Friday, 21 December 2012

End of the Golden Weather

Bruce Edward George Mason, (28 September 1921 – 31 December 1982)

At 10am on Christmas Day at the Takapuna Beach Reserve, there will be a free presentation of a scene from Bruce Mason’s play entitled 'End of the Golden Weather'.

The scene which will be enacted, is set in the 1930’s on Takapuna Beach (Te Parenga in the play) on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  The work captures the feeling of a semi-rural, laid back Takapuna in the 1930s, when it was still a village.

Ref: T5502, Takapuna beach, North Auckland Research Centre
Bruce Mason spent his formative years in Takapuna and he attended Belmont School and Takapuna Grammar. 'End of the Golden Weather' was based nostalgically on his Takapuna childhood.  It covers the excitement of small boys anticipating Christmas and the show they present for their parents and relations on Christmas Eve. The main character, Geoff Crome, is 12 years old and against his father’s warning he befriends the strange Firpo, helping him train for a run on the beach.

Bruce performed 'End of the Golden Weather' nearly 1000 times, including in Britain, the United States and Edinburgh.

Ref: T1529, Bruce Mason with his mother, donated by Diana Mason, North Auckland Research Centre
This is the seventh year playwright and North Shore resident Roger Hall has organized this event on Takapuna Beach, and it will be performed by actor Stephan Lovatt.

If weather conditions are poor, the performance will transfer to the War Memorial Hall on the Strand, next to the library.

Auckland Libraries has a number of heritage resources by or about Bruce Mason and his works, which are found in the research centres around the region.

Author: Vanessa Seymour, North Auckland Research Centre

Digitisation of the Radio Times

The BBC has finished digitising the programme listings from 4,500 old copies of the 'Radio Times' magazine, covering the period of the first issue in 1923 through to 2009.

Entitled the Genome project, the BBC has said that each it its programmes are like "tiny pieces of BBC DNA" that will form a "data spine" once reassembled.

Ref: AWNS-19420513-20-4, Sir George Grey Special Collections

Thursday, 20 December 2012

To the Ends of the Earth exhibition

'To the Ends of the Earth' opened at the Alexander Turnbull Library's gallery on the 26th November 2012 and runs until 19 January 2013.

The exhibition features a selection of some of the most rare and exquisite holdings from the library's Rare Books and Fine Printing Collection. This includes a manuscript Bible from the 13th century, an illuminated Psalter and Book of Hours from the 15th century, stunning handmade bookbindings, and more.
 
Ref: 7-C1906, the Rossdhu Book of Hours, Sir George Grey Special Collections
The exhibition also celebrates the story of Old World bibles in New Zealand, and the development of the Turnbull's Rare Book holdings.

Accompanying the exhibition is a wide range of public programmes, including poetry readings and public talks. Workshops let you get creative and try your  hand at illuminated lettering and writing with a quill pen. Book in for these events quickly!

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Flowers, Fruit and Foliage exhibition

'Flowers, Fruit and Foliage', the latest exhibition from the Sir George Grey Special Collections has opened. The exhibition features botanical illustrations from the collections and runs from 29 November 2012 to 17 March 2013 at the Central City Library, 44 Lorne Street, Level 2.

While pictures of plants in books are often produced as a practical guide for identifying useful, or common, or newly discovered species, the resulting illustrations can be beautiful works of art in their own right. The books in this exhibition were all chosen for their illustrations and date from 1578 through the great age of botanical illustration in the 18th and 19th century, to the wood engravings of the 1930s.

The earliest book on display is a herbal printed in 1578, but there are many beautiful hand-coloured engravings from the 18th century, and very rich colour printed illustrations from the 19th.

Ref: 7-C1955, Sir George Grey Special Collections

Monday, 17 December 2012

International Tracing Service

The International Commission for the International Tracing Service (ICITS)  is handing over management of the International Tracing Service in Bad Arolsen to the German Federal Archives (Bundesarchiv) after over 50 years. The ICITS will continue to give technical expertise, helping the ITS serve the victims of Nazi persecution and their families.

