CAUCASIA: Selling New Zealand at the 1970 Japan World Expo
Emil McAvoy
Solo exhibition
February 2011
projectspace B431
Elam School of Fine Arts
University of Auckland

CAUCASIA catalogue

Closing celebration & free digital catalogue launch
Featuring performances by Radio Cegeste & DJ Tom Henry
5:30-7pm Friday 25 February 2011, projectspace B431, Elam School of Fine Arts
Supported by Kirin Beer

Open Thursday–Saturday, 11am-4pm, 17–26 February

In 1970 Japan was much further away from New Zealand.

The Japan World Expo, then the largest exhibition of its kind, marked New Zealand’s first participation in an international fair since the Second World War. It was motivated by a range of cultural, economic and political imperatives, and achieved through the cooperation of a wide range of state agencies. The New Zealand Pavilion, the National Film Unit three screen spectacular This is New Zealand, and our wider participation in Expo ’70 events were celebrated as an international success.

CAUCASIA is a presentation of a suite of digitally restored official New Zealand Government Publicity photographs documenting the New Zealand Pavilion. These national treasures have been unburied and selected from Archives New Zealand’s collections by artist Emil McAvoy to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the Pavilion and the highly popular national tour of This is New Zealand. The restored photographs are accompanied by a screening of the National Film Unit documentary This is Expo.

The artist describes the New Zealand Pavilion’s presentation of Aotearoa as “a modern Western paradise in the South Pacific, a presentation pitched to an international, primarily Japanese audience.” The promotion of international trade and tourism were central to these representations of New Zealand’s landscape, cultures and people. CAUCASIA revisits this moment and its performance of national identity on an international stage. McAvoy asserts, “these images confront us with how we saw and sold ourselves as a nation, and ask us to reconsider how we do so now.”

A free digital exhibition catalogue will be released at on 25 February. To celebrate the publication launch Radio Cegeste will be performing sound works in dialogue with the exhibition, alongside internationalist selections from DJ Tom Henry.

CAUCASIA is an outcome of a University of Auckland 2010-11 Summer Research Scholarship, supported by Archives New Zealand and the National Library.

Elam Projectspace Gallery
Elam School of Fine Arts
Ground Floor
Main Fine Arts Building
University of Auckland
20 Whitaker Place


Image: photographer and date unknown
Copyright Archives New Zealand
Te Rua Mahara o te Kawanatanga
Wellington Office [AAQT, 6540, 1, 3, 39]