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