Ref: T7129, North Auckland Research Centre
The archives cover civilians detained in Nazi concentration or labour camps and people who had to flee their homes because of World War II. They house over 50 million card files relating to more than 17.5 million civilians persecuted by the Nazis.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Last drinks

Sarah Burns from ESEM Projects / Sitelines Media spoke at the recent National Digital Forum (NDF) conference about the 'Last drinks: One More Round At The Australia Hotel' project, which she had worked on.

This video and sound installation project, was part of the City of Sydney’s 11th annual 'Art & About Festival', which ran from 21 September to 21 October 2012. A series of night time installations also took place and were intended to re-inscribe the hidden history of the precinct back onto the buildings and laneways, enabling memories of sophistication and style to collide with the present day. The website itself is a great resource with information about the Australia Hotel and Community Stories.

Ref: AWNS-19000223-11-1, Sir George Grey Special Collections

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Take another look at community newsletters ...

If you're looking for information on events in your area in the recent past you'll probably turn to your local newspaper. Suburban newspapers such as the Howick & Pakuranga Times, Eastern Courier, Manukau Courier, Papakura Courier and Post (Waiuku) can be invaluable sources of local news. However, these newspapers each cover quite a wide area and may not have quite the level of detail you want. In some areas, community groups also publish monthly or quarterly newsletters, which include a different range of views.

One of the longest-lived examples of this type of newsletter is the Whitford Turanga Newsreel. This began publication as the Turanga Newsreel in 1947 and has come out unfailingly with 11 issues per year full of Whitford news ever since. A complete set is held at South Auckland Research Centre.

Ref: Footprints 01469, South Auckland Research Centre
Similar titles include the Informer (Hunua), Kaiaua Compass, Karaka Chronicle, Peninsularama (Manukau Peninsula), and Weymouth News. Check the Auckland Libraries catalogue for details of library holdings.

Sometimes community newsletters go on to bigger things. The Pohutukawa Coast Times, a fully-fledged weekly newspaper covering the Beachlands, Maraetai and Clevedon areas, began life as a community newsletter called the Town Crier in 1971.

Author: Bruce Ringer, South Auckland Research Centre

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Christmas is coming!

Having trouble thinking of what to buy friends and loved ones? Starting to get a bit panicky about what to get? Beattie's Book Blog and the New Zealand Herald have some great books ideas including History, Biographies and Memoirs. And if you fancy getting crafty, you can create your own Family History book as gift for family members.

Ref: D_GVD_0019, North Auckland Research Centre
A Kiwi Christmas is something special and New Zealand History Online Nga korero a ipurangi o Aotearoa have put together some great resources about this festive time of year. This includes the history behind the day off on Christmas Day - did you know that it wasn't always a public holiday?

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

New Cultural Property Bill passed

The Cultural Property (Protection in Armed Conflict) Bill has been recently passed by the House. The bill covers New Zealand’s international obligations to protect cultural property during war from destruction such as vandalism or theft.

“This bill reinforces New Zealand’s role as a good international citizen by fully joining us up to the system of international measures to dissuade would-be traffickers of stolen cultural goods,” Mr Finlayson said. It also strengthens the current practices of our armed services personnel overseas.

Ref: AWNS-19141022-47-1, Sir George Grey Special Collections

Monday, 10 December 2012

Thanks Denis!

Lieutenant Commander Denis James Matthews Glover, DSC, 9 December 1912 – 9 August 1980.

9 December 2012 marks one hundred years since the birth of baby Denis in Dunedin.  The Dictionary of NZ Biography fills in the essential story giving him the byline of, “poet, journalist, typographer, publisher and naval officer” – sometimes all at once and never quietly. Whilst Sarah Schieff's biographical article on Glover from Kōtare 2008 introduces Glover as "wit, war hero, boxer, sailor and legendary drinker".

Denis was a prodigy – a fluent reader at the age of six. He moved up the country to New Plymouth, then Auckland – where he spent some years at Auckland Grammar School, before heading south again to Christ’s College and later Canterbury University.

