Shaw Savill Shipping Line travel poster for the Whanganui River, circa 1930
Billed as "The Rhine of Maoriland" by the tourist moguls, the Whanganui river was a much traveled waterway reached by steamer from the western coastline of the North Island into the interior, up into edges of the King Country. The steamer varied in size as the river became shallower and narrower, with a houseboat providing one of the tourist accommodations part way up the river. By the time the travel poster above was produced around 1930, the days of water borne tourism were numbered with roads opening up the interior, tourists could now be transported more readily by motor coach.
The following scenic postcards date from the early 1900s, capturing some of the images of Maori life on the river. The wahine with a camera motif was a trademark for a series of cards produced for the tourist trade as well as for pakeha New Zealanders to mail "Home" to show just how exotic was this place they had emigrated to.
Whanganui River near Atene, postcard, 1910c
Whanganui River scene, circa 1910, postcard