Monday, November 05, 2012

‘Selling the Dream’: The story of how New Zealand first took on the world

Released by Craig Potton Publishing last month, Selling the Dream is a ground-breaking book that lifts the lid on a major but little-known New Zealand legacy: the art of early tourism.

The book is co-authored by Peter Alsop, Gary Stewart and Dave Bamford – tourism publicity enthusiasts – and includes 11 commissioned research essays from leading writers in particular fields, such as Richard Wolfe, Margaret McClure and Warren Feeney.

The title exposes a remarkable range of tourism posters and other publicity that promoted New Zealand, both locally and to the world, until the 1960s. This was a pivotal period in the history of New Zealand publicity – before television and colour photography changed the publicity landscape forever – creating not only a tourism marketing proposition but a sense of national identity as well.

Speaking about the book publisher Robbie Burton said “this is the fascinating story of how New Zealand first took on the world. In the early 1900s, New Zealand could see a prosperous future in tourism but, to win that, we needed to get amongst it in a competitive global industry”.

“This was a time when there was no clear New Zealand identity; no established tourism proposition; and it took the most adventurous of American and European travellers about 6 weeks to get here by boat. Furthermore, our publicity pioneers had to design travel posters to compete with the world’s best poster designers for the attention of potential travellers.”

“Overcoming these and other challenges must surely count as one of New Zealand’s most striking achievements on the international stage.”

One of the most remarkable features of the book is the truly stunning collection of images (close to 1000), the large majority of which are being published for the first time since their original use.

“The imagery is some of the finest graphic art every produced in New Zealand, and as arresting and impressive today as when it was first created.”

“The book is dedicated to the artists who designed and created the inspiring images that make Selling the Dream. It is high time that these pioneers are better recognised and admired for their contribution to our tourism industry; our art history; and, even more broadly, shaping our identity as New Zealanders.”

“By understanding our past, we can only be stronger as a country for the future. This is the sort of book that makes publishing a deeply rewarding experience, and why Craig Potton Publishing is proud to be New Zealand’s largest independent publishing house.”

Reactions from others:

I’m amazed we even had artists and designers of this calibre operating in New Zealand! I can’t praise the book highly enough. Dick Frizzell Artist

This book fills me with pride as a New Zealander and with huge energy to further lift our tourism potential and success. Martin Snedden Chief Executive, Tourism Industry Association New Zealand

This is the stuff of Kiwi dreams. Al Brown Chef and Writer

It is in the art of the poster that artists use their imagination and invention to unashamedly celebrate and reveal the uniqueness of the New Zealand scene. Hamish Keith Cultural Historian
This beautiful book is a wonderful acknowledgement of the importance of graphic design within the history of New Zealand art. Fran Walsh Writer

This is a fantastic pictorial record of how New Zealand developed the essential foundations of the tourism industry we enjoy today. George Hickton Chief Executive, Tourism New Zealand 1999–2009

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