Innocents Abroad - Touring the Pacific through a colonial lens 

The Fair “Sauimatani” and Bloomfield. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Innocents Abroad – Touring the Pacific through a colonial lens is an extraordinary and unique installation of 67 framed photographic prints and seven large photographic murals of images taken in 1884 by Alfred Burton of the noted Dunedin photography firm Burton Bros. 

Alfred Burton was a passenger on the Union Steam Ship Company’s SS Wairarapa on its first winter tourist excursion into the Pacific.   The exhibition follows the journey of the Wairarapa from Auckland through the islands of Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga. 

The interpretation has been developed with three unique voices.   There are extracts from Alfred Burton’s diary of the trip and newspaper comments which give the view of the times, the “colonial lens”.  The curatorial commentary gives context to the happenings of the time, the photographer and the images, while contemporary responses to the images are expressed by leading Pacific scholars and writers from each of the nations visited.   All exhibition labels and graphics are supplied.

This is a high-quality exhibition of intriguing images with an imaginative and insightful interpretation.  It will appeal to visitors interested in social history, the South Pacific, maritime history, and photography.  

The exhibition requires 45 linear metres of wall space

For more details about this, or any of the touring exhibitions, please contact Aaron Te One aaron.teone@tepapa.govt.nz.

The exhibition has been developed by the Museum of Wellington City & Sea in partnership with Te Papa and with the support of ImageLab

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