This is Wellington: The Representation of Wellington in New Zealand Tourism Film from 1912 to 2017
This thesis analyses the representation of Wellington in tourism films between 1912, the year in which the first New Zealand tourism film depicting Wellington was released, until 2017, the production year of the last case study. It also aims to trace both the dynamics of formal, stylistic and narrative development and the contexts of circulation of New Zealand tourism film. This thesis relies on the textual analysis of case studies conceived for different distribution platforms, selected according to their stylistic, formal, thematic and narrative relevance and to the availability of related archival documents; on the analysis of archival material related to New Zealand film production; on interviews with key informants involved in local tourism film production and tourism marketing; on the analysis of scholarly sources. This research argues that the depiction of Wellington has been regularly underpinned by a set of economic, social and political factors that changed throughout time and that determined shifts and turning points in its representation. More broadly, it observes how New Zealand tourism film was on the one hand characterised by a tendency towards formal, stylistic and narrative experimentation while on the other it was constantly subjected to forms of institutional planning and control. This thesis aims to contribute to film studies in different ways. First, it defines tourism film as a subject of study, identifying its characteristics and recognizing its importance and persistence in the context of New Zealand film production. Secondly, it proposes a research methodology for tourism film based on the combined examination of different types of primary and secondary sources that can be potentially applied in different geographic contexts. Finally, it sheds light on the shifts and turning points in the representation of Wellington and New Zealand urban and suburban space throughout over a century of national tourism promotion and tourism film production. In this research, the term ‘tourism film’ has been used in its broadest sense and it is meant to include the variety of technologies and media texts that emerged throughout the analysed 105 years time frame covered in this thesis.