Paper long abstract:
The 1940 New Zealand Centennial Exhibition was both an attempt to celebrate a hundred years of white settlement and an indication of how official New Zealand wanted its image projected. The hugely successful attendance (2.6 million when the country's population was 1.6 million) has been partly attributed to a need for some form of morale boosting, along with a reaffirmation of the validity of New Zealand's national project. Nevertheless, the event evinced a strikingly nostalgic register, exposing uneasy relationships with "the Motherland" as with the nation's Maori inheritance. This paper will address the continuities between the Centennial exhibition and the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London, where New Zealand had little control over its depiction, by reading the objects on display in both exhibitions as modes of national presentation and representation. The argument will privilege theories of commoditization in a context of moral, rather than market, economies.
Selling tradition by the pound: intangibile cultural heritage and the marketing of localities