An eye for design

03 Aug 2023

Garth Satterthwaite (6212) shares his flair for design and acknowledges the positive guiding force of his time at College.

Garth was born in Christchurch in 1939. He was unlucky to catch measles during the epidemic of 1943 at the age of five years. The serious loss of his hearing was not confirmed until he was at Medbury School. He has continued to wear hearing aids ever since that day.

He attended Christ’s College in 1953–1957, was a captain of the School Fencing Team and enjoyed a lot of success as a horse rider in the show ring and cross country. His family moved to Masterton in the Wairarapa in 1958 where he joined the local polo club. Having excelled at art in his school years, he began working at a Wellington advertising agency.

A decade later, he joined another agency and was asked to illustrate the workings of the Manapouri Power Project for the New Zealand Pavilion at the Expo 70 exhibition in Osaka, Japan. After working at two other firms, he joined a public relations agency as their Design Director, specialising in annual report design and corporate brochures.

Garth says a particular highlight was being asked to design a gift from the people of New Zealand to celebrate the wedding of Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer on behalf of the Mountbatten Trust Fund.

“The gift consisted of a magnificent deer leather-bound box containing two books in gold blocked royal blue dyed hide with the New Zealand king fern, which I illustrated for the covers. My wife, Jeanette, and I attended the presentation of` the gift to Prince Charles at Kensington Palace in 1982.”

Garth was responsible for many clients such as the New Zealand Meat Board, Wellington Airport, the Bank of New Zealand and Lambton Harbour Management Limited, for whom he won both the Gold and Grand Astrid Awards competition for outstanding achievement in design communications. He has won several other awards.

A keen trout and salmon fisherman, Garth and Jeanette travelled to Alaska where he hooked a 40 – 45lb king salmon at the Talachulitna River. As he was fishing with a Hardy’s Perfect reel, he was awarded a Hardy Brothers Hall of Fame Award. The fish was returned promptly, to continue its way to spawn.

When Garth retired, he taught a life drawing evening class at Toi Poneke in Wellington for 12 years including portrait drawing and coloured pencil classes. Today, he concentrates on dogs and cats, especially their own animals. He and Jeanette have lived in their home for 45 years, tucked into the Redwood native bush in Tawa. They attend various art events, agricultural shows, enjoy walking their poodle Mikey, developing their garden, listening to the birds and are entertained by their granddaughter, Esme.

Garth says the schools he’s attended played a very important part in his life.

“Christ’s College sets out to build boys of good character. During our visit to see the school last year, I saw our inspiring virtues on the wall: honesty, learning, spirituality, respect, compassion, stewardship, and justice. I feel these have been my guiding force throughout my life. I hope I have played my part.”

– By Garth Satterthwaite