Canterbury Museum

Army Artist shares the rich history of Kiwis in uniform

Posted: 1 October 2010

The largest collection of the current Army Artist’s works to be shown to the public will be on display at Canterbury Museum from October 8.

Within the Ranks: One Army, Many Faces showcases more than 70 paintings and sculptures by Captain Matt Gauldie, New Zealand’s Army Artist since 2005.

The exhibition will run for six months, offering an innovative and valuable collection of art, some never displayed before, linking the contemporary New Zealand Army to its past and developing the tradition begun in 1918.
“We have an Army artist to capture the operations, people, culture and significant events of the New Zealand Army,” says Chief of Army, Major General Rhys Jones. “Captain Gauldie’s artwork shows a side to the New Zealand Army life that many people would never otherwise see and allows New Zealanders to share the rich history of Kiwis in uniform.”

Since his appointment, Captain Gauldie has trained, lived, patrolled and worked with soldiers, helping to make his paintings so vivid and real.

“Whilst Captain Gauldie’s rank was given to him as an honorary rank, he decided he wanted to experience the reality of being a soldier,” says Major General Jones. “He has undertaken basic training at Waiouru Military Camp and deployed alongside his comrades to both the Solomon Islands and Afghanistan. Like the men and women depicted in his works, Captain Gauldie is also a soldier and an officer.”

Captain Gauldie’s artwork provides a memorial in our nation’s cultural heritage, and his ongoing mission is to capture and define the unique culture of the New Zealand Army.


Captain Matt Gauldie, 31, is a Wellington-based artist.

From a young age he was encouraged to express himself through painting and drawing as both his parents are artists. He went on to specialise in portraiture after attending Elam Fine Arts in Auckland 1995-96. His keen interest in painting people has been a consistent component in his artwork throughout his career.

Gauldie’s involvement with the New Zealand Army began when he was commissioned to paint the Unknown Warrior’s return to New Zealand in November 2004. This project was especially significant for Matt as his great grandfather served on the Somme 90 years prior. Gauldie wanted to honour the fallen through seven paintings and has infused each painting with a range of emotions unleashed during the events surrounding the warrior’s remains returning to New Zealand. After completion of the series, the then Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Helen Clark, officially appointed Gauldie the New Zealand Army’s Artist on 11 April 2005.

Like previous Army Artists, Gauldie was issued with the honorary rank of Captain, but in September 2005 he volunteers to do Army basic recruit training. He did this to gain a better understanding and insight into the New Zealand Army, so he could more accurately reflect the true nature of the military in his paintings.

The course inspired him to do the ‘Recruit’ series of paintings and also his series ‘A Day in the Life of a Soldier’.

Gauldie has deployed to both the Solomon Islands and Afghanistan and used the insight into the operational focus of the New Zealand Army in his series of paintings on both countries.


For more information please contact Defence Communications Advisor Southern Jane Wright on 021 2248658 or via email
Canterbury Museum Communications Manager, Karin Stahel on 03 366 9429 ext 869 or via email