Bill (William) Moore
Life story: Christchurch artist and 'man of colors' Bill Moore remembered
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.
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, watercolors 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 Watercolor 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.
Lesley Moore said her husband was “full of fun” and the pair, who were married 61 years, travelled throughout New Zealand and around the world together.
”He loved people and loved life. We enjoyed life together,” she said.
Many of his favorite paintings are now in private collections across the globe.
Bill Moore’s first art exhibition was on a boat in 1959, as he travelled 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 watercolor 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.