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The Arts in New Zealand

The Arts in New Zealand

New Zealand artists, sculptors, carvers, jewellers and fashion designers have developed an international reputation, both for the quality of their work and for their use of the country's raw materials.

  • The traditional Maori skills of bone and greenstone (jade) carving, weaving, and performance art remain strong
  • The Paua shell has become a distinctive feature of New Zealand artwork
  • The country has 400 museums and art galleries, with one of the biggest being the 'Te Papa' museum in Wellington
  • Glass artists Ola Höglund and Marie Simberg-Höglund create art glass that has earned them worldwide praise. Their glass is internationally renowned and sought after by both public and private collectors worldwide and has been included in more than 40 international exhibitions. Each unique piece explores the fluid brilliance of the crystal clear glass and reflects the movement and beauty of the natural environment
  • Reading is still listed as a favourite pastime, and society has provided great inspiration for artists and writers
  • Katherine Mansfield is a qualified national icon. As an expatriate writing in London and reflecting European movements of thought, she had little connection with early New Zealand writing, which accorded her little recognition. Her work offers a rich account of a modern woman’s engagement with love, art, solitude, impending death, and war
  • Charles Frederick Goldie (1870-1947) is one of New Zealand's most controversial and best-known painters. He has been variously described as 'our greatest painter', an 'outdated academic racist', and no more than a 'second-rate Lindauer'
  • In the last 6 years, New Zealand has won 44 Oscars at the Academy Awards. Some world-famous movies were filmed in New Zealand: The Piano, Whale Rider, Vertical Limit, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, King Kong, The Worlds Fastest Indian, River Queen, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, with many more projects in the pipeline
  • Bollywood has also discovered this part of the world and is now producing a large number of Indian films made on the South Island
  • Karen Walker is a noted New Zealand fashion designer. Her clothes have been seen on many celebrities including Björk, Sienna Miller, M.I.A., Alexa Chung, Beth Ditto, Michael Haneke, Liv Tyler, Rihanna, Claire Danes, Jennifer Lopez, and many more. Four pieces from one of Karen's original collections "Dust" appeared on Kate Winslet in the Michel Gondry film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Theodora Richards has also modelled in Karen Walker runway shows and posed in the March 2005 issue of Evening Standard UK magazine in Karen Walker outfits. Tyra Banks also recently wore a Karen Walker dress on her talk show.
  • Rebecca Taylor is a New Zealand-born fashion designer based in New York, New York, in the United States. To Americans, she is probably the most famous New Zealand designer, with her label appearing at US and European department stores. Her retail outlets include boutiques in Japan. Her company was reported in 2003 as having a US$12 million turnover
  • New Zealander Dame Kiri Te Kanawa is one of the world's leading sopranos
  • New Zealand has two orchestras, a national ballet company, and a number of professional theatres
  • The music of New Zealand is an expression of the culture of New Zealand. New Zealand's music is influenced by the culture of the indigenous Māori and immigrants from the Pacific region, though its musical origins lie predominantly in British colonial history with contributions from Europe and America. As the nation grew and established its own culture, local artists combined these styles with local influences to create music that was distinctively New Zealand. One of New Zealand's most successful pop songs is 'How Bizarre by OMC. It sold between three and four million records worldwide during 1995 and 2000, making it the biggest-selling New Zealand record at the time. New Zealand's size means that many of the country's more prominent mainstream bands find their largest audiences in Australia. Of these, perhaps the most successful has been Split Enz, founded by Tim Finn and Phil Judd in the early 1970s. The addition of Tim's younger brother Neil after Judd's departure led to a more accessible style and several big hits. After the demise of Split Enz, Neil Finn went on to found the highly successful Crowded House

Tours that include this Activity

5 Day - North Island Cultural Tour

5 Day - North Island Cultural Tour

From multicultural cities with fantastic shopping and dining to secluded sandy beaches, beautiful remote island sanctuaries, Glow-worm Caves and rain forests; New Zealand's North Island has it all.
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8 Day - South Island Cultural Experience

8 Day - South Island Cultural Experience

Experience the top highlights of New Zealand's South Island, showcasing the purest natural landscapes. From rugged coastlines to lush plains. Learn about our history over a local glass of wine amidst spectacular surroundings.
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14 Day -  Luxury Tour South Island

14 Day - Luxury Tour South Island

From the sea to the sky, the South Island encapsulates in one compact island the very best that New Zealand has to offer. New Zealand is a land of immense and diverse landscapes.
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