The Emergence of Public Relations in New Zealand from 1945 to 1954 – The Beginnings of Professionalisation

Author: Lynne Trenwith, Manukau Institute of Technology

Abstract: This paper is part of a professionalisation history of Public Relations in New Zealand and is the first in a series of proposed articles on the professionalisation history of the public relations profession in New Zealand. This section tells a story of the emergence of an occupation, public relations, from its beginning in 1945 through to 1954, the end of World War II to the formation of the Public Relations Institute of New Zealand (PRINZ), the first step in professionalisation. This looking back is not just a narrative about people and events but provides insights for the present practitioner and other related business practitioners into some of the forces that have shaped the current practices that form public relations, its body of knowledge, norms, and practices. Written histories of public relations and the resulting typology reflect the dominance and origins of the profession in the United States with little written outside of this socially and culturally dominant perspective (L’Etang 2004). Although this perspective has influenced Public Relations in New Zealand, other models of public relations practice are revealed because of the different paths of historical evolution.