Riwaka Wharf and white heron; M T Woollaston; 1973; 1980/21


Riwaka Wharf and white heron

About this object

Toss Woollaston first moved to Riwaka to work in an orchard when he was eighteen. For many years he survived on seasonal fruit-picking work which allowed time for short excursions to art schools in Dunedin and Christchurch. Inspired by his teacher, R. N. Field, and by the work of Cézanne, seen in reproduction, he developed his own intuitive, gestural approach to landscapes and portraits. In 1962 he wrote: '. . . the landscape was not an easy one, its attraction wasn't readily noticed by a casual visitor . . . the low yellowish hills, freckled as they were with bracken and gorse, descending unemphatically to farm flats or inland tidal reaches, being lived in for a number of years, gradually clarified into the form and essence of beauty . . .'. In 1968, after 34 years in neighbouring Mapua, he moved back to Riwaka and began a series of huge panoramic works. Riwaka Wharf was a favourite subject and a vantage point from which to view the expanse of Tasman Bay towards the Marlborough Sounds and the distant hills behind Nelson. Woollaston wrote of Riwaka as a place to paint: 'You never get to the end of a subject if you paint it all your life. You get far more out of it the longer you work at it'. Toss Woollaston was knighted in 1979 for his contribution to New Zealand art. (from The Guide, 2001)


M T Woollaston

Maker Role


Date Made


Medium and Materials

oil on hardboard


1220 x 2745mm

Subject and Association Description

wharves, piers, seas, coastlines, shores, hills, ridges, mountains

Credit Line

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, gift of the Friends of the Auckland Art Gallery, 1980

Object Type


Object number


Copyright Licence  

All rights reserved

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