Showing posts from April, 2013

New Lynn gets a makeover but remembers its past

New Lynn is under development. Stage two was completed when the Merchant Quarter in the historic heart of New Lynn was officially opened this year, signalling the completion of the second phase of growth.

The iconic new buildings reflect New Lynn’s geography and heritage. Inspiration from the west coast bush can be seen in the medical centre’s triangular precast concrete panels and the panel edge colours match Crown Lynn tea saucers. The cladding of the car park takes it cue from west coast beaches and the air vents reference those of the 1969 Holden Monaro.

Links to New Lynn’s history as the cradle of ceramics and pottery in New Zealand are signalled by public art made from bricks and the Ambrico Place brick kiln feature. Future public investment will include the development of Crown Lynn Park on the old clay pits site previously used by the iconic ceramics producer.

2013 Trans-Tasman Anzac Day blog challenge honour roll

Anzac Day for me, means Anzac Day services and family time. A time of commemoration of the fallen, and for those who may not have fallen but whose lives were altered completely by war. Its a time of paying respects and thanksgiving.

Every year there seems to be more people turn out for the services.

We went to the Civic Service at East Coast Bays. There was a huge turnout, especially of children from schools and youth/community groups - highlight was the speeches by two prefers from Long Bay College.

Standing in this beautiful location, under the pines, looking out towards the Cenotaph and beyond it the beach and the sea, the peace of the location added to the poignancy and atmosphere of the service. The Coastguard boat and crew even attended, moored just off the beach and still within earshot.

After the service, our family lunched with friends at our local RSA.

We always have a great response each year from the blogging community for our Blog Challenge.

This year has been no excepti…

Caxton Press exhibition

Caxton Press is one of New Zealand's most influential presses. Its origins are with the Caxton Club Press which was run by Canterbury College students. The Caxton Club started eighty years ago in the basement of the University Clock Tower on the campus of Canterbury College, Christchurch.

During the first half of the 20th century, the press was well known for championing New Zealand's new literary talents. For example, the press was the first to print  the works of Janet Frame, Allen Curnow, Charles Brasch and Ursula Bethell in book form. It's adherence to the design and typographic principles of Eric Gill and Stanley Morison is also a distinguishing feature of the press.

The Caxton Press created what became 'Landfall', a very important New Zealand literary journal. Under the direction of Leo Bensemann, the press also produced finely-printed editions of works by Milton, Coleridge, Wilde and others.

An exhibition on the Caxton Press opened on the 5 April and runs un…

Anzac Day

First marked in 1916, Anzac Day commemorates all the New Zealanders killed in war and it also honours returned servicemen and women. The commemoration date, 25th April, remembers the date that the New Zealand and Australian soldiers or the Anzacs landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915.

A new documentary, which screens on TV this Sunday, tells the story of one of the country's most distinguished, yet little known Anzac heroes. 'The Forgotten General' pays tribute to Major General Sir Andrew Hamilton Russell, one of the top-ranked divisional commanders of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles at Gallipoli. He was also overall commander of the 20,000-strong New Zealand division on the Western Front.

To commemorate and reflect upon this important day, here are a selection of Auckland Libraries' heritage images relating to Anzac Day, which are drawn from around the region and across the decades.



Bump into your Icelandic relatives and ancestors using this new app

Iceland has a small population of around 320,000, most of which are descended from the 9th century Viking settlers. The size of the population and availability of records has enabled the genealogy of the country to be captured in a most extraordinarily detailed way

Iceland has a long history of record keeping and it is this that helped in the creation of a database, which was compiled using  variety of resources such as church records, census data, family archives. All of this geneaology information has been captured on 'Islendingabok', or 'Book of Icelanders'. This is an online database, which was set up in 1997. It holds a large proportion of the whole country's  genealogical information going back 1,200 years and includes information on a staggering 95% of the population from the last 300 years.

Building on this achievement, software engineering students from the University of Iceland  have created an Android app as part of a competition for new and creative …

Mercury Theatre

Mercury Theatre on the corner of Karangahape Road and Mercury Lane is the Auckland region’s oldest theatre building. Originally named the Kings Theatre, the theatre was built in 1910 for the notable Australasian entertainment company, John Fuller & Sons. The Fullers were a well known vaudeville family who had arrived in NZ in 1895 and toured the main centres.

