Haszard was born in Thames, New Zealand, one of the five children of Alice (née Wily), and Henry Douglas Morpeth Haszard, a surveyor, who worked for the Lands and Survey Department, later becoming a Commissioner of Crown Lands in 1910. As a result of her father's job the family moved often and lived in Auckland, Christchurch, Hokitika and Invercargill.
At the age of 18, Haszard enrolled at the Canterbury College School of Art, now the Ilam School of Fine Arts, joining a set of women artists that included Ngaio Marsh, Evelyn Page (née Polson), Rata Lovell-Smith (née Bird) and Olivia Spencer Bower. She was taught amongst others by Archibald Nicoll, the newly appointed head of the school.
In 1922, she married Ronald McKenzie, a teacher and fellow student. However, in 1925, she abandoned this marriage to run off with an ex-British Army officer Leslie Greener. After being confronted with society disapproval, the couple escaped to France in 1926. They settled in Paris and studied briefly at the Académie Julian. Haszard continued to paint landscapes and exhibited in Paris at the Paris Salon and, during 1927, in London with the Society of Women Artists and in Cairo as well as sending work back to be exhibited in New Zealand.
The couple completed numerous painting trips to the Channel Islands, Cyprus and Greece. In 1927, Greener was employed by Victoria College, Alexandria, Egypt to teach art. In 1928 Haszard had a serious accident that left her with a back injury and she returned to London to seek medical treatment in 1929 and 1930. However she remained committed to painting and to the bohemian art and theatre circles. She returned to Alexandria in 1930. She was killed when she fell off a four-storey tower at Victoria College, Alexandria in 1931 the night after her last exhibition opened. She was 30.
List of works
- Anne Kirker, New Zealand Women Artists, Reed Methuen, 1986. ISBN 0-474-00181-4
- Drayton, Joanne (July 2002). "Rhona Haszard (1909-1931): An Experimental Expatriate". New Zealand Art Monthly. Archived from the original on 15 August 2002. Retrieved 14 July 2010.
- Haszard, Alice Gwendoline Rhona - Biography at the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand by Anne Kirker