NZ Natural History Artist #2: Piers Hayman

Natural-history-series-button

This months Natural History Artist is Piers Hayman. I first heard about him through New Zealand Bird Rescue, a charitable trust of which he was a founding member (then the NZ Wildlife Rehabilitation Trust). Originally from England, and trained as a graphic designer, he emigrated to New Zealand in the early 80’s.

discovering-the-birds-of-nz-takahe

He has done numerous beautiful illustrations of New Zealand Birds, and has written and illustrated numerous books on NZ wildlife- two of the most well-known books being ‘Discovering the Birds of New Zealand and ‘The Bird Next Door’. He was a regular contributor to the New Zealand Herald where he wrote and illustrated a weekly column about birds, a clipping from one of his columns from 1985 is below:

Excerpt of column from the NZ Herald, 9 March 1985
Excerpt of column from the NZ Herald, 9 March 1985

He was also the director of the New Zealand Centre of Wildlife Art, a school that was started in historic Orewa house in 1995, and offered a diploma in wildlife illustration. The school sadly no longer exists, though I wish it did!

Excerpt from NZ Herald, 9th February 1995. Photo credit: Ross White
Excerpt from NZ Herald, 9th February 1995. Photo credit: Ross White

Combining his love for wildlife and art comes across in the beautiful illustrations he created. Some from his wonderful book ‘Discovering the birds of New Zealand’ can be found below- the book itself is split into chapters based on the regions of NZ, with lots of information about the various birds that are illustrated.

discovering-the-birds-of-gull
Red-Billed Gull. From ‘Discovering the Bird of New Zealand’ (1984) by Piers Hayman.
Paradise Shelducks. From 'Discovering the Bird of New Zealand' (1984) by Piers Hayman.
Paradise Shelducks. From ‘Discovering the Bird of New Zealand’ (1984) by Piers Hayman.

A lot of his works are carefully rendered pen and ink illustrations, and I really liked this technical illustration of the hand-rearing method of endangered takahe chicks:

Takahe chick rearing method, which allows chicks to be raised without seeing humans- developed from an idea by Colin Roderick, by Wildlife Service officer Martin Bell. From 'Discovering the Bird of New Zealand' (1984) by Piers Hayman.
Takahe chick rearing method, which allows chicks to be raised without seeing humans- developed from an idea by Colin Roderick, by Wildlife Service officer Martin Bell. From ‘Discovering the Bird of New Zealand’ (1984) by Piers Hayman.

but there are also a number of beautifully illustrated watercolour paintings.

Kaka. From 'Discovering the Bird of New Zealand' (1984) by Piers Hayman.
Kaka. From ‘Discovering the Bird of New Zealand’ (1984) by Piers Hayman.
New Zealand Stilts. From 'Discovering the Bird of New Zealand' (1984) by Piers Hayman.
New Zealand Stilts. From ‘Discovering the Bird of New Zealand’ (1984) by Piers Hayman.

If you get the chance I recommend checking out ‘Discovering the birds of New Zealand‘- its a lovely work combining ornithological knowledge with wildlife illustration.

References:

Hayman, P. (1984). Discovering the Birds of New Zealand. Auckland: Collins.

Hayman, P. (1985, March 9). A Plethora of Penguins. The New Zealand Herald.

Phare, J. (1995, March 9). Native home for artists. New Zealand Herald.

The beautiful kakariki image used in the header is by Alexander Francis Lydon (1836-1917), created in 1884. It can be found on the Alexander Turnbull Library as a digitised file (Reference Number A-256-027)

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2 thoughts on “NZ Natural History Artist #2: Piers Hayman

  1. Thank you for sharing your wonderful finds! I love vintage bird illustrations, I find them so inspiring, and I too would love to attend the ‘New Zealand Centre of Wildlife Art’ if it still existed!

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