Ref: 34-G299B, Sir George Grey Special Collections

Friday, 7 December 2012

Recordings of the 28th Māori Battalion are now online

Personal Christmas messages made 70 years ago by wounded Māori troops in North Africa, have gone onto the 28th Māori Battalion website. The recordings were made on acetate discs during the 1940s by the National Broadcasting Service, now Radio New Zealand Te Reo Irirangi O Aotearoa.
The National Broadcasting Service had a mobile recording unit which travelled overseas with the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force.  The mobile studios were installed into Bedford truck and travelled around the deserts of North Africa and on through Italy with New Zealand forces.

These precious taonga are cared for by the Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero, which is a repository for archival photos, film and audio of the Battalion.

Ref: AWNS-19391206-40-3, Sir George Grey Special Collections

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Sandy Storyline

Sandy Storyline is a participatory documentary about Hurricane Sandy and efforts to recover and rebuild neighbourhoods.

The team behind the project are also working with lots of artists, media makers and audio story tellers to collect stories in sound, photographs, and written stories. Plus they are setting up workshops geared towards youth empowerment and leadership development through storytelling.

Ref: AWNS-19350313-53-1, Sir George Grey Special Collections

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Filmland Neuseeland screenings

The “Filmland Neuseeland” programme was presented at the Deutsches Filmmuseum in Frankfurt this October, as part of the cultural activities accompanying New Zealand’s Guest of Honour role at the Frankfurt Book Fair (see blog post 27 August 2012).

The programme is a result of research carried out by NZ Film Archive Nga Kaitiaki O Ngā Taonga Whitiāhua staff Lawrence McDonald, Diane Pivac and Frank Stark for the book, 'New Zealand Film: An Illustrated History' (2011).

The Film Archive are sharing this sample of our nation’s film history with New Zealand audiences and there are screening schedules listed at the end of this post.

Ref: 43-PRO, Sir George Grey Special Collections
The selection covers New Zealand film from the early silent period up to the turn of the 20th century. It includes a mix of features, documentaries, short films and illustrates the emergence of a distinctive style of film making and storytelling. 

The “Filmland Neuseeland” screening schedule includes the following:

  • Thursday 6 December, 7pm - 'Runaway' (John O’Shea, 1964), preceded by the short film 'Bowl Me Over' (Lissa Mitchell, 1995).
  • Friday 7 December, 7pm - 'Forgotten Silver' (Costa Botes & Peter Jackson, 1995), preceded by a selection of short films made by early pioneer film makers
  • Saturday 8 December, 7pm - 'War Stories Our Mothers Never Told Us' (Gaylene Preston, 1995), preceded by 'Dead Letters' (Paolo Rotondo, 2006)
  • Wednesday 12 December, 7pm - 'Ngāti' (Barry Barclay, 1987), preceded by the short film 'O Tamaiti' (Sima Urale, 1996)
  • Thursday 13 December, 7pm - 'Sleeping Dogs' (Roger Donaldson, 1977)
  • Friday 14 December, 7pm - 'Patu!' (Merata Mita, 1983)
  • Saturday 15 December, 7pm - 'Goodbye Pork Pie' (Geoff Murphy, 1981)

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Database frenzy

Here at Auckland Libraries, several new and shiny online heritage databases have just been released! They include:

  • Armed Constabulary and Militia - which contains information about constables in the Armed Constabulary. It covers the period from 1867-1871, and lists 3,281 names, including members of the Native Constabulary. Find out more.
  • Bush index - is made up of three indexes, which were compiled by researchers working for the author Dr. G.W.A. Bush. Find out more.

Ref: 459-52, Sir George Grey Special Collections
There are a wealth of other online heritage resources, which you can find out more about.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Cryers / Allens Wharf

Heritage Asset of the Week from Auckland Council is a ‘cryers’ for help. It is not my intention to keep highlighting council heritage assets in distress but Cryers or Allens Wharf is a small, historic stone wharf facing an uncertain future.

Dating from c.1890, it was originally known as Allens Wharf and from 1898 as Cryers Wharf after adjoining landowners. Used by the local community to ship farm produce by scow, it is now a regionally rare example of the many small wharves and jetties that served local communities and farm properties until the early 20th century.

