Sharon was born in Invercargill, of Ngai Tahu and English descent, and moved to Wellington to study graphic design at the Wellington Polytechnic. After graduating she worked as a graphic designer with a focus on social justice for various arts and community groups, most notably with the Wellington Media Collective.
Working on and off for newspapers as a designer and occasional illustrator Sharon didn’t come to cartooning until her fifties when in 2009 she created her character Munro, a ginger cat and his mouse friend, where each cartoon incorporates a clue from the newspaper crossword. Munro now runs in most Fairfax papers and has his own large following.
Starting by occasionally filling the cartooning spot at various Fairfax newspapers, in December 2014 she was appointed political cartoonist for the Sunday Star Times.
Sharon is New Zealand’s first woman editorial cartoonist – the pinnacle of newspaper cartooning. And as such she is making important inroads into what has previously been a male bastion.
Sharon provides a humorous, irreverent, and at times poignant commentary on social justice, the environment, our political climate and a quirky take on so many other topics through the marvellous Munro.
In 2014 and 2015 She was a finalist for Cartoonist-of-the-Year award at the Canon Media Awards and she won in 2016, and again in 2017.
The judges at the 2017 awards said: “Murdoch’s technical chops give her work great graphic impact on the page. On top of all this, she has originality, intelligence, and range. There is nothing obvious or trite in her work. From funny, instantly recognisable caricatures, to powerful, stop-you-in-your-tracks social commentary, Sharon Murdoch’s work is supremely skilled, compassionate and thoughtful.”
In 2016 the College celebrated the 130 year heritage of the Wellington School of Design and honoured its founding director Arthur Dewhurst Riley (1860-1929).
Bill Toomath headed the Wellington Polytechnic School of Design for ten years (1979-1989), and was a key player in the development of modernist architecture in New Zealand for over five decades.
Grenville Main has made a significant contribution to the design profession and to design in general in New Zealand.