Lloyd Homer’s Photography of New Zealand


Lloyd Homer is one of New Zealand’s best-known aerial photographers. Between 1965 and 1997 he worked for the New Zealand Geological Survey and GNS Science. Over that time Lloyd was on the spot to
record major geological events such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and landslides. This exhibition is a sample of his photography including landscapes, geological hazards and scientists at work. When he started all of his photography was in black and white. The magnitude 7.1 Inangahua earthquake in May 1968 was a big shock as there had been no large earthquakes in New Zealand for many years. It was Loyd Homer’s first major assignment and he recorded the widespread damage on the ground and from the air. The Ananui Caves in limestone at Charleston on the West Coast were discovered in the early 1960s. Geologist Malcolm Laird was one of the
first scientists to explore and map the caves and Lloyd did a magnificent job of lighting the stalagmites and stalactites using only his flashlight. Lloyd Homer was a keen skier and a
member of the Ruapehu ski patrol. When Ruapehu erupted in June 1969 he was
quickly on the spot to record the steaming crater lake and the huge blocks
thrown out by the eruption. It was the first of several eruptions that Lloyd
was to record over the next 30 years. Lloyd visited and flew over the Tongariro
Volcanoes many times. Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu are
dominant features of the landscape in the central North Island on a clear day. This photo was taken from near Mount Taranaki,
looking over the dissected hill country to the volcanoes on the horizon. Mount Ngauruhoe erupted intermittently
for several months in early 1974. In this explosive eruption an ash cloud was
blasted upwards into the atmosphere. Some of the heavier material fell back
causing avalanches of hot rock that travelled downhill at high speed into
the nearby Mangatepopo Valley. Hikurangi is the sacred mountain of Ngati Porou. It is traditionally regarded as the first piece of land to emerge when Maui fished up the North Island. New Zealand’s most publicised landslide occurred in the Dunedin suburb of Abbotsford in August 1979. When a huge block slid downhill from left to right in the photograph carrying 17 people with it, amazingly no one was injured. In the later part of his career Lloyd Homer pioneered techniques for high-altitude aerial photography. This amazing image shows Banks Peninsula near Christchurch with a view looking along Akaroa harbour. A magnitude 6.3 earthquake affected the Edgecumbe area on the 2nd of March 1987 with widespread damage to homes and to the
industrial area of Kawerau A seven kilometre long rift opened up across the Rangitaiki Plain, seen here where it crosses McCracken Road. In the early morning of 14th of December 1991 a huge piece of the East face of Aoraki Mount Cook collapsed. Flowing downhill as a huge landslide onto the Tasman glacier. There were no injuries, but a group of climbers in the Plateau Hut had a close call as the landslide passed only 300 meters away. Ruapehu erupted intermittently in 1995 and 1996
causing widespread disruption to air traffic and depositing ash over much of the
Central North Island. Lloyd caught this explosive eruption on the
19th of June ’96. The last major event he recorded. This is only a small sample
of Lloyd Homer’s photography. if you are in the Wellington area, do come and see
the exhibition of his photographs at Expressions Gallery in Upper Hutt
from May 5th to June 30th 2018.

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