- Born 1 August 1919 in Timaru, although his family lived in Dunedin.
- Was interested in art from an early age.
- Took art classes with Russell Clark in Dunedin, and was strongly influenced by an exhibition by Toss Woollaston in 1936.
- Studied at Dunedin School of Art from 1937-1939, but was mostly self-taught.
- Married the artist Anne Hamblett in 1941, and moved to Christchurch. Became a member of The Group, a Christchurch group of artists, and showed his work regularly in their exhibitions.
- Spent time in Nelson, then moved to Auckland to an appointment as Keeper at the Auckland City Art Gallery in 1953.
- Painted a number of religious works that placed events from Christ's life in a New Zealand setting. Was the first New Zealand artist to use words and numbers as part of his art.
- Visited the United States in 1958, and used that experience to introduce new ideas to his work.
- Became Lecturer at the University of Auckland School of Fine Arts 1964-1970.
- Regarded as the most important modern artist New Zealand has produced, particularly in his landscape work.
- Died 27 May1987, in Auckland.