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Touring the Pacific Through a Colonial Lens

7 December 2006


Innocents Abroad – Touring the Pacific Through a Colonial Lens

A special exhibition of photographs, murals and Pacific viewpoints featuring intriguing images and imaginative and insightful interpretations is now open to the public at Puke Ariki until Sunday 28 January 2007.

Innocents Abroad – Touring the Pacific Through a Colonial Lens follows the Union Steam Ship Company’s SS Wairarapa’s journey from its departure in Auckland in July 1884 through the islands of Fiji, Samoa and Tonga. Toured by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and developed in partnership with the Museum of Wellington City & Sea with support from Imagelab, the exhibition goes beyond romantic exoticism to explore the realities of life in the South Pacific in 1884. This includes the British, German and American colonial aspirations in the region at that time and the contemporary Pacific view of this era of colonialism.

Extracts, giving a flavour of the time, are taken from Alfred Burton’s diary of the trip and newspaper comments. The Burton Brothers ran one of the biggest photographic companies in nineteenth century New Zealand, and their photographs are recognised as having left an unparalleled record of New Zealand’s development, and for capturing many aspects of Maori and Polynesian culture at the time. The SS Wairarapa later foundered on Great Barrier Island with a loss of 121 lives. The exhibition will appeal to visitors interested in social history, the South Pacific, maritime history and photography.


Innocents Abroad – Touring the Pacific Through a Colonial Lens
2 December 2006 – 28 January 2007
Lane and Wall Galleries, Level 2, North & South Wing, Puke Ariki, New Plymouth.

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