1906 International Exhibition

The Courts

The Exhibition buildings were filled with hundreds of individual display courts, both large and small. They included both government and commercial displays, and were designed to educate and inform visitors, as well as to encourage sales and trade.

The exhibition attracted 1321 commercial courts, including 384 from overseas, which displayed an enormous variety of products and manufactures. The lavish British Court was the largest of the foreign displays, with other major overseas courts representing Canada, Australia (Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia), Fiji and the Cook Islands.

The courts of government departments covered the whole range of New Zealand economic activity, from mining and agriculture, to fisheries, land and tourism as well as the work of the Department of Labour. Services such as education, insurance, defence, prisons, railways and other public works were also represented. The Exhibition also boasted its own fully operational Post Office. The technological aspects of New Zealand’s economy were displayed in the Machinery Hall, a "bright and amazing world of mechanical engineering … a hall of whirr and wheels, of shining ironwork and polished steel"1, which included engines of all descriptions, railway locomotives, motor-cars, a refrigerating plant, an electric-light plant and models of bridges and viaducts.

All the provinces were represented except for Otago and Wellington. It was suggested from some quarters that businessmen in those regions had displayed a remarkable lack of energy compared with their peers elsewhere. Finally, the Home Industries Court gathered together an assorted collection of everything which could be made in the home, from toys and textiles to furniture, cakes and pies, causing one commentator to remark at "What a curiosity shop it was!".2



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  • [1] Cowan, J. Official record, page 108
  • [2] Cowan, J.Official record, page 111