Monday, 15 January 2018

A year in the life of the New Zealand Graphic and Ladies Journal

The values expressed by the political cartoons in The New Zealand Graphic and Ladies Journal give us clues about the attitude of its publisher to the policies of the Liberal Government. The publisher’s attitude generally set expectations about the style and tone of both journalistic and cartoon content in their papers. The Graphic was published by Henry Brett, who also published the New Zealand Farmer and the Auckland Star. In those days both papers reflected conservative tendencies.  So it is therefore not surprising that the Graphic’s cartoons reflect similar right-wing concerns about the socialist taint of the Liberal Government.

The first cartoon we’re looking at was published on 21 January 1893 and was captioned ‘When a Little Farm we keep.’ Liberal land policy was to break up large estates so that they could relocate the urban unemployed on small farms. Simple, huh? Like killing two birds with one stone? So in the cartoon’s background a Liberal cowboy lassoes a hapless member of the unemployed, while in the foreground the leaders of the Liberal Government are working one of the farms they prepared earlier. The cartoon’s implication is that John Ballance has been milking taxes from the New Zealand public milch cow to give Richard Seddon the funds to sow seed in his fields. Meanwhile William Pember Reeves, the architect of state socialism, ladles dollops from his bowl of socialism to New Zealand voting geese (who’ve already been ‘goosed’ by the Liberals.)

'When a little farm we keep'. From: The New Zealand Graphic, 21 January 1893

Next month’s cartoon, published on 18 February 1893, alludes to Seddon’s imperial aspirations in the Pacific. Little New Zealand is urging his father, John Bull (Britain), to interfere as the United States annexes Hawai’i. John Bull is walking with British Prime Minister William Gladstone. The cartoon’s ironic implication is that Gladstone supported independent Home Rule and was not interested in acquiring more colonies.

'I say Dad don’t you think me and you ought to interfere?' From: The New Zealand Graphic, 18 February 1893. 

During April 1893, Graphic cartoonist Ashley Hunter returned to his criticism of the state socialism growing because of Liberal support for workers and unions. The cartoon for 22 April shows a well-dressed union boss using a New Zealand worker as the fulcrum to move the world into anarchy using strikes as the lever, and the strike funds he has bled from the workers as his counterweight.

'The Modern Archimedes Upsetting The World'. From: The New Zealand Graphic, 22 April 1983.

The Liberal Government walked a tightrope and performed a fine balancing act placating its supporters. Next week’s cartoon, published on 29 April 1893, suggests that Ballance, Seddon and Reeves are selling soft soap, surprise packages and water crackers to confuse and pacify the workers and women who supported them.

'A Large Order'. From: The New Zealand Graphic, 29 April 1893.

The next cartoon, published on 17 June 1893, suggests that the Liberals had very little of substance in their election manifesto to offer the New Zealand voting public. The cartoon shows William Pember Reeves gingerly crossing the Liberal Ass(n)’s weak plank, representing the policies that the Liberals were advocating in the 1893 election. Behind him, Richard Seddon reveals to Joseph Ward that he knows how weak their plank is.  The bemused public is represented by the donkey in the background.

'The Liberal Ass’s Bridge'. From The New Zealand Graphic, 17 June 1893.

On 9 September 1893, Hunter returned to his criticism of the new industrial relations environment William Pember Reeves had created in New Zealand. Reeves’s Industrial Conciliation and Arbitration Act established his ‘arbitrary’ Arbitration Court where all employers and unions had to go, and which ‘united Labour and Capital in the silken bonds of Industrial Conciliation.’ However the non-appealable Court Awards favour the workers, while arch-angel Reeves keeps the employer on his knees.

'Compulsory Conciliation'. From: The New Zealand Graphic, 9 September 1893.

Next month Hunter chose to focus on Seddon’s personal empire-building proclivities. During his career, the Premier aggrandised many ministries and departments unto himself, and in the cartoon for 7 October 1893 he is shown as the greedy little boy Alexander who always wants more …

'Alexander The Great sighing for new worlds to conquer'. From: The New Zealand Graphic, 7 October 1893.

Finally, the Liberals relied on popular support for their policy of helping the unemployed and other town dwellers onto the land to underpin their hold on power. The cartoon published on 4 November 1893 shows Seddon and Ward as two wheeling and dealing land agents whose business premises are now threatened by the conflagration of the General Election, with Seddon beginning to wonder if their usual electoral insurance policy will work this time…

'The Devouring Element'. From: The New Zealand Graphic, 4 November 1893. 

Over 35,000 images from The New Zealand Graphic and Ladies' Journal are now available on Heritage Images.

Author: Chris Paxton, Heritage Collections

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Scots wha hae!

