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A unique sound of Italian elegance: L’Addio by Raffaello Squarise

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For many years, Auckland Libraries has engaged with the music loving community by providing opportunities for musicians to perform at our Thursday Heritage Concerts series. At these concerts, our local musicians, and even some from overseas, have showcased their prodigious talent and highlighted a wonderful and varied musical repertoire – the vast majority of which the Library holds in our extensive music collection. We have had the joy of hearing beautiful interpretations of well loved works and had the privilege to hear lesser known works we would not have heard otherwise. One example being Purcell’s Harpsichord Master which was wonderfully presented by Peter and Katharine Watts in our concert series in 2019. Auckland Libraries holds the only extant copy of this work, first published in 1697. It was so exciting to hear it brought to life by such experts. I thought that this time in lockdown would be the perfect opportunity to reflect and take a look back on another special performanc

A ride on the Devonport horse Tramway

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 James D Richardson, "A woman and a girl beside the Devonport and Lake Takapuna Tramway tracks at Duders Beach, ca 1890". Auckland Libraries Heritage collections 4-3032. Spring 1886 heralded a long-awaited event for the people of Devonport. For three years, the community had discussed the merits of a horse tramway, but a false start, funding problems, and disputes with the local government delayed the opening of the first section of the Devonport and Lake Takapuna Tramway until Saturday, 25 September. Contract Plan of Devonport Tramway First Section, 23 November 1885. Courtesy Archives New Zealand R1947629. The inaugural run across the first section, between Victoria Wharf and Cheltenham Beach, was a publicity stunt intended to drum up sales of shares as much as to open the line. Reports of the event provide some of our only clues into the operation and quality of the tramway. Journalists noted that the “line is level for nearly the whole distance…and judging from the smoothn

The archive of Jean Wishart

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Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections recently acquired the archives of Miss Jean Wishart (1920-2016) who for over thirty years edited the New Zealand Woman’s Weekly . Wishart was a career journalist who lived and breathed the Weekly , making it the go-to read for generations of New Zealanders. Wishart began her journalism career when she joined New Zealand Newspapers in 1939. She soon worked at the Weekly itself, and in 1952 rose to the position of editor. She had wanted to write and work in publishing—her father was a printer—and had even contributed to the magazine’s children’s section, the Pixie Pages. It must have been a dream-come-true to work at that very magazine and to take readership to record levels over her thirty plus years at the helm. Image: From the Jean Wishart papers, a photograph of Jean Wishart, third from left, and colleagues with a cake to celebrate the readership of the New Zealand Woman's Weekly reaching 200,000. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, N

The 1990 project – people, places, animals and cars

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Back in 1989 and 1990 the Auckland Public Library commissioned two projects to mark the national sesquicentenary a.k.a. 150 years since 1840 when Te Tiriti o Waitangi was signed and recognised as our founding document. This documentary initiative was named 'The 1990 Project', and aimed to record the look and feel of Auckland through oral history and documentary photography.  Image: Stuart Page. Carefully pruned trees, Panmure, 1989. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, 273-PAG005-06 . The oral histories focus on eastern suburbs, Glen Innes, and Panmure and were recorded from 1989 through to 1992. Originally recorded on cassette, these interviews have been digitised and are described on Kura Heritage Collections Online . Some of the audio is online: you can hear the  Rev Leiite Setefano talk about travelling from Samoa to Wellington , and  Aneta Jean Hart's account of moving from rural Taranaki to Auckland . In a HeritageTalk recorded during lockdown in April 2020 Megan

Ecotones by Sonja Drake: an exhibition about Wairau Creek

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Detail of Trickle Down , watercolour on Fabriano Watercolour paper 300gm, full work is 4200 x 1500mm. Sonja Drake’s art exhibition Ecotones opened at the Angela Morton Room at Takapuna Library on 7 August. The exhibition features watercolours, prints and artists books inspired by her explorations of Wairau Creek’s history and ecosystem. While the library is currently closed, we can still share this beautiful work with you here in a different form.  Sonja has been drawing water samples from local waterways, testing the water, tracking temperature, weather and tidal effects, and sketching, on her walks along Wairau Creek, as she has sought to understand the shifting and fluid nature of this ecosystem where urban and natural worlds meet.  Being immersed in the physicality of the site means she has been able to reflect on what is valued and what is precious. She has also studied the history of the stream from the recent colonial time, the pre-colonial history of the Tangata Whenua, and the

Digital access to historic Aotearoa arts journal

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One of the country’s earliest arts journals,  Art in New Zealand,  will be digitised and made freely available to search on Papers Past . The seventy issues of Art in New Zealand (1928–1946) and its successor the Year Book (1945-1951) are treasure for Aotearoa art history researchers and enthusiasts. Image: Cover of Art in New Zealand , December 1942. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections. Established by publisher Harry Tombs, Art in New Zealand aimed to improve standards of art criticism, generate discussion and improve on the art notices in local newspapers that were “more kindly than constructively critical. They spread praise lavishly, and dispraise is a rarety... such notices impart no stimulus to an art that needs stimulating... They may merely narcoticise the artist into the belief that he has ‘arrived,’ or at least is ‘arriving’.” The editors also wanted to provide a forum that would help nurture art unique to New Zealand. “Glancing round annual exhibitions in the Dominion