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Celebrating Crown Lynn

Celebrating Crown Lynn

7 December, 2006

Media Release

In its heyday Waitakere’s Crown Lynn produced 15 million pieces of household china annually, employed 500 people and most kiwi families were eating their dinners off its wares.

A new display has been commissioned for the New Lynn Library which celebrates the products and history of the iconic New Zealand company and the other clay and pottery industries in the area.

Councillor Judy Lawley, chairman of the Culture, Arts and Events Special Committee, says the Crown Lynn display is a must see for all people interested in their history.

“This is a fabulous display which preserves the history of Crown Lynn, and recognises the huge contribution Crown Lynn played in the history of the New Lynn area too,” says Councillor Lawley.

“The display’s permanent setting in New Lynn’s art-orientated library is entirely appropriate – it really is a perfect location,” she says.

Project manager Tanya Wilkinson says it was a privilege to be involved with the display as the story of the New Lynn clay and pottery industries is such an important one for Waitakere, and is so close to many people hearts.

“It is a very large story that we had to tell in a reasonably limited space,” she says.

“Many people have generously assisted with photography, memories and other information and it has taken around eight months to be able to get all information we needed and the pottery sourced to bring the exhibition together.

While some of the pottery on display was donated the majority had to be purchased, as most people are keen to hang onto their collections.”

The exhibition, containing ceramics, clay artefacts, photos and information on the history of these industries was funded by the Portage Licensing Trust.

It runs along an internal wall of the New Lynn library, chronologically detailing the development of the pottery industries in New Lynn’s from the early brickworks through to Crown Lynn.

The exhibition is divided into four sections, the first representing the early industries that specialised in heavy clay materials – predominantly bricks, tiles and sewer pipes.

The next section highlights the work of a number of studio potters who worked in New Lynn including Jovan Rancich and Briar Gardner.

And the third section details Crown Lynn and the objects many New Zealanders will be most familiar with, the household ceramics: the cups, the plates, the vases and other ornaments that truly were world famous in New Zealand.

The display covers Crown Lynn’s history – from its days as the country’s main ceramics supplier, when heavily protected by government protectionism, to the dark days of the 1980s with increased competition from Asia, the stock market crash and the company's end.

The fourth section profiles designers employed by Crown Lynn who created many of the special pieces that are still highly regarded today, and very collectable.

The exhibition is formally opened tonight at 6.30pm and follows the launch of Crown Lynn – A New Zealand Icon by Valerie R Monk, who was also the researcher and writer for this project.

Through many interviews with former Crown Lynn staff and bosses Monk’s book covers Crown Lynn history in all its ceramic beauty.


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