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Showing posts from July, 2012

Ngā Kākano o Matariki: Seeds of Matariki

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Ngā Kākano o Matariki / Seeds of Matariki, an exhibition of selected works by students of Ngā Kākano Reo e Rua Kura is currently on display at the West Auckland Research Centre, J T Diamond Reading Room, Level 2, Waitakere Central Library, Henderson  from 16 July to 27 July.

Seeds were planted in the minds of local rangatahi (youth) this Matariki, during two wānanga held at the West Auckland Research Centre, celebrating Māori New Year. Students from Ngā Kākano Christian Kura Reo E Rua attended two environmental presentations at Waitakere Central Library, then produced art work based on what they had learned.
Their prints celebrating our relationship with Papatūānuku, our earth mother, have blossomed into a celebrated body of work in the sanctuary of the J T Diamond exhibition space. Ngā Kākano o Matariki / Seeds of Matariki exhibition is on display for the following weeks as Matariki Celebrations conclude and te wiki o te reo Māori, Māori language week begins.

Chelsea Sugar Refinery and James K. Baxter, Cleaner

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When James K. Baxter was dismissed from his job at the Chelsea Sugar Refinery, it's well known that he wrote a rather 'unrefined' poem to express his disgruntlement:

"I had the job of hosing down
The hoick and sludge and grit
For the sweet grains of sugar dust
That had been lost in it.

For all the sugar in the land
Goes through that dismal dump
And all the drains run through the works
Into a filthy sump".

Despite this unsugared description, a copy of 'The Ballad of the Stonegut Sugarworks' is lodged in the Chelsea Sugar Archives (at Birkenhead Library), sandwiched between a 1962 plan of the 'Disposition of Buildings' and a 1976 letter from the Refinery Manger to the Managing Director about managing absenteeism. A positioning which is at once random, and oddly relevant - though I couldn’t locate that impressive sounding ‘sump’ on the plan (see below).

As to the letter, it reads as follows:

"However, we do not consider that payment for sick leave n…

The Nathan family

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Leading Auckland retailer and benefactor Dennis Nathan passed away on July 8th, 2012. Find out more about this man, who along with his three brothers took over the family business LD Nathan in the 1930s and set up some of New Zealand's largest retail stores.

The brothers' grandfather, David Nathan started the company in 1840, exporting flax and kauri gum. It was sold in 1988 and merged with Lion Breweries.

On a heritage note, the Nathan family have a connection to the Sir George Grey Special Collections, through the records of LD Nathan, which Lawrence Nathan gave to the library in 1974. Lawrence Nathan was Dennis' brother and author of 'As old as Auckland', copies of which are available at Auckland Libraries.
Records relating to the Nathan family can be viewed online through Manuscripts Online or in the reading room at the Central City Library. They include the following: GLNZ A16c (letter to Sir George Grey); NZMS1140 (diary); NZMS 1481 (bills of sale), NZMS 690…

Essie Summers still sizzles

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One of the delightful aspects of the research centres is the absolute diversity of material we have here. Some might question just why we collect the material we do but there are times when one feels particularly pleased with the powers-that-be who have, over the years, built up the collections.

In this case, I am talking about the work of the renowned Kiwi romance writer, Essie Summers.  She was a Mills and Boon phenomenon, a pastor’s wife who began writing for the publisher in the 1950s, and became one of their best selling and most loved authors. She died in 1998, but her popularity is such that at times M&B still reprint her novels as part of their Bestseller programme.

A few months back, a customer came in to the Central Auckland Research Centre looking for the fiction. She was a huge Essie fan and, as all fan-girls do, she was going through a re-reading stage. However, she was missing a few titles in her collection, there were no borrowable copies in the system (these h…