Ref: Footprints 01382, South Auckland Research Centre

Friday, 30 November 2012

The Stalingrad Protocols

The Stalingrad Protocols' have been compiled by the German historian, Jochen Hellbeck, who gained access to several thousand interviews with World War II Red Army soldiers, held in archives at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow.

The first hand accounts were originally intended as a record of the Soviet Union's "Great Patriotic War". Due to the graphic nature of the accounts, the Kremlin published only a small portion of them after 1945, preferring to opt for more orthodox Stalinist propaganda. The "protocols" languished in Moscow's archives until 2008, when, acting on a tip, Hellbeck was able to gain access to 10,000 pages.

Ref: AWNS-19431103-15-1, Sir George Grey Special Collections
The accounts suggest the invading German army's murderous and brutal occupation of the Soviet Union was one of the prime motives behind the Red Army's ferocious counter-offensive.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Children's Home & Orphanages in Hawkes Bay

A book about the children who lived in children's institutions in Hawkes Bay has been written by Dr Kay Morris Matthews, an acclaimed academic historian and author. It will be launched on 22 November by John McKinnon, a Hastings resident who grew up in France House, a home in the Esk Valley for teenage boys.

Ref: 4-3681A-57, Parnell orphanage, Sir George Grey Special Collections
Entitled entitled 'Who Cared? Childhoods within Hawke’s Bay Children’s Homes and Orphanages 1892-1988', the books covers the experiences of thousands of youngsters who were orphaned, illegitimate, abandoned or destitute.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Theft of photos from a Far North museum

The police are investigating an alleged theft of historic photographs from the Whangaroa County Museum and Archives Society in Kaeo, in the far North.

Ref: AWNS19220323-40-7, Sir George Grey Special Collections
The museum has a substantial collection of photos, documents and artefacts depicting the people and scenes from Whangaroa history. Exhibition highlights include the 1809 sinking of the Boyd and items from the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior, which was bombed in 1985 and sunk off nearby Matauri Bay. There are also displays on timber milling and missionary work from 1814 onwards.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

2nd Battle of El Alamein

Sixty years ago, the 2nd Battle of El Alamein, the battle that turned the war towards the allies' favour, was fought in North Africa. Recent commemorations saw New Zealand veterans invited to the El Alamein Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in Egypt to remember New Zealand and allied forces; fortunately many of their stories now live on in the written and oral histories.

George Mackay from Westport fought at Tripoli and in The Desert Rd  recounts the thoughts that go through one’s mind leading up to battle. “You don’t know what to expect.. . It’s an uncanny moment, zero hour. Everything’s going through your mind, whether you’ll survive, whether you’re going to get killed, blown up or shot at, or anything like that. What’s going to happen? What’s it going to be like? You don’t know. All those things are going through your mind and then finally its zero hour and the shelling starts. Then you’re waiting for the Germans to retaliate with their shells.  That’s what it’s all about. You don’t know what’s going to happen and then it all does happen” ('The Desert Road' edited by Megan Hutching, p.251).

Monday, 26 November 2012

Virtual village

In May 2012 the work of students from Bruce McLaren Intermediate School brought local life to the walls of the West Auckland Research Centre through the 'It takes a village: photo voice' exhibition (see post on 25 May 2012 if you want to read more about the exhibition).

Today it is back in a new form as a virtual experience of the original physical exhibition. This gives it the potential for reaching a regional, national and even international audience!

Ref: Home page, It takes a village website, West Auckland Research Centre
Village residents and students are pleased that then are now able to send friends and family a link to the exhibition which highlights the work of the students.

Ref: Vision Waitakere Gardens, It takes a village website, West Auckland Research Centre
Each village link includes stunning portraits and narratives reflections of the conversations captured between students and older residents. Read more about the project. 

Ref: Wilsher Village, It takes a village website, West Auckland Research Centre 
There is already a link in place from the Chinese Digital Community website and in the future there are plans to add oral history sound extracts from interviews with the Chinese residents of Wilsher Village.

West Auckland Research Centre is pleased to hold this contemporary documentary collection of photos and narratives.

 Author: Sue Berman, West Auckland Research Centre

Friday, 23 November 2012

WW1 from the vaults of British Pathé

British Pathé  has exceedingly rich and comprehensive WW1 archives. The online collection showcases just a small selection of material available.

