There is an increasing awareness in New Zealand of good design and an ever improving standard of interior decoration. This can be traced to a number of sources. Among these are the growing number of New Zealanders who travel and see high standards overseas, and the influence of television. Every night thousands of us see lively and decorative homes. It is not surprising that we want our own houses to look as attractive.
The architects who have designed the tall, new office buildings built in the last few years have also made their presence felt. Men who work all day in well-designed offices are not happy to come home to ugliness at night. Frequently, new styles in design are accepted in office furniture long before they become acceptable in the home.
Credit must also be given to commercial firms who have sponsored design awards and to federations such as the plastics industry, who hold their own design competitions. All have contributed to an increased awareness of good design among New Zealand manufacturers of furniture and furnishings.
But many New Zealanders do not seem to have noticed the great strides that have been made in the last few years. Old beliefs die hard. Some people are still unable to accept that furniture and furnishings do not necessarily acquire merit because they are foreign or bought overseas.
Years of colonial rule, followed by years when New Zealand produced little except primary products, convinced us that our manufactured goods were second rate in manufacture and design. We have become so accustomed to believe that almost anything produced overseas must be better than the local product, that we haven't noticed the improvements.
There are still people who return from an overseas trip with a precious roll of wallpaper under their arm, although an almost identical paper is manufactured in this country.
Most current books on interior decorating are published in America, England or on the continent. The reaction of the average New Zealander on looking at these books is to say "of course, you can't do anything like that in this country," or "if only we could have houses like that here."
In the following pages we have tried to show that these people are wrong. This book sets out to prove that New Zealand homes can be as well decorated, as glamorous and as comfortable as any in the world, and to create an awareness amongst home-owners of the interesting and exciting things that can be done with interior decoration in this country. It hopes to silence all those who decry our local products.
A Guide to Home Decorating in New Zealand:
A H & A W Reed, 1971.