Shona McFarlane

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Shona Graham McFarlane, CBE (27 March 1929 – 29 September 2001), was a New Zealand artist, journalist and broadcaster.


McFarlane was born in Gore and educated at Otago Girls' High School, and studied teaching at Dunedin Teachers' College. McFarlane taught Art in New Zealand schools from 1950-1952, before moving to London where she taught in the mid-1950s.

During the 1960s and 1970s she served on the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council, and was President of the Otago Art Society during the 1960s. Until 1975, she served on the Otago Theatre Trust Committee, on the Dunedin Public Art Gallery Council, and was President of the Dunedin Civic Arts Council. She was also a prominent campaigner to preserve several historic Dunedin buildings.

As a journalist during the period from 1960-1974, McFarlane was women's editor of the Dunedin Star, one of the two major daily newspapers in that city.

McFarlane became a public figure as an original panellist of the long-running chat show Beauty and the Beast, appearing alongside Selwyn Toogood and Catherine Tizard from 1976-1985.

McFarlane survived breast cancer in the early 1970s, and became a prominent campaigner for more government funding for early detection and intervention in the illness.

She was also vice president of the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts for many years.

McFarlane wrote several books, and was widely commissioned throughout New Zealand for major art works. The Shona McFarlane Art Gallery in Dunedin was named after her, as well as the Shona McFarlane retirement village in Wellington.

McFarlane was married to National Arts Minister Allan Highet. Her sister is well-known artist Heather Francis.

McFarlane wrote six books, and her paintings appear primarily in museums, art galleries, and private collections.




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