Early days of Queenstown tourism promo

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Queenstown naturally features strongly in a stunning new coffee-table book on early tourism print promotion in New Zealand. 

Selling The Dream has 400 big pages illustrating and describing nearly 1000 tourism posters, brochures and stamps from 1840 to the 1960s. 

According to its publishers, many artworks are from private collections and haven’t been shown publicly since their initial use. 

The Wakatipu reportedly got its first promotional plug in 1882 from English reverend and mountaineer William Spotswood Green, who with two Swiss guides tried – unsuccessfully – to climb Mount Earnslaw near Glenorchy.

Green urged Kiwis to found an alpine club and build huts to promote mountain tourism. 

The Milford Track, which opened in the late 1880s, further spurred Queenstown tourism and also features heavily in the new book. 

By 1906 Thomas Donne, first superintendent of the fledgling Department of Tourist & Health Resorts, was able to declare that “10,751 photographs and 1163 lantern slides” had been sent abroad as international publicity. 

Donne: “Lake Wakatipu and surroundings were well photographed.” 

Skipping to the late 1940s, Selling The Dream brings in Wakatipu-based artist Douglas Badcock, “who often used his old Buick as a mobile studio” and was commissioned to create poster stamps to promote Queenstown as a tourism destination. 

The slowly-growing resort also features frequently throughout the book in promotions for the state-owned National Airways Corporation (NAC), the then privately-owned Mount Cook Airlines – and the Railways Department. Back in those days, Railways ran the Earnslaw steamship and a nationwide coach network. 

Selling The Dream retails for $79.95, available from
www.sellingthedream.co.nz with a 10% discount and free postage within New
Zealand.