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Cars, Cars, Cars!

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Jack Diamond was a thorough collector of everything West. He not only took his own photographs and acquired gifts of photos, but he also took photos of photos, before there were scanners or copiers, from both personal collections and collections belonging to institutions.

In each image in this small sample there is a car, the photos dating from 1919 to 1974. A number of the photographs here were taken by Jack himself, as a record of events and scenes in the time in which he lived.

Photograph dating is an interesting study, clothing and hairstyles are frequently quite reliable indicators of the season and decade, or even year, in which a photograph was taken. However vehicles were often a big investment and we Kiwis tend to keep them until they fall to pieces perhaps making them an unreliable indicator of photograph dates, but still very interesting!

Please let us know if you are able to clarify details of the make and model of any cars which are unidentified.

There are a surprising nu…

Saving history: An Auckland landmark

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In the days prior to the Auckland City amalgamation of 1989, the Borough Council building held a significant place in the community. One went in to pay the rates, pick up rat bait (issued free upon request), and maybe even caught a glimpse of the mayoral robes. This month, one of those buildings returns to new life after a controversial few years. The Mt Roskill Borough Council Municipal Building at Three Kings – the Metrowater building to locals – is back in use after the discovery of toxic black mould saw it in limbo. With rumours of a push to demolish, the local historical society petitioned for it to be saved and now, renovated in all its pink-peach glory, it is once again the home of the Local Board.


Built in 1956, the complex was considered by then MP John Rae, a ‘dream home’ for the council. He had called the previous Roads Board offices down the road a ramshackle collection of corrugated iron sheds. They had been in use since 1903.

A new municipal centre had been on the drawin…

British Newspapers Archive - a real gem!

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Among the databases available for FREE at Auckland Libraries is the British Newspaper Archive. This is the British Library’s version of PapersPast. If you subscribe to Findmypast you may have access to this already as part of your subscription. Otherwise you can use the British Newspapers Archive at any Auckland Council Library. all you have to do is register – provide an e-mail address and password and "Bob’s your Uncle!"

The site includes newspapers from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales and the articles can be something of national interest and much better, of local interest.

A quirky example you may find are the results of ploughing contests that may name the person and their employer. The best of course, are those articles that are a little scurrilous. I have incidents that have caused me to sit down and research who the parties involved are and how they are related.

However, all articles have added insight into how my families lived, property owned and what their ch…

Vaiaso o le Gagana Sāmoa: Samoan birth, death and marriage collections at Central Library

Sāmoan Language Week (Sunday 27 May to Saturday 2 June) is an opportunity to acknowledge and support the Sāmoan language and its use in New Zealand. 

We celebrate the languages and cultures of our diverse nation, to connect people back to their roots but also to teach other people about a different culture.

In the Central Auckland Research Centre, on Level 2 in Central City Library we are proud of the diversity of our international family history collection. Our Pacific Island collection is big part of this - and the Samoan collection is very strong.

People use our family history collections to trace their family, but also to reconnect with their culture and their heritage.

If you search our catalogue by typing: 3 SAM BDM in the search box for example you will find a whole host of resources on microfilm for births, deaths and marriages in Samoa:
Birth registers for Savai'i, Western Samoa, 1905-1993 Death registers for Savai'i, Western Samoa, 1923-1992 Death registers for Upolu, Wes…

Pacific's triple star

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Those three words are sung before every test match that the All Blacks play—in grounds throughout the rugby-playing world. Many New Zealanders have sung them more than once themselves. What exactly do they refer to? Let’s begin with their author.

Born in County Meath, Ireland, in 1841, Thomas Bracken spent most of his life in New Zealand, where he became a Member of Parliament and the popular poet who wrote the verses that are now our national anthem, ‘God Defend New Zealand’. The Auckland Central City Library’s Sir George Grey Special Collections contains the only manuscript in Bracken’s own handwriting of this ‘National Hymn’, as he entitled it. It is dated 9 July 1876. Also in the Grey Collection is the sole surviving autograph manuscript of John Joseph Wood’s musical setting of the anthem. Bracken's manuscript and Wood's sheet music, held by Auckland Libraries, are inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World New Zealand register.


The history of ‘God Defend New Zealand’ is …
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If you haven’t had a chance to see the exhibition Don’t leave town till you’ve seen the country on Level 2 of Tāmaki Ngā Pātaka Kōrero Central City Library, we recommend you go to enjoy its visual richness. In the meantime, we offer you an opportunity to listen to a selection of exhibition interviews in the comfort of your favourite chair, or on your commute.

The first track is an interview with Principal Curator Georgia Prince giving a background to the exhibition content and selection process.

Georgia shares with interviewer Haunui Royal a couple of highlights including Cecil Burleigh’s diary. The diary begins in 1932 when he was 22, and records his regular holiday trips around New Zealand. The hand drawn map charts three road trips he took with his mother in 1948 and 1949. In March 1949 they travelled from Auckland to Waiouru and back, before he returned to sea as a chief engineer.

‘The whole trip was pleasant and interesting.’  Cecil Burleigh. Diary. 1932-1987. NZMS 1450.


The second…

Wesley Primary School students gather scientific data

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“Plans were laid and one sunny morning we set off to walk to the top. It is quite a climb to the summit and we were puffed and glad to sit down for a bit and have a look round at the view. From our school down below, the mount doesn’t look very exciting but from here the city lay spread out on every side making a patchwork of coloured roofs, and the waters of the Waitemata Habour to the north really do sparkle… Standing here with Auckland at our feet we felt like kings of the castle.”

This excerpt was written by a primary school student at Wesley Primary School, in Mt Roskill, Auckland. It is taken from a school project report titled 'Life on an extinct volcano' created in 1966. J.F. Hopkins, a former teacher at Wesley Primary School, compiled these school project reports. Filled with photographs, they are a delight.

Three natural science projects form the Wesley Primary School Projects Collection, NZMS 2165, now held in Sir George Grey Special Collections. This manuscript wa…