Ida Harriet Carey (3 October 1891 – 23 August 1982) was a New Zealand artist and art teacher. She was well known for portraits of Māori men, women, including the Māori Queen Dame Te Atairangikaahu, and children.
Ida Harriet Carey was born on 3 October 1891 at Taonui, near Feilding in the Manawatu. She was one of four children of Richard Carey, a farmer who had emigrated to New Zealand from Australia in the 1870s, and his wife Elizabeth née Keeble. She studied music and became a piano teacher. In 1910, the Carey family moved to Tuhikaramea, near Hamilton. A few years later, Carey moved to Te Aroha, on the Kaimai Ranges, and then to nearby Matamata by 1921.
Carey painted from an early age and in 1921 the war artist Horace Moore-Jones saw her work. He encouraged her to study in Sydney under John Samuel Watkins, and later that year Carey made the first of several trips to Australia for tuition during the 1920s and 1930s. In 1924, She was elected a member of the Royal Art Society of New South Wales and her work featured regularly in their exhibitions. She became well known in New Zealand as well; in 1926, Cecil Cherrington, the Bishop of Waikato commissioned her to paint a triptych in oils for the altar of his private chapel at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Hamilton and two years later she had her first exhibition at the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts. Her work was the subject of favourable reviews; the Sydney Bulletin described her paintings at a 1929 exhibition as “fresh and vivid”. There was some criticism of her larger works; a reviewer in Art in New Zealand noted that these had technical defects.
Carey supported herself financially by working as an art teacher. The first position she took as a relieving teacher at Auckland Training College in 1930. She later taught at local secondary schools, and held a permanent position at Hamilton High School from 1945 to 1949. Development of the local art scene was important to her and in August 1934, Carey and a friend, fellow artist Adele Younghusband, established the Waikato Society of Arts. Carey would remain involved with the society for almost 50 years, serving two terms as president, from 1945 to 1948 and 1952 to 1954.
In 1937, Carey’s painting titled Study, was included in the Royal British Colonial Exhibition in London. The work was subsequently selected for the National Centennial Exhibition, held in 1940. The following year, she returned to Sydney to study under Antonio Dattilo Rubbo, an Italian painter. She stayed there for six months.