Ref: 31-G515, Sir George Grey Special Collections
Subjects of the archival war footage include: wartime propaganda, trench warfare, zeppelins, battleships, U-boats, protests against conscription and horrifying footage of shell shock victims.

Ref: 35-R265, Sir George Grey Special Collections
The British Pathé website also has a section entitled WW1: 10 telling images depicting hard hitting imagery from 'the war to end all wars'.

Ref: JTD-04K-03812, West Auckland Research Centre
The British Pathé blog is also well worth a read. With the build up to the start of the centenary commemorations in mind, many posts are focused on WW1, the institution's WW1 archives and footage from other wars.

Ref: 4-1515C, Sir George Grey Special Collections


Thursday, 22 November 2012

The Perils of Constipation – Part 2

'The Golden Age of Purgation' display at the Central Auckland Research Centre has produced many comments from our customers, who remember how the fear of constipation ruled their childhoods. As New Zealand author Ruth Park has said of her depression-era upbringing: “children suffered most.”

An article in the Otago Witness (Ref: Otago Witness, 21/10/1908) professed that constipation aggravated psychopathic states. “This is true in epilepsy, hysteria, alcoholism, melancholia, and even in organic mental diseases it is the rule.”

Ref: 1-W1774A, Sir George Grey Special Collections

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

National Library Beta website

On 14 November 2012, the National Library Beta website took over as the online home of the National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga O Aotearoa.

The National Library have been trialling and steadily improving the website, which includes a prototype search service and the home for collections and services.

The final step has been shifting all the information about the library and its services from this site to the new platform. In the process library staff have re-thought how they present that material, and streamlined it to get customers to what they need more quickly.

Ref: AWNS19200715-31-4, Sir George Grey Special Collections
The new site is the biggest change in the library's online presence since the library first ventured online in the 1990s, and the creation of the cross-collection search site FIND. Customers  can now search more of the collections, more comprehensively, and do more with what they find. Developments don't stop there and the  library is continuing to improve the website's technology,  online services, and functionality.

This refresh coincides with the official reopening of the National Library's Wellington building on 27 November. The ground floor, Te Ahumairangi, named by mana whenua after the hill the building sits on, will be home to a number of new ways to use the library.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Bookbinding exhibition

Wooden boards, raised bands, end-leaves, vellum, blind-stamped, and fillets are all part of the exotic language of the bookbinder. An exhibition entitled 'From Pigskin to Paper: The Art and Craft of Bookbinding' will begin at Special Collections, de Beer Gallery, University of Otago Library on 20 December 2012 and run until 22 March 2013.

The exhibition aims to decode the jargon used by bookbinders, and showcase the creative 'art and craft' skills evident in all aspects of the binding process, from forwarding (construction) to finishing (decoration). To highlight the processes, a wide cross-section of binding styles are show in the exhibition, from the 1481 Rood and Hunt binding and 16th century European samples, to publisher's case-bindings. Books bound by local Dunedin binders also feature.

Ref: 4-7386, Sir George Grey Special Collections

Monday, 19 November 2012

Waikumete Cemetery

It’s dead good Waikumete Cemetery in Glen Eden is one of the most significant heritage places managed by Auckland Council. At 108 ha, it is New Zealand’s largest cemetery, the second largest in the southern hemisphere, and the resting place of over 60,000 people, some of whom played an important role in our history. The cemetery is just one of the many heritage assets owned or managed by Auckland Council on behalf of the community.

Ref: JTD-12AA-02366-3, West Auckland Research Centre
The cemetery opened in 1886 as a replacement for the overcrowded Symonds Street Cemetery. It was laid out by denomination and contains many historic graves and memorials of heritage significance. It includes a children’s section, soldiers’ cemetery, large lawn cemetery, Māori urupa, mass grave of over 1000 flu victims from 1918, and a memorial to the 1979 Mt. Erebus Air Disaster. The cemetery also contains a notable group of mausoleums and the historic Faith-in-the-Oaks Chapel (1886), Sexton’s House (1886) and crematorium.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Robin Hood

Plans are underway for a new £13 million Robin Hood-themed visitor attraction located in Sherwood Forest, near Nottingham.

