Cot­ter’s legacy of de­sign, art

Matamata Chronicle - - Your Paper, Your Place - SAN­DRA HUNTER

James Philip Cot­ter July 1924 – Fe­bru­ary 17, 2016

The late Jim Cot­ter’s legacy will live on in his el­e­gant fur­ni­ture de­signs, ar­chi­tec­tural work and his vi­brant art.

In­deed, Jim’s ar­chi­tec­tural skills earned him the dis­tinc­tion of be­ing hon­oured with an Apos­tolic Bless­ing by Pope John Paul 11 in recog­ni­tion of his ar­chi­tec­tural de­sign of Mata­mata’s Holy An­gels Church.

Cre­ativ­ity, and the abil­ity to ex­press this in di­verse ways, was sec­ond na­ture to Jim who was also blessed with a good Kiwi No 8 wire men­tal­ity; this no doubt honed during his ca­reer as a WWII Royal New Zealand Air Force air­craft en­gi­neer.

The el­dest of Hin­uera farm­ers Phil and Hilda Cot­ter’s six chil­dren, Jim couldn’t leave Mata­mata High School fast enough and, at 16, was help­ing Dad on the farm.

Two years later, how­ever, he en­listed in the RNZAF, lat­terly serv­ing with 14 Fighter Squadron in Ja­pan (J Force).

While serv­ing with the Oc­cu­pa­tion Forces, Jim be­longed to an art club com­pris­ing New Zealand, Aus­tralian, English and Amer- ican ser­vice­men, as well as some Ja­panese artists.

Al­ways top in art at school, Jim’s in­ter­est in paint­ing in­creased ten-fold in Ja­pan and, three years af­ter his 1947 re­turn to Mata­mata, he founded the Mata­mata Art Club, which com­prised 15 painters.

Mean­while, Jim had met the love of his life, Pa­tri­cia (Pat) Owens with whom he was to en­joy a won­der­ful 62 years of mar­riage un­til her death in 2011.

The cou­ple were blessed with five chil­dren, Maria, Su­san, Shane (de­ceased), Giselle and Ja­nine who re­mem­ber a lov­ing, sup­port­ive and en­ter­tain­ing Dad.

In 1954, at Mata­mata Col­lege art teacher Jim Ayres’ sug­ges­tion, the art club be­came the Mata­mata So­ci­ety of Arts In­cor­po­rated, which was pos­si­bly one of the first small town so­ci­eties in the coun­try.

It still thrives to­day at its Firth Tower home.

Jim, who had worked var­i­ously as a truck driver and fur­ni­ture sales­man fol­low­ing his de­mob, re­sumed his ar­chi­tec­tural diploma stud­ies.

During his sales ca­reer he was reg­u­larly asked to draw up build­ing plans and would also de­sign fur­ni­ture for cus­tomers.

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