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Home is where the ‘art’ is

Written by Suzanna Reid
on June 24, 2024

For Carol Moffatt the move to Ryman Northwood provided the perfect opportunity for her to carry her creative studio into a new space. The 85-year-old resident moved into the village with her husband Murray almost a year ago.

The talented painter knew that she wanted to continue her artistic passions as she transitioned to retirement living. The couple used some kiwi ingenuity to convert the village townhouse’s garage into Carol’s creative art studio, while their car is left to fend for itself against the temperamental Canterbury weather on the driveway!

“I didn't want to paint in the kitchen simply because you have to clean up everything from the table and you lose the inspiration. So that's why I've got the studio, I’ve always wanted to have a separate space that I can paint in,” Carol says.

The process to create the studio in the Northwood townhouse garage was quite a smooth one, set up with help from the village team. There is ample space for Carol to paint and display her art, including a hanging system, and Carol has plans for a multi-level platform that goes up to the ceiling where she can store her works. To accompany the gorgeous paintings that line the walls, the studio features royal blue carpets; a colour that features throughout her and Murray’s home. 


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Carol is well known for her landscape oil paintings. This takes her all over the South Island as she aims to capture the beauty of our backyard. She heads out to remote locations where she can create references for herself from nature, in which she can then add further detail later and turn them into masterpieces. 

One of her favourite places she’s painted is Glenorchy in Otago; “It’s the mountains, the atmosphere. Not many people were there and there's different valleys that you can go into, and the weather is just constantly changing.

“The landscape and the atmosphere, that's what inspires me, it’s trying to capture what I felt when I saw something. I mean, you can look and see a set of hills and the sky and a couple of trees. But if you're really looking at it, you'll see so many colours and you'll just feel the atmosphere.”

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Carol had a long career in education and technology education where she experimented with online learning. She was head of music at Cashmere High School in the 70s and later served as school principal at Oxford Area School. She treasured and thoroughly enjoyed her varied career.

She took up painting around ten years ago, showing that it is never too late to learn a new skill. Her love for music and all things creative led her to take an artistic route into retirement. She took a one-year course at the Design and Arts College of New Zealand, which taught her a range of skills. 

She has since grown this skill set as she continues to do courses in New Zealand and Australia. These courses have helped her to hone her skills and make a name for herself. Her works have been exhibited widely throughout New Zealand, including at a recent exhibition in Selwyn.

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The move into Northwood allows her to keep on painting and growing her artistic skills, along with the opportunity to grow her local community as more residents move into the Belfast village.

“It's amazing. We have the loveliest person here as resident services manager, Kirsty, and the people here are absolutely wonderful. They're all a bit younger than us. I’m 85 so it’s lovely to have so many active and happy people around us. They’re all very social and they're just delightful to each other,” she shares.

The decision to move to the Ryman Northwood Village has been an excellent choice for Carol. Along with continuing her love of art, she’s made some brilliant friends in a great community. 

About Ryman Healthcare:

Ryman was founded in 1984 and has become one of New Zealand’s largest listed companies. The company owns and operates 45 retirement villages in New Zealand and Australia which are home to more than 13,900 residents and the company employs 6,800 team members.

Media advisory: For further information, photos, interviews or comment please contact Group Corporate Affairs Manager Silke Marsh on +64 27 294 3609 or Communications Advisor Maryvonne Gray on 027 552 0767.

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