This coming Saturday, 13 January 2018, come celebrate Scottish culture at Waitākere Central Library at our biannual event, Scots Wha Hae!

Robert Burns’ rousing song Scots Wha Hae, written in 1793, is a call for Scots to stand up for their nation.  It is written in the form of a speech by the Scots’ King, Robert the Bruce, before leading his troops to victory against the English at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.

Scottish people have embraced Burns (1759-1796) as their national poet, because his songs and poems represent enduring Scottish values: ones that are celebrated internationally.
An exhibition at New Zealand’s Te Papa Museum stated that enduring Scottish values are those of
 “…education and equal opportunity for all, and a sense of personal and social responsibility”.

In the 19th century, Scots in New Zealand often celebrated Burn’s birthday on 25 January.
BURNS'S ANNIVERSARY., Auckland Star, Volume XXI, Issue 22, 27 January 1890.
The reasons for leaving Scotland have differed over time, with many initially leaving their home country in the century of the Highland Clearances (mid 18th to 19th century). See also, The Highland Clearances: People, Landlords and Rural Turmoil, by Eric Richards, 2016: ppxv-xvii.

At first, most went to the south in the Otago area.  In the 19th century, the majority of Scots that settled in Waipu, north of Auckland, had first migrated to Nova Scotia in Canada. Many eventually left because the land couldn’t support a growing population. Some came to NZ. Between 1840 and 1950, it is estimated that 20% of immigrants to New Zealand were from Scotland.

Many settled in Auckland, and some of the most notable among them were entrepreneurial men who started businesses.  Thomas Henderson, born in Dundee, Scotland in 1810, arrived in NZ in 1840.  Henderson and fellow Scot John MacFarlane came to west Auckland in the 1840s. They set up a timber mill in the area now known as Henderson. Initially the saw mill was named the Dundee Mill, while the wider area was known as Henderson’s Mill.
Thomas Henderson, 1881. West Auckland Research Centre, J T Diamond Collection. JTD-18-00943.
The Scot John McLeod, born in Nova Scotia in 1825, became mill manager at the Dundee Saw Mill in 1854, soon after he arrived in New Zealand.  In 1862 he set up his own timber mill in Te Awaroa in the Kaipara. He had a villa built there for his wife, Helen, in 1863.  The area subsequently became named after Helen’s Villa – Helensville. John and Helen moved away from the Kaipara area after about 5 years.  John’s brother, Isaac, and his family stayed on and made a significant contribution to the development of Helensville.
James D Richardson, 1863.  Sir George Grey Special Collections, 4-1168.

From the early 20th Century to the 21st century, many people continued to immigrate to New Zealand from Scotland.
Auckland Weekly News, 1921, Sir George Grey Special Collections, AWNS-19211110-42-1.
Frederick George Radcliffe, c1921, Sir George Grey Special Collections, 35-R142.
In 1932, The St Andrews Society of New Lynn was established, and in 1962 the Henderson and Districts Scottish Society was formed.  These societies have celebrated anniversaries, such as the New Year (Hogmanay) and the St Andrews day celebrations.  These included some old Scottish rituals such as the piping in of the haggis at a Burns Supper.

The last Scots wha hae! event in January 2016 at Waitakere Central Library was enjoyed by many local people.

There was a piper, Andrew Wilkie from the Signals and Drums Band.
Creator: Auckland Council, 2016, screencap from video taken at Scots Wha Hae 2016, West Auckland Research Centre Auckland Libraries.
There were dancers from the Caledonia Dance School: Georgina Hegarty, Rose Tyler and Tessa Hiam.

Photographer: Auckland Council, 2016, West Auckland Research Centre Auckland Libraries.
Laura Robertson played the Celtic Harp on a 34 string lever harp.
Photographer Auckland Council, 2016, West Auckland Research Centre  Auckland Libraries, SHC-D-2016-112.
And there were toasts, songs, talks and speeches. Trevor Pollard, Vice President Auckland Burns Association, spoke at Scots Wha Hae! 2016.

Photographer Auckland Council, 2016, West Auckland Research Centre  Auckland Libraries, SHC-D-2016-112.

Join us this Saturday 13 January 2018, for Scots Wha Hae!

Further reading

Brooking, Tom and Jennie Coleman (eds). The Heather and the Fern: Scottish Migration & New Zealand settlement, 2003.
Bueltmann, Tanja, Scottish Ethnicity and the Making of New Zealand Society, 1850-1930. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press Ltd, 2011.
Burgess, Vivien, Gai Bishop and Grant Cole; edited by Paul Moon. Henderson : heart of the west. West Auckland Historical Society, 2016.
McLean, John, The Pioneering McLeods: clan McLeod of Helensville. 2012.

Author: Carolyn Skelton