Posts

A tale of three kete and a puhi ariki

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Image: Three kete, 2020. Three beautiful kete by kairaranga Muna Lee (Te Ati Awa, Taranaki Tuturu) have been welcomed into the Angela Morton Room Te Pātaka Toi Art Library. These taonga, inspired by early Māori association with Takapuna, grew from an earlier commission where Muna wove a replacement puhi ariki for the two metre long waka taua which rests in the Room. Image: Paul Estcourt. Courtesy of New Zealand Herald archive, 3 August 2010, New Zealand Herald. The waka taua (war canoe) was carved by four inmates of Auckland Prison at Paremoremo as part of an exhibition and charity auction held at Mairangi Arts Centre in 2010. It was made from 30,000 year old kauri and tōtara wood recovered from a swamp during the building of Ngawha Prison. The auction of prisoner’s work raised $7495 for their nominated charity Victim Support. Over 80 items were shown including paintings and carved patu, wall panels and walking sticks. The North Shore City Council bought the waka taua for display in l

Songs in the parlour: Victorian illustrated sheet music covers from the Bellingham papers

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Over the past year I have revelled in exploring an extraordinary collection of illustrated sheet music donated in 1990 to Auckland Libraries by Mr John Bellingham, an enthusiastic life-long collector. The sheet music lies within the context of his larger collection focussing on theatre, ballet and music in New Zealand, from the late 1800s till the early 2000s. The Bellingham collection includes programmes, scrapbooks, photographs, publicity postcards from visiting artists, books, theatre journals and even a few recordings. Victorian illustrated sheet music covers provide a surprising window into a by-gone era. They document experiments in typography and lithography that were bold and creative. New technologies at the time enabled sheet music to be used as a means of mass communication for a growing middle class. The songs themselves can also be interpreted as a social comment of the times. What surprised and delighted me was how comprehensive the sheet music collection is in its depth

Bake as usual: the Edmonds "Sure to rise" cookery book

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2020 has had a baking theme. When Aotearoa New Zealand began the nation-wide lockdown at COVID-19 Alert Level 4 in March there was a shortage of flour as panic buyers raided the supermarkets and home baking became a focus of comfort and calm. The Edmonds cookbook might have been dusted off the top shelf for some of the kiwi classics, essential eating at a time of personal and global stress. Sometimes only bacon and egg pie will do. Image: The "Sure to rise" cookery book, front cover. 1910. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, b3099445_01. Take a look at your family copy – you might have an Antiques Road Show moment. There are only two known surviving copies of the first edition, the ‘Sure to Rise Cookery Book’ (1909) - which Thomas Edmonds produced to promote the use of his baking powder with his promise of success, “sure to rise”. He should be recognised as one of Aotearoa’s pioneering marketers in the development of the cook book with his product. It is unlikely you wi

Early Auckland coroner’s inquests

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Authors note: This blog post contains medical details relating to the deaths of individuals. Some of the terminology used is out-dated and the subject could be sensitive for some readers. Some reports have been redacted to ensure respect is given to the victims. One day while working the desk at Research Central, I mentioned to a colleague that I am fascinated by anything related to medical history (which might explain two of my previous blog posts about nursing and midwifery...). She quickly said “Oh, you’d like this book then!” and showed me ‘ Touching on Deaths: A medical history of early Auckland based on the first 384 inquests ’ by Laurie Gluckman. I was immediately hooked! This blog post will delve into the history of coronial practices in Auckland and will highlight a few of the more curious cases.    The first chapters in the book examine the history of early Auckland Pākehā settlement, how the city developed, housing, roading and public health. The picture it paints is grim; f

Food for thought - an audio feast

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Enjoy a feast of audio content from Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections and beyond. The Food for thought exhibition runs from 28 September 2020 – 31 January 2021 at Tāmaki Pātaka Kōrero, the Central City Library. Including rare books, manuscripts, menus, posters and oral histories, the exhibition celebrates the role food plays in family, belonging and culture.   Curators chat Take a walk around the gallery with exhibition curators Elspeth Orwin and Harriet Rogers. Listen to the track here . Sue Gee on Jack Chong's New Look Cook Book One of the books on display in the exhibition is 'Jack Chong's New Look Cook Book : Exciting new ways to cook Chinese and Kiwi food'. Sue Berman caught up with Sue Gee for a chat about the family food story and ingredients that culminated in her father's recipe book being produced to compliment his special marinades. Listen to the track here . Kiribati to Aotearoa In this track Sue Berman talks with Teri Taukoriri about

Pukekiwiriki Pā Historic Reserve

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During the Auckland Heritage Festival 2020 we've been sharing hidden histories of Auckland places written by Auckland Council Heritage Unit staff. Myfanwy Eaves is a Senior Specialist Archaeology and has been working with mana whenua and the Papakura Local Board on a project to improve access to Pukekiwiriki Pā. Image: Myfanwy Eaves. View from east to Pukekiwiriki Pā, September 2020. Pukekiwiriki Pā has recently seen some improvements in access and these are open to all from September 2020. Mana whenua have strong cultural, traditional, and historic links with Pukekiwiriki Pā, its associated harbour, wetlands and inland waterways, including rivers, streams and springs. There is a long occupation history for Māori in Tāmaki Makaurau where cultural heritage sites were the places and settlements of ancestors. Pukekiwiriki Pā is one such significant site. The pā is a taonga that is significant and closely linked to the identities of the mana whenua. Pukekiwiriki Pā is co‐governed with

Doctors’ Houses, 84-86 Symonds Street, Auckland Central

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There are about 2500 places in the Auckland region which are scheduled as historic heritage places. Quite a few of these places have an association with medicine and health and several of those places are on Symonds Street. Symonds Street was a popular spot with medical practitioners due to its proximity to Auckland Hospital.  The Doctors’ Houses at 84-86 Symonds Street may look like one building now, but they were originally two houses, both belonging to doctors. Image: Marguerite Hill. 84-86 Symonds Street, 2019. Auckland Council Heritage Unit.   The ivy-covered building on the left, at 84 Symonds Street, was once the home and consulting rooms of Dr Eily Elaine Gurr (1896–1996), a medical practitioner with an interest in maternal and infant health. Gurr trained in obstetrics overseas (including at the renowned Rotunda Hospital, a maternity hospital in Dublin) and then established antenatal clinics throughout New Zealand with the Department of Health. She also oversaw the training of