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Author’s Talk: Our Land in Colour

Wednesday 6 September, 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

$25.00 – $30.00

Join us for a wonderful opportunity to hear from New Zealand’s leading historian and author Jock Phillips and digital colourist Brendan Graham on their new publication Our Land in Colour (2023, HarperCollins), which celebrates the rich story of Aotearoa through the restoration of images never before seen in colour. Two hundred images have been meticulously colourised, opening a window back in time with remarkable detail.

 Aotearoa New Zealand from 1860 to 1960 was a world of black and white. It was a time when communities were isolated, made their lives from the land and lived an identity forged by the outdoors. Our Land in Colour is the way New Zealanders experienced life for a century before colour photography became prevalent, before large-scale urbanisation, and before the arrival of television and jet-airliners changed the nation forever.

 From how the people adapted to the environment and the way they had to feed, clothe, house and transport themselves across an at times inhospitable land, to how they banded together with a spirit that would become famously Kiwi – each image in this 400-page book is a reminder of who we were and where we’ve come from.

Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing. A glass of wine will be included in the ticket.


Brendan Graham is a Wellington based digital colourist passionate about photography and history. He strives to understand light and colour harmony to achieve an accurate recreation of the past, and to reimagine historical stories through his work.

Jock Phillips is a distinguished historian based in Wellington, New Zealand. Educated at Victoria University, he then studied United States history at Harvard University where he earned a PhD. Phillips was New Zealand’s chief historian for 14 years (1989-2002), before initiating and editing Te Ara: the Encyclopedia of New Zealand (2002-2011). He has published 15 books on New Zealand history, established the Stout Research Centre for New Zealand Studies, and in 2014 was awarded the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement. His many governance roles include the National Library Society (president), Fulbright New Zealand (chair for three years), the New Zealand Portrait Gallery, the Victoria University of Wellington Council (2001-2012), and the Guardians/Kaitiaki of the Alexander Turnbull Library.


Images: Above top: Athletic Park, Wellington, 1950; 222–223 Alexander Turnbull Library, 114/181/01G, unknown; Right: Between Southern Hawkes Bay and Northern Wairarapa; 248–249 Manawatu Heritage, 2006182, unknown. Left: Naenae, Lower Hutt, 1957, 343 Alexander Turnbull Library, PAColl779689, C Wilson; Above: High Street, Lower Hutt, 1948; 108–109 Alexander Turnbull Library, 1/2047548G, Sydney Smith;


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Wednesday 6 September
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
$25.00 – $30.00
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Friends of Te Papa
(04) 381 7051


Te Huinga Centre, Level 3, Te Papa
55 Cable Street, Wellington
Wellington, 6011 New Zealand
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