MOFFITT, Trevor;

Rakaia River Scene

Oil on board
890 x 1180mm

Trevor Moffitt’s biographer, Chris Ronayne, indicates that there were about ninety-five paintings in the Rakaia River series, which the artist began in 1981.[1] The series was, in part, a response to the death of his wife, Alison, in November that year. Moffitt commented, ‘I poured all my grief/tears into depicting the waters of the Rakaia.’[2]

Moffitt was an avid fisherman and had been been fishing the Rakaia since the early 1960s. In the 1980s, the river came under threat from planned irrigation projects. Ronayne notes, ‘Encouraged by his paintings, he became a member of the Save the Rakaia Association and a vociferous spokesperson for the river’s conservation.’[3]

Rakaia River Scene is a comparatively late work. It was bought by Fletcher Challenge Limited in late 1984.[4] Like other works from the Rakaia River series, it is deceptively simple, marked by pathos and sublimity. It is interesting to note that Moffitt elected to represent the braided river using twin streams of water, running in parallel rather like companions.


[1] Chris Ronayne, Trevor Moffitt (Tāmaki Makaurau: David Ling, 2006), 108.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid., 110.

[4] Ibid., 121.

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Fletcher Trust Collection, purchased from Louise Beale Gallery, Te Whanganui-a-Tara, 1984