Pencarrow (from Seatoun) (1980)

Turquoise sea with Pencarrow head and the word

Melvin Day CNZM

Location: Upper ground, Johnsonville Library

This artwork includes the old name of Pencarrow head, Para Ngarehu, site of the pā of Tautoki. The modern name of this point is Te Raeakiaki. Pat Day lived and painted in Seatoun for decades and it is likely this view was well known to him, being directly across the harbour entrance from his home and studio. 

On the back of this oil painting on canvas is written “To Oroya, Happy Anniversary, May 1980, Love Pat”. Pat and his wife Oroya (nee McAuley) were well known figures in Wellington cultural circles. This work was donated to Wellington City Council by the Day Trust.

In 2019 Pencarrow (from Seatoun) was loaned to Waikato Museum which showed an exhibition of artworks by Melvin Day spanning his career. This was followed by the publication of a book on his life titled Melvin Day, Artist. The book’s cover image depicts this painting.

About the artist

Melvin (Pat) Day is one of Wellington’s most respected painters and an important figure in New Zealand’s art history. He began painting in the 1930s and has been noted for his academic approach, which brings together elements from different painting styles. 

Pat Day was at the forefront of abstraction in the 1940s and 50s. He was the director of the National Art Gallery (now Te Papa Tongarewa), had the role of Government Art Historian established for him, and in 2003 was awarded a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) in recognition of his outstanding contribution and services to New Zealand art.