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Bruce McLaren honoured in oil painting

More than 200 residents and visitors packed out the village centre at Ryman Healthcare’s Bruce McLaren Retirement Village today (Friday) to witness an oil painting of namesake Bruce McLaren being unveiled.

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(L-R) Bruce McLaren's sister Jan McLaren, painter Craig Primrose and Ryman Healthcare's Head of Corporate Affairs David King stand with the unveiled portrait of retirement village namesake Bruce McLaren in front of an original one-seater Formula One car.​


Bruce’s sister Jan McLaren, who runs the Bruce McLaren Trust, unveiled the painting, by Auckland painter Craig Primrose QSM, following an introduction by Ryman Healthcare’s Head of Corporate Affairs David King.

The occasion was made all the more special by the presence of a McLaren road car and an original 1970 single seater McLaren. Its owner Aucklander Dave Mitchell gave everyone a real thrill when he fired up the engine a couple of times.

The painting was commissioned by Ryman Healthcare and is the first of a series of paintings of each village namesake to be undertaken by Craig, who plans to complete four a year.

David King said Ryman was delighted to be able to honour Bruce McLaren in this unique way, and said it was fitting that the tribute came in the month that Bruce would have turned 80.

“The impact that Bruce McLaren had on international motorsport was huge and long lasting,” he said.

“We are delighted to see the beautiful work that Craig has created and believe it will help preserve this incredible legacy for the benefit of our residents for many generations to come.”

Jan McLaren was also thrilled with the painting of her brother and said the artwork, combined with the attention created by the movie McLaren, released earlier this year, had had a huge impact on regenerating interest in Bruce’s story.

“It really is a privilege for me to be involved with preserving his legacy, not just for our generation but for the younger generations coming up too,” she said.

“The Bruce McLaren Trust has had a long relationship with Craig and I really love the artwork he has produced, it is a wonderful tribute to a great man.”

Craig has had a long career producing many superstars of the sporting world and was the preferred artist of another New Zealand legend and Ryman village namesake, Sir Edmund Hillary.

His connection with Ryman came about through co-founder and director Kevin Hickman and before that when his parents both retired to the Edmund Hillary village.

The connection inspired Ryman to commission Craig to create a portrait of every Ryman Healthcare village namesake with Bruce’s being the first of more than 30 paintings to come.

Craig said the hardest part was portraying the cars,with the painting taking around two months all up.

“There was a lot of research into the cars themselves. We specifically tried to bring the cars from Formula 1 and the CanAm cars which he and Denny Hulme had great success in.”

Craig said he was delighted to be involved with Ryman and planned to produce four village namesakes each year.

He said: “I’m very excited to be embarking on this project, it’s a real celebration for well-known New Zealanders.

“It’s a great investment that Ryman is making because these portraits will be able to hang in the villages for the next 300 years. They will outlast all of us!”

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