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Conversations with iconic people

Episode41

Peter Smith

“We were the best of a pedagogical arrangement as teacher/learner, I was not instructing, I was learning as much as they were, it was a mutual process”

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Full Episode / 00:46:34

In This Episode

Peter Smith passed away on May 8, 2012. Please see the "Supporting Material" section on the left for an obituary by Rodney Wilson.

Peter Smith is arguably the single most influential figure in art education in New Zealand since the 1950s. He has had a distinguished career in art, art education and educational administration and has shaped the national curriculum as well as training generations of art teachers.

From 1946 he served as an art advisor for the Department of Education. In 1953 he established New Zealand’s first secondary teacher education programme at Auckland Teachers College, with the enrolment of art graduates from the Schools of Fine Arts at Auckland and Canterbury Universities. In 1974 Peter became an inspector of secondary schools in the Auckland region, and in 1980 was appointed Assistant Regional Superintendent of Education, Auckland.

During his career he was substantially involved in the drafting of prescriptions for senior secondary school art, and was the principal writer of the Art Education: Junior Classes to Form 7 Syllabus for schools (Department of Education, 1989).

After retiring in 1990 as Principal-Coordination, Auckland College of Education, Peter was commissioned to critique The Arts in the New Zealand Curriculum (Ministry of Education, 2000). 

He is a painter and illustrator, a keen sailer, and has also designed and built several sailing craft including the Pacific Icon, a keel boat that he and his wife Jill sailed around the Pacific.