In the post-war years New Zealand society demonstrated a growing curiosity in its own culture and McIntyre’s reputation began to flourish. He maintained his association with Freyberg, who, as governor general, provided patronage and valued support. From 1959 to 1964 McIntyre served on the council of the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts. Although he experienced difficulty as a full-time painter, the well-publicised voyages he made to Antarctica in 1957 and 1959 were indicative of a more secure position as an entrepreneur for the visual arts. By the early 1960s he had won a number of national art competitions: the Kelliher Art Award (1959), the watercolour section of the National Bank Art Awards (1960) and the Hay’s Art Competition (1962).
By the early 1960s modern New Zealand art had become more confidently established, and although McIntyre’s work was enormously popular with the general public, which also regarded him as a knowledgeable cultural commentator, he was increasingly at odds with many art critics. After he was awarded first prize in the Hay’s Art Competition, a critic described the winning painting as ‘rich in the qualities which make a good calendar picture’. For his own part, McIntyre frequently voiced his objections to local contemporary painting.