Margaret Stoddart was born in Te Waipapa / Diamond Harbour. Her father gave the harbour its English name after its sparkling waters, and commissioned the jetty’s construction in about 1857. Stoddart spent nine years in Europe studying, painting and exhibiting. When she returned home in 1906 she brought with her a skilful impressionist approach to her work. Stoddart was a prolific watercolourist who favoured coastal locations.
At her first solo exhibition at the Canterbury Society of Arts in 1911, most of the fifty works shown had been painted near her family’s home at Diamond Harbour. However, as a reviewer for the Lyttelton Times noted, “New Brighton has received a share of attention, and perhaps it is shown at its best during a storm, gusts of wind howling across the Estuary, bending the tussock and grass on the beach.”
(Te Wheke, 2020)