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News > Collegians > Self-portrait of past teacher and New Zealand artist gifted by Collegian

Self-portrait of past teacher and New Zealand artist gifted by Collegian

Richard Harman (School 1961 - 1964) arrived at the Collegians Awards armed with a gift for the School—a self-portrait of his cherished art teacher, Miss Ida Carey.
Ida Carey art
Ida Carey art

Richard acquired the piece when he spotted it in a catalogue - the purchase was a tribute to Miss Carey’s profound influence during Richard’s school days at St Paul’s. Richard expressed, “Miss Carey was more than an art teacher; she fueled my love for her works and instilled in me a passion for the arts from an early age.” 

Miss Ida Carey taught at St Paul’s Collegiate School from 1961 to 1963, and later evolved into one of New Zealand’s distinguished artists. Inspired by the symbolic intricacies of moko, she embarked on a mission to translate these elements into visual narratives, celebrating the strength and identity of Maaori. 

Reflecting on his time in Miss Carey’s art classes, Richard vividly recalled Miss Carey fostering an environment of creativity and cultural exchange, well ahead of her time. He shared a poignant memory of her resilience, noting how she returned to teaching after surviving a life-threatening car accident.

Miss Carey’s legacy extended beyond the school walls. Richard spoke of her paintings, displayed in major cities like Auckland and Wellington, serving as bridges between communities. “Her mastery of the brush brought forth the unique qualities of each individual, utilising the Maaori moko as a powerful means to convey personal histories and cultural pride,” Richard noted. She is also well known for many portraits including the Maaori Queen Dame Te Atairangikaahu. 

The art class wasn’t the only place where Richard was inspired for his future; he credits Headmaster Reg Hornsby for his career choice. “I suspect I got my interest in politics from Reg Hornsby when he was headmaster, with his weekly current affairs classes and essays, and the 6th Form Society.” 

Richard, a political journalist with a career spanning more than 40 years, has spent time as a Political Editor at TVNZ and is a life member of the Press Gallery. He also ventured into entrepreneurship, forming his own production company. His contribution to news and current affairs programming is significant, with notable achievements including founding “Agenda” (now known as “Q+A”) and “The Nation.”

In what was supposed to be a semi-retirement move, he launched the website politik.co.nz, a platform where he continues to provide insightful political analysis and produces a daily political newsletter. 

Richard’s return to the school was to celebrate with life-long school friend Professor Ormiston at the Collegians Awards. The celebration was a perfect opportunity to reconnect with teachers and friends and deliver the self-portrait of his art teacher. 

Miss Carey passed away in 1982 and with this new piece of art and the story of her work at St Paul’s, the School will appropriately honour her influence as a teacher and artist. The portrait will be appropriately displayed in the new Arts Block.

 

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