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National Centennial Exhibition of New Zealand Art Catalogue


page 6


It gives me especial pleasure to write a brief message at the beginning of this catalogue. Within these pages there is gathered together, as the result of much painstaking labour, a biographical survey of the artists of New Zealand, past and present, which serves as the handbook to an exhibition of unique character. Here are displayed the works of the earliest artists to come in contact with our country, the first colonists, and succeeding generations of our people who have striven to create their own cultural background to match the wild beauty of the land which is our home.

The task of bringing together so representative a collection has not been easy. I therefore heartily thank all those who have lent so generously from their collections; and in particular the National Gallery, Wellington; the Auckland Art Gallery; the Robert McDougall Gallery, Christchurch; the Art Gallery, Dunedin; the Suter Gallery, Nelson ; the Sarjeant Art Gallery, Wanganui; the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington; and the Hocken Library, Dunedin.

As this exhibition is one of the outstanding features of our Centennial Year, it has been my desire that as many members of the public as possible should have the opportunity of seeing it. The itinerary is most comprehensive, and although there will be a natural disappointment in some centres that it must pass them by, the collection cannot be kept together indefinitely. Almost every part of the country, however, will have its turn, and I am delighted to send on its way an exhibition that will show New Zealanders what their young country has already achieved in art. It will, I trust, prove an inspiration for the future.

W. E. Parry
Minister of Internal Affairs