Scoop Review of Books

Classic Aerial Photos Published

A celebration of the classic aerial photographs of New Zealand taken from the 1930s-70s’
Whites Aviation was the Google Earth of its day; the images captured were equally awe-inspiring, sought-after, iconic.

Whites Aviation went on to become a household name in post-war New Zealand. Whites Pictorial Reference of New Zealand and its spin-off books were pored over in homes throughout the country and sent to friends and family overseas. The walls of many homes, farms and businesses were adorned with the company’s aerial images that combined incredible detail with a romantic new angle on a familiar world.

In the 1920s, just 20 years or so after the Wright brothers’ first flight, Leo White became the first New Zealander to combine an expertise in photography – itself still a young art – with the fresh and increasingly popular field of aviation.

From Cape Maria van Diemen to Stewart Island, and from the 1930s to the 1980s, the photographs featured in Whites Aviation: Classic New Zealand Aerial Photography feature landscapes still, in some cases, recognisable and in others, completely transformed. Depicting towns, cities, landforms and events, the images provide a unique insight into our country – combining historical interest with that natural curiosity about viewing recognisable landforms and places from a completely different perspective.

In 2007, the Alexander Turnbull Library became the custodians of the historic Whites Aviation collection, which comprises more than 80,000 negatives and 50,000 file prints. Whites Aviation: Classic New Zealand Aerial Photography, represents just a sampling of the vast collection, bringing together more than 200 images of New Zealand from the air.

Whites Aviation
Alexander Turnball Library RRP: $60.00 Released: 23 October 2009 Imprint: Godwit