Welcome to Christine Fernyhough’s Museum of the Everyday – where ordinary day-to-day items are celebrated. Here, it’s the iconic hand-coloured prints of Aotearoa by Whites Aviation that catch the eye
A series celebrating ordinary ( but never uninteresting) everyday things
IMAGINE A POSH ROOM in a home in post-war New Zealand – say in the 1950s and 1960s. A sofa and two matching armchairs sit upon patterned (and proudly New Zealand wool) Axminster wall-to-wall carpet, next to the glazed cabinet that displays all that is for “best”, never to be used, only admired. On the wallpapered walls hangs a company calendar, a framed tapestry (Gainsborough’s The Blue Boy is popular), a print of Queen Elizabeth II’s bridal bouquet and, in pride of place over the fireplace, a Whites Aviation hand-coloured photograph.
Perhaps it’s an image of a turquoise blue sea, waves foaming white as they break on the jagged rocks of coastal Kaikoura. Or the Britannia, here for the Royal Visit in early 1970, steaming up the Waitemata surrounded by a flotilla of yachts and motorboats.
Leo White (1906–1967) satisfied his passion for photography and aviation when he established Whites Aviation in 1945. He and his flying mates overcame many technical challenges as they ranged all over the country, recording for posterity the cities, towns and rural and iconic landscapes that now shape our image of New Zealand. First published by Whites in 1952, the book Pictorial Reference of New Zealand was a celebration of post-war growth and confidence in God’s Own Country. Individually hand-coloured prints, striking in a time of black and white photography, are now appreciated by new generations of New Zealanders both as part of the country’s social history and as objects of desire.
The Museum of the Everyday is the country’s leading collection of commonplace items from the past century. See more at ehive.com