Story: City history and people

Centres of civilisation

Centres of civilisation

In Western culture, cities were often represented as the pinnacle of civilisation. The growth of New Zealand cities was used by immigration agents to reassure potential migrants that New Zealand was not a barbaric backwater. This 1870s drawing of Government House in Wellington highlights the building’s grandeur and cultivated environs, reinforcing the perception that that the city was urbane. It comes from a collection of letters written by emigration agent Arthur Clayden and published in 1879.

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Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: B-K 904-44

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

David Thorns and Ben Schrader, 'City history and people - The appeal of city life', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 28 June 2022)

Story by David Thorns and Ben Schrader, published 11 Mar 2010