Does anyone else wish they could go back in time to the Jet Set era, when air travel was a glamorous affair that included caviar and crayfish being served on flights and the bar was so good that people didn't want to leave the plane? Creative Director, Rose Jackson, looks back fondly at the golden age of travel via the latest Auckland Museum exhibition to take flight: Air New Zealand 75 Years - Our nation. The world. Connected.
Air New Zealand’s 75th anniversary exhibition Air New Zealand: Our Nation. The World. Connected at Auckland War Memorial Museum launched recently, after building on its successful showing at Te Papa in Wellington.
Lynette Townsend, Curator History at Te Papa Tongarewa, wrote a piece for our Exotica issue on the Coral Route, that forms part of the exhibition, which was one of the world's most exotic holiday packages in the 1950s. Buy your copy here to read more about this luxurious tour of stunning Pacific Islands back in the day.
Pictured above: Of course one of the Glory Days team had an original Coral Route brochure in their vintage ephemera hoard!
The Air New Zealand exhibition has been further developed by Auckland Museum using its expertise and collections, and now features a number of new sections including the addition of a replica DC-8 cabin.
I was lucky enough to get a preview of the exhibition before it opened to the public, and was very impressed with the trip I was taken on as I walked through the well laid out spaces that chart the course of New Zealand's aviation history.
I'm a sucker for uniforms, so the line up of flight attendant garb past and present was a real treat to be welcomed with. It was wonderful to see them placed in chronological order and note how wildly styles have varied from the very military inspired first outfits of the 1940s, to the thigh-grazing minidresses in the 1960s, to the modern day bright prints and pared back suiting.
Our friends at the New Zealand Fashion Museum have delved deep into the history of the Air New Zealand uniforms in one of their clever online exhibitions. You can read all about the history and stories behind them by clicking here!
Pictured above: Air NZ uniforms including the Dior darling!
I was lucky enough to meet one of the original flight attendants (pictured with Air NZ bag on the wall and present day at the bottom of the image below) that started with TEAL (as they were originally named) and kept working for the airline when they changed to Air New Zealand.
As I rounded the corner of the exhibition after taking in all the gorgeous details on the uniforms, I was treated to a New Zealand aviation journey through time - from the brave original pilots who risked their lives in untested planes, to Jean Batten's epic flights, to TEAL and the Solent flying boats that took off just down the road from the Auckland Museum in Mechanics Bay, to the replica DC-8 cabin and on to the future of flight with an immersive virtual reality experience.
Pictured above: Scenes from the exhibition
Aside from uniforms, I adore vintage travel posters that were used to promote New Zealand to the world and this exhibition has a veritable feast of them posted to the walls. I could have sat for hours taking in all the details!
Peter Alsop, who featured in our Exotica issue, is an expert in historical advertising and travel posters in New Zealand and we were lucky enough to have him on the Telegram recently as well, talking about these commercial works of art. You can read more about them here.
In fact, we here at Glory Days love that vintage style of advertising so much, we ended up designing an advert for Pacific Trailways in the style of these original posters. For all of you aviation buffs out there, you will be very pleased to know that Pacific Trailways still fly DC-3's around the country, where the lower altitude and sedate speed of this style of plane are perfect for taking in the country at a leisurely pace!
Their tours for February and March next year are sold out, but make sure you follow them on facebook to find out about their new tours and stay tuned to Glory Days as there may just be a very special DC-3 experience that we will reveal next year!
Even if you are not a plane buff, I would thoroughly recommend catching the Air New Zealand exhibition. It was very interesting to see how a commercial entity developed and grew over time to become such a huge part of the social fabric of our country.
Perhaps it is because we are at the bottom of the world and they allowed our our pioneering spirit to be set free or perhaps it is simply because they are so good at getting us from place to place?
Whatever the reason, Air New Zealand and this exhibition is guaranteed to take you on an exciting journey through time and space!
Keen to take the next flight to the Auckland Museum for the Air New Zealand exhibition? Find out all the details here!