Skip to page content
Home / Exhibitions + Events

Selling the Dream: Classic New Zealand Tourism Posters

10 April - 19 July 2017

Free entry

Before television and colour photography, poster art was the most popular advertising mechanism. Selling the Dream is the first dedicated and extensive celebration of tourism posters and other publicity that helped promote New Zealand – both locally and to the world – until the 1960s.The imagery is some of the
finest graphic art ever produced in New Zealand and is as powerful today as when it was first created. The posters are more than just advertising: they make people dream.

The exhibition features more than 50 lithographs and silk-screen prints produced by some of New Zealand’s leading commercial artists between the 1920s and 1960s. Sourced from private collections, the posters promote the glamour of travel and New Zealand’s tourism attractions of the day. The exhibition features
a series of short interviews and a 15-minute documentary, Graphic Wonderland, which explore the art, skills and techniques of commercial artists during this period. Graphic Wonderland also goes behind the scenes of the industry with fascinating footage illustrating the work of commercial studios including the National Publicity Studios and Railways Studios. The exhibition is complemented by the ‘coffee table’ book of the same name, which was a New Zealand Post Book Awards finalist in 2012.

Education programmes are available for this exhibition.

Image: Wahine - New Zealand Centennial Exhibition Wellington, Leonard Cornwall Mitchell, 1939 Lithograph, New Zealand Tourist Department.