewell is the present head. Today the emphasis is placed on design in relation to fine craft work, the aim being to combine a painting school with a sound training in industrial design.