Life in the 20th century

Links - documents and photographs


  • Waiuta

    Today Waiuta is a West Coast ghost town. But from 1906 to 1951 it was the company town for the South Island's largest gold mine and home to 600 people. The superb photographs of Czech immigrant Joseph Divis provide a fascinating glimpse of Waiuta in its heyday.

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  • Page 2 – The Blackwater mine

    A small prospecting group discovered a gold-bearing quartz reef in the upper reaches of Blackwater Creek, a tributary of the Grey River, on 9 November 1905. 

  • Page 3 – The town of Waiuta

    As more houses were built, Waiuta started to look less like a mining camp. It always had the appearance, though, of a frontier town dominated by wood and corrugated iron.

  • Page 4 – From boom to bust

    The outbreak of the Second World War led to a gradual decline in the number of miners.

  • Page 5 – Joseph Divis, Waiuta's photographer

    Biography of Waiuta photographer Joseph Divis

History of New Zealand photography

Parliament's culture and traditions

  • Parliament's culture and traditions

    Explore Parliament's rich history and its colourful culture and traditions.

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  • Page 3 - Parliament in postcardsPainters and photographers loved to capture the beauty of Parliament's buildings in postcards, and New Zealanders and visitors sent these to friends and family in new Zealand and

Korean War

  • Korean War

    New Zealand was involved militarily in Korea from 1950 to 1957, first as part of the United Nations 'police action' to repel North Korea's invasion of its southern neighbour, and then in a garrison role after the armistice in July 1953.

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  • Page 9 - The Bob Jagger photographsCollection of previously unpublished images of the Korean War by Kiwi gunner Bob


  • Burt, Gordon Onslow Hilbury

    Gordon Burt was an enterprising and inventive commercial photographer, whose craftsmanship in the studio was without equal.

  • Crombie, John Nicol

    The lure of gold brought thousands of men to the Antipodes in the 1800s, including Glasgow-born photographer John Crombie.

  • Pulman, Elizabeth

    Elizabeth Pulman was quite possibly New Zealand’s first female professional photographer.

  • Kent, Thelma Rene

    A prize-winner from the moment she picked up a camera, Thelma Kent avidly photographed the New Zealand landscape, offering an independent and distinctive view.

  • Digby, Spencer Harry Gilbee

    Spencer Digby had an ability to subtly finesse his portraits and gave tremendous prestige to the art of portraiture in Wellington, most notably with his enduring image of Michael Joseph Savage.

  • Hofmann, Frank Simon

    Frank Hofmann was an influential photographer, both commercially and artistically, introducing interwar European modernist ideas and practices into New Zealand.

  • White, Leo Lemuel

    For much of his life Leo White successfully combined two of his passions, aviation and photography, starting Whites Aviation and finding his photographs decorating hundreds of New Zealand homes.

  • Pascoe, John Dobrée

    John Pascoe was an avid mountaineer and writer. Though he helped pioneer documentary photography in New Zealand, he has been described as our greatest unrecognised 20th century photographer.