Robin Hood, the cheeky, romanticised figure in folklore, with his band of merry men, 'robing the rich to feed the poor' is known all around the world and is the subject of many movies, TV shows, plays, books and ballads.

Sherwood Forest is the spiritual home of the 12th century English outlaw and locating the visitor's centre here, would put this legendary location back on the map and cement these past associations. The investment would also help towards future protection and management of this historic forest.

Ref: Robin Hood Memorial in Nottingham, Wikimedia Commons

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Dunedin Flatnames Project

Over time, a unique student community has developed in Dunedin.Students from this area are well known for their wild and crazy antics but what is less well known, is their unique practice of naming their places of abode.

Ref: AWNS-19260722-43-1, Sir George Grey Special Collections
Students have been naming their houses and flats since the 1930s and it has become an important and traditional part of the Scarfie culture in this area, which continues to the present day. The names reference popular culture and range from being puerile to profane and from humorous to more cerebral, with the use of literary references.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Molasses, Alas, The Sideways Platypus

Recently a customer was searching through old letterbooks in the Chelsea Archives at Birkenhead Library. Tissue thin pages, eye-watering  italic script, crumbling pages, circa 1889 – that sort of thing.

He was hoping to find reference to his grandfather. Instead he found curious little notes. Which would be fine, except they seem to be nonsense:

Ref: 'Platypus', Chelsea Archives, Birkenhead Library

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Diwali and Delhi

Spice up your life and celebrate Diwali, Festival of Lights! Auckland's Diwali Festival was celebrated on 13-14 October in Aotea Square, whilst Auckland Libraries is celebrating the festival from 1-15 November with something for everyone. This year, the official date for celebration is today, 13 November 2012.

Ref: AWNS-19100915-15-1, Sir George Grey Special Collections
With this important annual festival in mind, this post is dedicated to Delhi, the capital city and political hub of this large country. Delhi draws huge numbers of tourists each year, who come to visit its many attractions such as the Red fort, Jantar-mantar and Qutub minar.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Humourous archival footage from the vaults of British Pathé

From the vaults of British Pathé come comical audio visual treats, some of which are intentionally funny and others which are amusing through our contemporary eyes. Here is a selection of humorous archival footage, enjoy!

If you can think of it, British Pathé may very well have footage of it .... For example, there is a glut of lion related archival footage, from the1934 footage of a lion perching on the side of car whilst being driven around a 'wall of death' motordrome to the strange footage from 1933 of lions eating a car!

Ref: 35-R167, Sir George Grey Special Collections

Friday, 9 November 2012

Who Shot Rock & Roll exhibition

Fresh from a tour around the United States, the exhibition 'Who Shot Rock & Roll' opens at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki tomorrow, 10 November 2012 and runs until 3 March 2013.

The exhibition organised by the Brooklyn Museum and curated by photographic historian and author Gail Buckland, is a photographic history covering 1955 to the present. It is ground breaking from the perspective that it is the first museum exhibition to acknowledge photographers for their collaborative and creative role in the history of popular music.

Ref: 580-10702, Sir George Grey Special Collections

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Kete New Plymouth hits a milestone

During October the 10,000th item was added to Kete New Plymouth, the Aotearoa People's Network Kaharoa (APNK) hosted online repository.

Ref: 35-R885, Sir George Grey Special Collections
The site uses the Kete software - an open source, web based program. Find out more about Kete.

Since its beginnings, Kete New Plymouth has grown into a healthy and popular digital archive. The site is an online taonga for the people of today as well as those in the future. It is focused on Taranaki and its people and includes contemporary and historical stories, images, videos and audio.

Ref: 35-R864, Sir George Grey Special Collections

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Lilburn Research Fellowship

The Lilburn Trust, in association with the Alexander Turnbull Library, is open to receive applications for the inaugural Lilburn Research Fellowship, which was established this year.

