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'Life's a picnic' at Canterbury Public Library

To: Chief Reporter
From: Sasha Bowers, Promotions & Publications Co-ordinator
Canterbury Public Library

News Release
Friday, 10 December 1999

'Life's a picnic' at Canterbury Public Library

A photographic exhibition entitled 'Life's a picnic' is currently on display at the Central Library.

Located on the first floor, the exhibition traces picnics as a social event in New Zealand for more than 130 years. The earliest image is of a picnic organised by Edward and Sara Elworthy of Gordon's Valley in South Canterbury c.1869.

"We are delighted to be able to give our customers the chance to view this fascinating collection of photographs," said Cathy Thompson, Central Library Manager. "We hope to bring more displays into the Central Library in future."

To capture the true spirit of New Zealand's picnicking tradition, exhibition curator, Vickie Hearnshaw, has selected photographs taken by a member of the picnicking party. Most of the photographs were, therefore, taken by amateurs and are valuable snapshots of changing social customs.

Rather than being an opportunity to dress up, the picnic has become an activity associated with other outdoor pursuits. "Picnic food has come to form an integral part of outdoor activities where people gather in any numbers," said Ms Hearnshaw. "The continued popularity of the picnic as a leisure time pursuit for all New Zealanders is assured, since it celebrates something quintessential in us: to commune in the great outdoors."

The exhibition is on display at the Central Library in Gloucester Street until 21 January 2000.

-Ends-

Vickie Hearnshaw is available for interview. For further information, please contact:
Sasha Bowers, Promotions & Publications Co-ordinator, Canterbury Public Library, 379 6914
Cathy Thompson, Central Library Manager, Canterbury Public Library, 379 6914

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