Biography

For the past 77 years, Peter Coates has lived in the house where he was born, in Hataitai, Wellington. A proud Wellingtonian he has been linked with many of the important cultural activities in the capital. He has sung with the NZ Opera Company and Downstage, produced and designed plays for Unity Theatre, Welling Repertory, the New Theatre, the Wellington Theatre Company, Downstage Theatre, De La Tour regional opera, and the Wellington City Opera, besides exhibiting with the NZ Academy of Fine Arts and Watercolour NZ. Peter was one of the people behind De La Tour Opera, Wellington City Opera, the Martinborough Music Festival and the WAG St. James Gallery.

Over his 35 years with TVNZ he produced and designed television dramas, documentaries, eight operas, made coaching films and historical documentaries for the NZRFU, as well as initiating special programmes for people with disabilities - all in over 350 screened films. He won the QEII Broadcasting Award in 1974, which allowed him to study TV production at the BBC, Bayerischer Rundfunk, Novosti TV, NHK and Finnish TV and he is the only New Zealander to have designed and directed the same production for the stage and at the same time for television.

Peter has won international awards for his work at La Specia and Cortina competitions and his film on the NZSO in Hong Kong was selected as NZ’s entry for the prestigious Golden Rose of Montreux Competition in 1980. He worked as an advisor to MRTV-3 in Yangon, Myanmar (Burma) in 2004. His paintings have won the IBM Arts Award in 1987, a merit award in the Norsewood in 1991, and more recently his watercolours were exhibited in the Bienal Internacional de Acuarela in Mexico in 1996, 2000, 2002 and 2004. He was included in the “NZ in Watercolour” book in 2008, and in calendars in 2011 and 2013. He has had a solo exhibition at Jamei University Xiamen in 2010 and a large oil piece was selected for hanging in the Beijing Biennale in the same year.

At 77 years of age Peter looks back on a largely unheralded career in the Arts, but he will leave behind a unique historical perspective on life and the Arts in New Zealand during his lifetime. This retrospective was initiated by the artist in an attempt to realise his artistic vision and get a perspective on what he has achieved. The exhibition will be opened by two people - the painting exhibition by the former owner of the Green Gallery in Tokyo, Japan, and more recently on Waiheke Island in NZ, Mrs Kazuko Itoh. The film screening exhibit will be opened by Michael Scott-Smith, former Head of the Documentary and Drama Departments of TVNZ.