The 1960s and 1970s were an expansive time for New Zealand art. A much stronger awareness of international art developed amongst artists – not just of British art, as in the past, but of American and European work. The greater ease of travel, wider availability of overseas publications, and experience of international touring exhibitions all contributed to this awareness.
At the same time, New Zealand artists gained the confidence to develop personal styles and express local concerns. Their art often critically engaged with the social, and both in its nature and scale seemed designed more for public statement than the intimacy of domestic interiors. In gaining significance beyond the sphere of artists, art acquired both greater participation and a wider following.
Opportunities to view and engage with art mushroomed. Dealer galleries were established and public galleries newly formed or revitalised. Public galleries began collecting and showing New Zealand art, especially current work. This included the first exhibitions of contemporary Māori art. By midway through the period, confidence in New Zealand art had grown to the point that its first histories were published.