Iris Rosetta Romoff was born in north London, England. Both her maternal and paternal grandparents were Jewish migrants who left Russia at the turn of the 19th century and ended up in Wales. Iris’s parents met in Cardiff and eventually settled in north London. She grew up in an artistic family.  

Upon leaving school, Iris worked as a window dresser and joined electrical wire for the Air Force during World War II, and contributed to night watches on London rooftops. She met New Zealand soldier Lou Fisher at St John’s Wood, London, and the two married shortly after. They travelled to New Zealand on a returning troop ship, settled in a dairy farm in Pakuranga and had four children.  

Iris enjoyed sketching and painting, and attended classes at the Auckland Society of Arts under the tutelage of Lois McIvor and Louise Henderson. In the mid-1960s the Fishers’ farm was subdivided and Iris set up a new studio in her garden, complete with a kiln. The beginnings of the Pakuranga Arts Society grew from sharing her studio space with friends.  

Iris enlarged her enjoyment of the arts into a centre and organisation available for all. She believed that art was a pastime and vocation that offered pleasure and interest for everyone.  

Iris Fisher died in 1986, but saw her dream expand and open into a substantial art gallery where the principal space still honours her name.  

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