Coloured Views: Images of the New Zealand City and Town, 1880-1930
"Coloured Views" is a comparative and multidisciplinary examination of the motives and methods of New Zealand's urban boosters between 1880 and 1930. It looks at the positive image of the country's cities and towns rendered in the literature and art of the period, and compares it with other British Dominions as well as with America. Such optimistic images were considered vital to urban growth by promoters who were intent on inducing increased immigration, tourism and investment to their cities and towns. In addition to economic motivation, it will also be argued that the boosters in New Zealand were imbued to an unusual degree by dreams of creating an urban utopia in their New World, one that was free from the influences of vices typically associated with the Old World. In examining perceptions of urban New Zealand, this thesis also attempts to revert the imbalance in New Zealand historiography which has generally ignored cities and towns or which has assumed that all debate about them was negative. It undertakes a study of a wide array of promotional sources, including material which has never before been examined, such as motion pictures and foreign language texts. "Coloured Views" attempts to show that cities and towns had their ardent defenders in New Zealand as well as their critics. The study concludes with an examination of modern booster techniques in order to emphasise the topicality of the subject matter.