Monday, April 12, 2010

Maori Souvenirs - A Collection

There are few New Zealand household items that have not, at some stage, been subject to the addition of Maori symbols and designs in the name of tourism souvenirs. This was especially the case during the 1950s-70s, when a whole host of what now seem tacky, souvenirs came on the market.
In a moment of madness - because I already collect far too many things - I have started collecting old kitsch Maori souvenirs.

It's only a baby collection at this point but already I have several Air New Zealand tiki (probably given away to passengers on their flights in the sixties), a clothes brush, bottle opener, salt & pepper shakers (above), a carved candle, a small carving, an old tie pin, leather pouches, a leather bookmark (leather seems to have been big in this period), a small mug and a little dish. Despite the genuine ugliness of many of these items, they are, more and more, endearing themselves to me. I suspect it is all to do with nostalgia for an earlier (and probably simpler) time - and like many collectors, I begin to lose perspective after a while. It matters not about the looks. Some of the finer (and much more expensive) souvenir items from the 1950s are now very collectible and hard to find - although I do know that Canterbury Museum, here in Christchurch has built up a very handsome collection of hand-carved domesticware from this period. Me? I'm happy just pottering around old secondhand and antique shops seeing what comes my way.

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