The beauty and interest that can be found in our everyday landscapes is frequently under appreciated, yet it constitutes a large part of our cultural legacy. In preparing ‘Vernacular’, Philip Smith and David Straight have cast an enquiring eye over the length and breadth of New Zealand, to discover the forms and objects that are associated with the everyday lives of people within this country. Far from being strictly prosaic, such landscape features often display a considerable degree of invention and a surprising level of aesthetics. Some of these occupy a very large scale, as in the case of the beautiful steps and paths of Kauaeranga Valley or Central Otago's water races, whilst others (such as industrial lamps or suburban gates) play a more minor role in our landscapes.

These kinds of places and objects have interested Philip Smith for many years, as a resource for generating landscape design that is founded within our own context, whilst documenting New Zealand’s built environments is a key part of David Straight’s photographic practise. In recording and valuing aspects of our vernacular landscapes, this book is intended as one small contribution towards gaining a better idea of what we have as a culture.