John Fuller realised the potential of silent movies and the need for a purpose built theatre for both live theatre and music. He obtained the land for the theatre and architect Edward Bartley was given the brief to erect the the theatre. Built in the Edwardian Baroque style, this brick building of three storeys has a  rare and regionally notable interior, which is a prime example of  original Edwardian Theatre. The building previously had three entrances including the former entrance through the Norman Ng Building on Karangahape Road, which has been more recently occupied by a series of food outlets and cafes.

International Day for Monuments and Site

Huia Lodge embodies International Day for Monuments and Sites, which was celebrated on 18 April. Auckland Council joins in this worldwide celebration every year by raising public awareness of the diversity of cultural heritage places in the Auckland region. This year’s theme is the ‘Heritage of Education’.

Not to be confused with Huia Lodge in Cornwall Park, this Huia Lodge is located at Huia in the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park. It started life as a rural school in 1893 until it closed in 1961. It then became a church camp, before being run as a school camp by the Auckland Regional Council from 1990 onwards. Huia Lodge is a scheduled heritage building (see p.49) in the legacy Waitakere City District Plan. It is publicly bookable facility with the schoolhouse used as the kitchen/dining/living space, and a separate block nearby for sleeping. It is great to see this historic building continue an educational role, with interpretation highlighting its former school days added last year …

Margaret Thatcher papers

Prior to Baroness Margaret Thatcher's (1925-2013) passing this month, her personal papers from 1982 were released in March of this year. The papers are available online through the Margaret Thatcher Foundation website and physically at the Churchill Archives Centre, Church College at Cambridge University, England.

1982 was a year shaped by the Falklands War, a terrible conflict which also had a long lasting effect on Margaret Thatcher's political career . Key documents include: confirmation from the British Antarctic Survey that the Falkland Islands had been invaded and a draft of a letter to President Reagan written at a key point in the diplomatic talks which were aimed at trying to end the conflict.

Recent donation to the Alexander Turnbull Library

A personal notebook-diary written by Richard Sewell, has been donated to the Alexander Turnbull Library by Sewell's partner Grant Allen, who inherited the diary.

Richard Sewell was a diplomat at the New Zealand Embassy in Tehran in 1979. The diary documents how he and Ambassador Chris Beeby tried to help the six American hostages who had managed to escape after Iranian militants had breached the US Embassy. The role played by the New Zealanders was not well known outside of diplomatic circles.

It is only recently that Sewell's partner reliased the importance of the diary, which contradicts the events in the 2012 Oscar-winning Hollywood movie 'Argo'. In the movie, the New Zealand diplomats refuse to help the hostages escape Iran, which the diary reveals does not reflect what actually happened.

Oral History symposium

The National Oral History Association of NZ (NOHANZ) - Te Kete Kōrero-ā-Waha o te Motu and Auckland Libraries’ West Auckland Research Centre, warmly invites those working with oral history and digital storytelling to attend this year’s inaugural symposium.

This is a training and networking event for both beginners and experienced practitioners. It will be held on Friday 10th - Saturday 11th May in the Civic Chambers buildings, 6 Henderson Valley Road, West Auckland.

The symposium will begin each day with a plenary panel discussion. The remainder of each day is dedicated to training and networking. Places in the training streams are limited so make sure you register soon.

50 years of pharmacy education

2013 marks 50 years of  tuition by the School of Pharmacy at the University of Otago. The university was also the first to offer a four-year pharmacy degree in Australasia. The origins of the school started in 1960, when it was the Department of Pharmacy. By 1962 it changed to the joint Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacy.

Weather in New Zealand

In 1861, the New Zealand Meteorological Service was founded and is today the country’s oldest continuous scientific institution. In 1879, the service was amalgamated with the Marine Department's storm warning service for shipping. Today, after over 150 years in existence, MetService has launched the iwonderweather project, which gives New Zealanders access to a history of the service and weather in New Zealand.

The iwonderweather project and website is an ongoing collaboration between MetService and New Zealand's public, communities, historical societies and news media.

There is content on the site from Erick Brenstrum, MetService's severe weather forecaster, historian and  author. Anyone can contribute their own ideas, stories, images, video and audio to help tell the story of New Zealand weather and its effect on the history of New Zealand. To add content, simply click on the green Contribute button, which is present throughout the site or click on the Contribute tab.

