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Handboek: Ans Westra Photographs

Ans Westra is an unseen observer, a documenter of contemporary New Zealand life.

Through the lens of her camera, she manages to capture a moment, an expression, a brief glimpse into the subject’s life that tempts the viewer to feel the tension, emotion, angst or excitement portrayed by the subject.

Handboek is a selection of carefully chosen aspects of New Zealand life from the second half of the 20th century and into the 21st; images captured by Westra of political demonstrations, hikoi, street parades and festivals.


She has been especially interested in documenting contemporary Maori at a time when Maori and Pakeha had to interact for the first time, exposing the Maori culture to an at times, reluctant and disinterested society.

Born in Holland in 1936, Westra arrived in New Zealand in 1957. It was her stepfather’s camera that sparked her interest in photography; she began her career by joining the Wellington camera club in 1959 going on to win their A-grade competitions by 1962. Westra was awarded the Companion of the Order of New Zealand Merit (CNZM) for services to photography in 1998. This exhibition is an in-depth insight into her 45-year career.

In association with Blair Wakefield Exhibitions (BWX)


Principal Funder

Annual Strategic Partners