By Jill Smith
Peter Smith was one of New Zealand’s most influential art educators. During his 50-year career as a well-loved teacher, role model, mentor, and leader in educational policy he elevated the status and value of New Zealand art education to both national and international acclaim.
He helped develop and draft the country’s first national art curriculum, introduced the education system to the new and uncharted territory of internal assessment and external moderation, and trained scores of secondary school art teachers.
To know Peter’s life and legacy is to understand the evolution of art education in New Zealand from World War II to today. It is an inspiring account of how one teacher/artist’s journey helped change a nation’s educational landscape.
Dr Jill Smith is principal lecturer in visual arts education in the School of Curriculum and Pedagogy, Faculty of Education, The University of Auckland.