Tourism has long played an important role in New Zealand history. In the late 19th Century wealthy travellers from Great Britain, Australia and the United States visited New Zealand to admire its natural beauty with the first local guidebook being published in 1882. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 aided with the ease of access when travelling from the old world, along with a visit to NZ by Prince Alfred a year later. The wonders of the country were promoted such as Fiordland and the geothermal activity in Rotorua as well as Māori peoples and culture. The earliest record of annual international tourist numbers to New Zealand was 5,233 in 1903, with Australians and Britons made up over 80% of arrivals (Te Ara, 2010). Many of these tourists wished to return home with a souvenir from their travels and greenstone jewellery became a popular choice, many pieces of which can still be found in the United Kingdom today.
The Colonial Tourist Jewellery auction is on the 11th May 2023.