George Lowe

On 22 March, New Zealander George Lowe passed away at the age of 89. George Lowe was the last surviving climber from the team that made the first successful ascent of Mount Everest.

As a child, Lowe broke his arm and it did not heal well. Despite being told by doctors that he would always be a cripple, Lowe went on to become an highly accomplished mountaineer.  Lowe accompanied Sir Edmund Hillary on a several expeditions including on Eric Shipton’s British Everest Reconnaissance Expedition and John Hunt’s 1953 British Everest Expedition. Upon summitting Mount Everest with Nepalese sherpa Tenzing Norgay, Hillary told Lowe that they had "knocked the bastard off".

Exhibiting the written word

What are the challenges in exhibiting something that is meant to be read rather than displayed in a glass case? How can items be displayed which are text rich or written in another language that few can read? How can texts be exhibited in ways that engage different viewers and communities? How can exhibits provide interpretation and context and guide and empower the viewer and generate collaboration? How should these exhibitions be curated? What affects do the different type of written documents have on the way they are displayed? What considerations need to be given to the library exhibition space? What affect does policy have on exhibitions? How can these type of exhibitions be evaluated so that methods can be improved upon?

All these questions and more are asked in 'Exhibiting The Written Word' which has been written bay the National Library of Scotland and the University of Edinburgh Scotland. The report does not cover the many preservation considerations involved in e…

PSA Centenary celebrations

2013 marks PSA's centenary. A programme of events throughout the year has been organised across the country. The PSA centenary celebrations will be officially launched in Auckland on 17 April.

To mark this anniversary, the PSA has commissioned an oral history of the union from 1984 to 2012. This publication is due to be published during April and includes a large number of illustrations and content drawn from interviews with PSA members and staff. The main focus of this content is on the events of the late 1980s/1990s and changes to the union during this time.

Whatipu Post Office

Did you know that there was once a small wooden Post Office located at Paratutai Wharf at the base of Paratutai Island in the Waitakeres? The building was subsequently relocated to Whatipu, a short distance away. The building is a simple shed with weatherboard walls and corrugated iron gabled roof. It was built between 1870-1909.

The building is now part of the Whatipu Lodge complex, located amongst the dramatic scenery of this area. It has provided accommodation for sightseers for nearly a century. The complex includes the Former Post Office, the Gibbons Homestead (built circa 1867), the four Cabin Blocks (built in 1910) and the Former Dairy (construction date unknown). So if you go and stay at these heritage building during your holidays, have a look around you and you will be rewarded with glimpses of the past.

Probate files now available

Over one million  probate records from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch have been digitised and indexed in a joint project between Archives New Zealand Te Rua Maharao Te Kāwanatanga and FamilySearch. FamilySearch volunteers from around the world have helped out with the digitisation of these probate files.

FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organisation in the world, so this collaboration represents something very significant. New Zealanders can also search using the NZ version of FamilySearch.

Whilst seemingly of not much interest, probate files actually contain invaluable information for researchers and historians and are particularly useful for genealogists. Anyone who owned property and was of sound mind the right to leave a will. which is then used in the first part of the probate process. In additions to wills, probate files contain a wide range of different documents such as property records, death certificates and affidavits.

Archives NZ has informatio…

Recording the history of the Fine Arts Library

Variously known as the Auckland Free School of Art, the Free School of Art and the Campbell Free School of Art, an art school was founded in November 1878 by Sir John Logan Campbell (1817-1912), who believed that Auckland was in need of such a school.

The school was originally housed in one of the Auckland Museum’s earlier locations on Princes Street (this building no longer exists ), close to the Emily Place Reserve. Classes were held in the Lecture Hall & the Main Hall. The school closed at the end of 1889 with the establishment of the Elam School of Art and Design.

Elam was established in 1889  following the bequest of Dr John Edward Elam. Dr Elam was a patron of the arts and he gifted a large sum of money towards the establishment of a free art school for Auckland. The school was located in Symonds Street, Central Auckland in the old Grammar School buildings. Also housed in the building were the Workers’ Educational Association and the Goodwin Marionette Theatre.

The next cha…