Ref: JTD-13K-05602, West Auckland Research Centre
The aim of the fellowship, is to encourage scholarly research leading to publication on some aspect of New Zealand and music, using the resources of the Archive of New Zealand Music (part of the ATL Manuscripts Collection) and the wider published and unpublished collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Highland Games

The Hororata Highland Games are back again this year and will take place on the 10 November in the small Canterbury town.

Ref: 31-55853, Sir George Grey Special Collections
The games will be traditional with a unique Kiwi twist. Highlights will include: highland dancing, solo piping and drumming, pipe bands, heavy (strongmen/women) events including caber tossing, hammer throw, sheep shearing demonstrations, scurry racing, a dedicated children’s glen, and the very popular tug-o-war. The Taste of Scotland section is a new edition to the games and will include traditional Scottish fare, cooking demonstrations, whisky tasting and much more.

The games were set up by the Hororata Community Trust to help support community activities and rebuild the town after the September 2010 Christchurch earthquake. Find out more.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Tramping huts book

'Shelter from the Storm: the story of New Zealand’s backcountry huts' - the latest book from Shaun Barnett, Rob Brown and Geoff Spearpoint covers nearly 200 years of unique New Zealand architectural history. The book documents the history of the network of over 1,000 working and recreational huts that are located deep within New Zealand’s mountains and forests, and profiles 90 of the most emblematic.

Ref: JTD-04A-03426, West Auckland Research Centre

Thursday, 1 November 2012

The Golden Age of Purgation

Constipation was an obsession in the early 20th century. It was thought to pollute the blood and in turn cause everything from bad breath to liver failure, madness or syphilis.

In books such as “The Conquest of Constipation” doctors warned that the contents of the colon created “sewer-like blood” leading to 90 percent of disease.

Ref: AWNS-19220615-35-5, Sir George Grey Special Collections
“How can I emphasise enough the importance of bowels in those days?” wrote New Zealand author Ruth Park. As a child in Te Kuiti she was forced to drink castor oil every day. “It was given to me in orange juice on the top of which it floated in a viscid greenish layer. I wanted to throw up before I drank it.”

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Sir Ernest Rutherford

It was sixty-six years ago this month that Nobel prize winner Ernest (Ern) Rutherford (1871-1937), the "father of nucelar physics" passed away. He was interred in Westminster Abbey, surrounded by the ashes of scientists such as Sir Isaac Newton. Rutherford was 66 when he died.  Following his death an obituary in the New York Times said, "It is given to but few men to achieve immortality, still less to achieve Olympian rank, during their own lifetime. Lord Rutherford achieved both.”

Despite his intellectual achievements, Rutherford, or Ern as he was called, was said to be a humble man. Physically, he was large, and quite the talker. He had a tendency to spill his tea on his waistcoat, to which wife, Mary, would proclaim, “Ern, you’re dribbling.” Mary had marched with the suffragettes in London and not surprisingly, Ern was a huge supporter of women studying the sciences.  His very first research assistant, Harriet Brookes, assisted him in the discovery of radon while at McGill University in Montreal. British biochemist Marjorie Stephenson recalled meeting him when she was a young girl, where he asked her to promise she would become a scientist. She did, and became one of the first two women to be a fellow of the Royal Society. In 1920, he wrote a letter to The Times to ask his fellow academics to give women at Cambridge the same rights as men.

Ref: AWNS-19140910-48-5, Sir George Grey Special Collections

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

New UNESCO Memory of the World NZ listing

As discussed in an earlier post (20 June 2012), the UNESCO Memory of the World project was launched ten years ago. It aims to recognise & create awareness, provide access and ultimately help contribute towards the preservation of culturally significant documentary heritage from around the world. Cultural institutions are encouraged to nominate material for the internationally recognised register.

Two new registrations have been added to the UESCO Memory of the World New Zealand register for documentary heritage. This includes the Māori Land Court Minute Books and 'Patu!', a documentary recording the 1981 Springbok Tour of New Zealand. Both items tell the stories of two important periods of New Zealand history and are important sources of research for Treaty of Waitangi claimants, Māori, historians and a wide range of other users.

Ref: AWNS-19140416-47-1, Māori Land Court sitting at Lake Taupo, Sir George Grey Special Collections

Monday, 29 October 2012

Digitised mug shot goes viral

A digitised mug shot of a petty criminal with more than a passing resemblance to David Beckham has gone viral and become an internet sensation.

