Title / object name
Jigsaw puzzle, ’The Riddle of the Pacific’
|Maker ||Role ||Date |
|J W Ltd ||manufacturer(s) ||1944 |
cardboard, paper, ink
|Overall ||200 (Height) x 260 (Length) x 68 (Width/Depth) mm|
|Overall ||446 (Height) x 558 (Length) mm|
|Overall ||455 (Height) x 582 (Length) mm|
jigsaw puzzles, board games
Gift of Alison Hutton, 2008
This jigsaw puzzle is an example of how fear of a Japanese attack pervaded many aspects of New Zealand life during World War II, particularly during 1942. The private company that created the puzzle was both reflecting and cashing in on this anxiety.
The puzzle is based on the Pacific theatre of war.Generally, the enemy wasn’t directly demonised in New Zealand during the war. The occasional newspaper advertisement, letter to the editor, or game (such as this puzzle) featured racist, stereotypical or alarmist language and imagery. But these were the exception rather than the rule. Government propaganda used more subtle imagery, such as ‘rising sun’ graphics to suggest the oncoming Japanese.
Interestingly, this puzzle is a re-packaged version of a pre-war jigsaw called 'Jig Saw of Map of the Pacific the Far East'. The pieces remained the same, but the earlier packaging featured a benign image of an Asian junk sailing against a full moon beside a palm fringed coastline. The re-packaging shows how deeply New Zealand home life was affected by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, and the subsequent fear of attack during 1942.