Neon light signs have a rich history and evolution in New Zealand. These bright and vibrant signs have graced the streets of cities and towns across the country, illuminating the night sky and drawing attention to businesses and attractions. The rise of neon light signs in New Zealand can be traced back to the early 1920s when the technology was first developed and used in the country. Since then, neon signs have undergone significant changes in design, style, and function, becoming an iconic part of the country’s cultural and commercial landscape.
The development of neon light signs in New Zealand was heavily influenced by the United States, where neon technology was first introduced and widely used. American businesses began using neon signs in the 1920s to draw attention to their products and services. The bright and colorful designs were eye-catching and quickly became a popular advertising tool. New Zealand businesses soon followed suit, importing many of their neon signs from the United States.
By the 1930s, neon signs were a common sight in New Zealand’s largest cities, including Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch. The signs were used for a variety of purposes, including advertising, wayfinding, and decoration. The most iconic neon signs of this period were often found in large department stores, cinemas, and theaters. One of the most famous neon signs in New Zealand was the Civic Theatre sign in Auckland, which featured a giant, brightly-lit butterfly.
As neon technology continued to advance in the 1940s and 1950s, so did the design of neon signs in New Zealand. The signs became more intricate and elaborate, with neon tubing shaped into complex designs. The most popular neon sign designs included stylized lettering, animals, and other objects. Some of the most famous neon signs of this period include the neon milk bottle sign in Auckland, which advertised the local Dairy Board, and the Tiki Bar sign in Wellington, which featured a large, stylized tiki head.
In the 1960s and 1970s, neon signs in New Zealand began to take on a more psychedelic and abstract style. The use of neon tubing in different colors and shapes allowed for more creative and unique designs. The neon signs of this period were often found in bars and nightclubs, including the infamous Galaxy Club in Auckland, which featured a colorful, swirling neon sign.
Today, neon signs remain a popular and iconic feature of New Zealand’s commercial landscape. While digital signage has become increasingly popular, neon signs still hold a special place in the hearts of Kiwis. Many businesses continue to use neon signs to draw attention to their products and services, and some historic neon signs have been preserved and restored to their original glory. New Zealanders continue to appreciate the beauty and nostalgia of neon signs and their contribution to the country’s cultural heritage.