The of photograph of Daniel Joseph Tohill (incorrectly identified as Lohill) was included in the New Zealand Police Museum: Suspicious Looking online exhibition (covering the period1886 to 1908) and has received half a million admiring hits since it was posted a month ago. Comments include "They said he was a model inmate", "Looks like he was ... one smooth criminal", and "if looking handsome is a crime ... then guilty".

Ref: Daniel Joseph Tohill, NZ Police Museum, Suspicious Looking
Tohill was born in Ravensbourne, Dunedin, in 1881. According to newspaper clippings, he was charged with stealing two ferrets in Christchurch on 16 June 1906, and also for a theft from a Nelson railway station shed in September 1907.

On 2 March 1908, the labourer and railway porter was charged - and the now infamous mug shot was taken - for allegedly stealing a bicycle and a fur necklet in Napier. He was later acquitted on the charge of stealing a bicycle, but sentenced to four months at Napier Prison on the charge of stealing the necklet.

Tohill's criminal record ended there, and he later moved with his wife and young children to Auckland, where he died in 1950, aged 68.

Tohill's Dunedin-based grand-nephew, Dylan Tohill (43), knew little about the family other than that they poor and was pleased to find out that his relative had achieved online success so long after his death.

Check out the New Zealand Police Museum: Suspicious Looking online exhibition for more information about the invention of mug shot photography, the introduction of mug shots to New Zealand and much more.

Friday, 26 October 2012

World Day for Audio Visual Heritage

The 27 October was declared by UNESCO as the World Day for Audio Visual (AV) Heritage. The intention behind this was to raise awareness about the significance of AV documents and the need to safeguard them for current and future generations. With the technological changes that have occurred during the 20th and 21st centuries, AV documents, such as films, radio and television programmes, audio and video recordings, contain the primary records of these periods and will do for the foreseeable future.

Ref: 1043-9712, Sir George Grey Special Collections
The theme for 2012 is "Audiovisual heritage memory? the clock is ticking".With this in mind, Archives & Records Association of New Zealand (ARANZ) have organised a special screening of the long-lost film 'Upstream' by the Irish-American film maker John Ford (1894-1973). The screening of this silent movie was held on the 25 October at the New Zealand Film Archive and was accompanied by pianist Nick Giles-Palmer.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Waitangi Treaty Grounds museum planned

The Waitangi National Trust is endeavouring to raise $10 million to build a new museum at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds in the Bay of Islands. It also wants to increase its digital presence and to help more schoolchildren visit the treaty grounds.

The Waitangi Treaty Grounds does not receive any government funding and is reliant on rent from land that it owns and ticket sales to overseas visitors. However, the trust is already planning to build the new museum, with a completion date of 2015, so that the opening can coincide with the the 175th anniversary of the signing.

Ref: 7-A4331, Sir George Grey Special Collections
The museum will showcase taonga connected with Treaty signatories. The long-term dream is to house - even on loan - the original Treaty, which is held in the collections of Archives New Zealand in Wellington. Find out more.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Political book found in Charleston Library Society vaults

Earlier this year, a relatively rare 270 year old book was been found in the vaults of an American library society in Southern Carolina, USA.

The 1743 book about political parties is entitled 'Dissertation Upon Parties' and was written by Henry St. John Lord Bolingbroke. The book is was one of 800 volumes, that the diplomat John Mackenzie donated to the College of Charleston in the 1700s and has his name embossed on it.

Around 15 copies of the original Bolingbroke book are thought to have survived in mainly academic libraries around the world.

Mackenzie's library was temporarily housed at the Charleston Library Society until a library was built at the college. In 1778, a fire destroyed much of the society's collection and only 77 titles from the Mackenzie collection were thought to have survived.

Ref: Charleston Library Society building from 1792-1835, Wikimedia Commons
The book was found during a long term project to catalogue the Charleston Library Society holdings. It has been returned after all this time to the college. Find out more about this story.

Auckland Libraries holds a number of political works by Bolingbroke in its heritage collections. Find out more about these holdings.