Bill Moore

Born in 1934, in Christchurch, New Zealand, William’s (Bill’s) artistic talent and drive was evident from an early age. Bill received encouragement to further develop his painting while attending Christchurch Teachers’ College. He studied part-time at Canterbury University and also attended the St Martins School of Art in London.

A working member of the Canterbury Society of Arts since 1956, Bill taught art for 30 years. He left teaching in 1987 to devote himself fully to his painting; a decision he has never regretted. Bill has exhibited his work in numerous shows both in New Zealand, and internationally – he has also won a number of awards.

His intimate knowledge of New Zealand is largely due to his extensive travel around the country, but he has particular passion for the high country, around the Southern Alps, and the big skies and dry grasslands of the Canterbury hinterland. Since 1988, Bill has also traveled widely abroad gaining inspiration in Europe, particularly Greece, France, Italy, the UK… and also Scandinavia, USA & Mexico.

He paints in watercolor, oil & acrylic in an impressionistic style. His work is characterized by broad brushstrokes, rough textures and brilliant interplay's of light and shadow. 


OBITUARY: William Francis Moore, commonly known as Bill, is remembered as a prolific Canterbury fine artist, a kind teacher, and a rugby and cricket coach.

A fourth-generation Kiwi, Moore grew up in Harewood, Christchurch, and had two passions during his schooling years: art and rugby. As a teenager, he was encouraged by his father, Francis, to follow him into the butchery business, but he had other ideas.

Moore wanted to be an architect, but chose teaching. His artistic ability was encouraged at teacher’s college by one particular teacher, Jamie Masterton, who spotted his talent and bought him all the brushes, paint, and paper he needed to get started.

Stellar results prompted Moore to study at the University of Canterbury's fine arts school and teacher’s college before travelling six weeks by boat to Europe. There, he studied at the St Martin’s School of Art in London. He was admitted to New Zealand’s Canterbury Society of Arts in his 20s.

He funded his art initially by teaching, briefly in London and then home in Canterbury, New Zealand. He became a much-loved teacher at every school level – primary, intermediate and secondary.

He taught at Little River, Heaton Intermediate, and Middleton Grange schools, before retiring at age 53 to become a full-time artist.

Bill Moore at Lake Tekapo in 2005 “seeing things most of us can’t see”, according to son Hamish Moore.
Bill Moore at Lake Tekapo in 2005 “seeing things most of us can’t see”, according to son Hamish Moore.

Moore died peacefully at Ngaio Marsh Hospital on June 13, aged 85.

He made a lasting impact as a teacher, so much so that former students wrote a book in his honor: A tribute to Mr Moore in appreciation from the pupils of Room 15 1960-1969.Truly Inspirational.

In the book, Moore’s former pupils detail how they were inspired by his teaching.

He sent his artwork throughout the country and overseas and, throughout his teaching years, he painted in oils, watercolours or acrylic every weekend.

His ability in many mediums, including forays into wood-cuts, made him a prolific artist.

He retired from teaching early – but a couple of months after doing so, he was awarded NZ’s Shell Art Award for Watercolour in 1988, which was an endorsement of his decision to pursue art full-time.

Other lasting interests were photography, tramping and rugby, but nothing – other than an abiding faith and love for his many friends and family – came close to his passion for painting and drawing.

Moore travelled extensively with his wife, Lesley Moore, and exhibited his work often in Christchurch, Akaroa, Wellington, Queenstown, Dunedin, and even in London and Morgedal, Norway.

Bill Moore was a prominent and prolific fine artist in Canterbury, as well as a teacher and sports coach.
Bill Moore was a prominent and prolific fine artist in Canterbury, as well as a teacher and sports coach.

Lesley Moore said her husband was “full of fun” and the pair, who were married 61 years, traveled throughout New Zealand and around the world together.

”He loved people and loved life. We enjoyed life together,” she said.

Many of his favourite paintings are now in private collections across the globe.

Bill Moore’s first art exhibition was on a boat in 1959, as he traveled from Sydney to Tilbury in London, via the Suez Canal in Egypt.

The paintings were of all the ports he passed along the way – the Cocos Islands in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka, Aiden in the Middle East, and Naples, Marseille and Gibraltar in the Mediterranean.

He sold most of the watercolour sketches to others on the boat.

Hamish Moore said his father had a genuine interest and love for people, and was excited by each new turn in the road or each new mountain that came into view.

“That was a special gift Dad had,” he said.

Although he lived a healthy life filled with hiking, drawing, painting and photography, Moore suffered from Parkinson’s disease in his final five years.

He is survived by his wife Lesley, three adult children and six grandchildren.