Contemporary gallery, Level 5, Te PapaPrevious Exhibition
A 1960s agricultural utility vehicle, a stack of butter boxes, a bottle of slivovitz, a structure labelled ‘The Invisible Hand’, and a trade-show desk branded ČNZ (Czech/ New Zealand). Herein lies a story of political intrigue …
The Trekka (1966-73) is a Kiwi icon - the country’s only locally designed and produced car. But despite being hailed as New Zealand made, it was actually constructed on a Czechoslovakian Škoda chassis, as ‘ČSSR’ on the rotating sign reveals. This business venture was rather remarkable in the 1960s, given the restrictions on imports to New Zealand and a tense relationship with Eastern-Bloc countries.
This installation represented New Zealand at the 2003 Venice Biennale - a prestigious international contemporary art event and, as Stevenson perhaps suggests, a place where art itself meets trade and nationalism.