New Zealand Portrait Gallery

Celia Lashlie Commission for the NZ Portrait Gallery Collection

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We asked New Zealanders whose portrait was missing from our national portrait collection and the message came through loud and clear… social justice campaigner, Celia Lashlie! Now we want to honour that outcome by commissioning acclaimed New Zealand portrait artist Heather Main to create Lashlie's posthumous portrait for the New Zealand Portrait Gallery's Collection - and with your donations, we can make this happen!

Celia Lashlie is an important figure to honour and preserve as part of the country's cultural and social heritage. Beginning in 1985, she was the first woman to work in a male prison in New Zealand, and continued for 15 years within the Prison Service. Lashlie then became the service Manager of Christchurch Women's Prison. After leaving this role in 1999, she completed the 'Good Man' project, which facilitated discussion within and between 25 boys' schools throughout New Zealand, with the aim of creating a working definition of what makes a good man in the 21st century.

Celia Lashlie was also a researcher, author and social commentator whose important work remains in her books: The Journey to Prison: Who goes and why, He'll Be Ok, Growing Gorgeous Boys into Good Men and The Power of Mothers: Releasing Our Children. Celia passed away from pancreatic cancer in February 2015.

We at the NZPG are passionate about building an accessible, diverse and comprehensive collection of portraits of New Zealander's who have helped shaped our identity as a nation. Our vision is to connect visitors with portraits that help us tell future generations the stories about ourselves. And this is one reason why we are so excited about this project!

We are commissioning one of New Zealand's most acclaimed portrait artists, Main to create Celia Lashlie's posthumous portrait for the New Zealand Portrait Gallery's collection.
Celia's desire to bring about societal change continues through the work of the Celia Lashlie Projects. This group is determined to support those who work and live to make positive change for women and families. Celia Lashlie Projects is fully behind us with this commission and has generated a generous sum of $4,400 towards this commission as a match donor. That means for every $ you give, it will be matched up to $4,400.

Our target is $8,800 and with the generous match donation of $4,400, we need you to help us raise the additional $4,400 funds throughout this 30 day campaign. This is our first crowdfunding campaign and we need all your support in order to make this happen!

How can you help us even more!?
Once you have donated, please, please, please share the page with your networks - no matter how near or far. People can only give their support if they know about us. Help us spread the word and show your support!

Come into the gallery, or donate through this webpage and then pass it on to all those people you think would like to get involved with supporting the NZPG.

About us:

NZPG is a non-profit, public gallery that aims, through our exhibition programming and collection plan, to engage not only the art lovers but those New Zealanders who have a passion for the stories we tell ourselves about who we are and what's important to us.



  • Thank you!


    We'd love to send a huge thank you to all the generous donors who helped us reach our target! A special thank you must go out to Celia Lashlie Projects, our match donors for the campaign, and who are also the recipients of the extra money we raised. This will go towards continuing the important causes Celia advocated for.

    The new portrait by Heather Main will be unveilled at a family friendly event on Sunday, December 6 at 2pm sharp. All welcome. More details here.


    Thank you!
  • 97% Funded!


    Wow! We have nearly hit our target! Thank you, we wouldn’t be at 97% without your help.

    If you haven’t yet had the chance to get involved, you still can – we have 15 days left of the campaign, and remember any money raise above and beyond our target goes directly to furthering the Celia Lashlie Projects.

    Some of the projects they are working on include -

    • The 10th Anniversary Edition of Celia’s best-selling book He’ll Be Ok – Growing Gorgeous Boys Into Good Men

    • A Celia Lashlie Seminar at Victoria University, to be held in February 2016 (date TBC), organised and supported by Kim Workman and the Stout Centre.

    • A documentary about Celia’s work based on her final interview with Amanda Millar two days before her death. This documentary is a long-term project intended for cinematic and international release.

    • An interactive website providing access to Celia’s stories and advice – for people needing support and for those who are working to make change in our communities.

    Thank you so much this is such a special project and it is great to see so many people getting involved.




    97% Funded!
  • About our Artist - Heather Main


    As the campaign moves along we are getting more and more excited about the upcoming portrait of Celia Lashlie and cannot wait to share it with you!

    We thought you might like to find out a little bit more about the talented woman who is currently working on the Celia Lashlie Portrait – Heather Main (nee Busch).

    Heather and Celia have been close friends since the age of 16. They have been constants in one another lives and Celia was ‘best woman’ at Heather's wedding 15 years ago (co-incidentally held in a then empty Shed 11, which the Portrait Gallery now occupies).

    Heather has a deep understanding of the advocacy work Celia undertook, and the two of them would joke that if ever Celia had to have her portrait painted, it would be the talented Heather Main who would do it. Sadly, this never came to fruition while Celia was alive, and we are so thrilled that with your help, this project is about to be realised.

    Having worked on creative projects with Celia in the past, both personally and professionally, Heather stresses the importance of this portrait in extending and building on Celia's causes, and sharing these important ideas with others.

    “The task carries a huge responsibility to capture some of Celia’s essence,” she says. “I need to show her strength, her clear vision, her abundant compassion, her insight into human behaviour and her love and support of the people most of us shun”.

    Heather has had a successful career as an artist and is now working from her home in Owhiro bay, in a studio opening out onto a greenhouse. When we visited the commission portrait was well underway, vibrant colour bursting from the frame.

    Heather works in many mediums now, but will be returning to the medium that bought attention to her beautiful and haunting portraits. Using many thin layers of oil paint, the paintings are meticulous and fine, drawing the viewer in. Not one to shy away from something new however, the commission will include an audio component sourced from (among other things) Radio New Zealand Archives that stresses Celia’s role as an orator, and a storyteller. This is something new for Heather but she is confident it will add an extra dimension to the work.

    Keep an eye on this page over the next few weeks as we share some of these soundbites with you...a bit of a teaser for the work to come!

    About our Artist - Heather Main