Showing posts from September, 2013

Auckland's waterways

One of the themes for the heritage festival is Auckland’s waterways, including the land and sea. The events focused on this theme celebrate water and its many guises in the Auckland region, including as a source of travel, trade, economy, recreation and more.

Auckland's geography and its waterways have intimately influenced the history of the region. The Auckland isthmus was a rich and desirable location for Māori for many reasons including the rich volcanic soils for gardening and the coastal resources.

Auckland Heritage Festival 2013

Yes, it's that time of year again when we celebrate Auckland's distinctive heritage! This year the festival runs from 28 September to 13 October and has around 240 events and activities organised by over 180 groups and organisations , many of which are free and will keep all ages amused. Contributors include Auckland Libraries, museums, historical societies, art galleries, historic homesteads and lighthouses, and events include trails, tours, workshops and talks.

The key themes around which events have been created are::
Auckland’s waterways, including the land and seaCelebrating our heritage,  including Auckland’s distinctive built, cultural and natural heritageLearning and encouragement, such as workshops and lectures.  The public open weekend on the 28 to 29 September marks the start of the festival. This year it will be held in the historic and recently renovated Shed 10 on Queens Wharf, from 10-4pm. Auckland Libraries will be at the shed on both days - drop by, we'd l…

Warkworth Town Hall

Warkworth township was established in 1853 by John Anderson Brown, a businessman from Warkworth in Northumberland, England. The area reminded Brown so much of his hometown, that he gave it the same name. Brown purchased 153 acres and drew up a plan for subdivision of the area, which included land for the Anglican Church and its cemetery.

Farming along with fruit farming was important to the area, but key to the success of the town was kauri timber. Another major industry was the lime and cement works, which were established in 1865 and were successful up until the relocation of the business to Whangarei in 1928. Cement made in Warkworth was used in the construction of Auckland’s Grafton Bridge in 1910, which was the largest concrete bridge in the world at the time.

The Womens Suffragette movement in NZ and Britain

The 19th September marks Suffrage Day in NZ. This year's anniversary is extra special, since it marks 120 years since Kiwi women won the right to vote in national parliamentary elections in 1893. The Governor, Lord Glasgow, signed the landmark legislation, which made the new Electoral Act into law. In doing so, NZ became the first self governing country in the world to give women this right.

Also of importance during 1893, was the election of the first female mayor in the British Empire. Elizabeth Yates became the Mayor of Onehunga Borough Council in 1893 and served until 1894. She also was a councilor from 1899 - 1901. Despite the sexism Elizabeth endured her time as mayor, she made a huge impact - reduced the debt of the council, kept the streets and footpaths maintained and made an impression on Parliament when lobbying for the Onehunga Cemetery Bill.

Roald Dahl Day

The 13 September was Roald Dahl Day. Each year, the focus of this day is on celebrating the life and work of Roald Dahl, one of the world's most popular and beloved writers for children.

Dahl's picture books, novels, short stories, poetry and memoirs are all classics and popular not only with children but adults too. His timeless works such as 'James and the Giant Peach' (1961), 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' (1964), 'Revolting Rhymes' (1982), 'Tales of the unexpected' (1980) and 'The Witches' (1983) are of enduring interest and relevance to all readers.

Roald Dahl Day is a great opportunity to discover re-read a favourite or discover something you haven't read before. The Central Auckland Research Centre has a collection of Dahl's fictional stories, which can be viewed at Central City Library. At Auckland Libraries locations around the region, there are also a wide selections of Dahl books in a variety of different formats,…

Troopship magazines

During WW1 (and indeed WW2), soldiers aboard troopships en route to war sometimes published magazines. Theses troopship magazines ranged from hand-written to professional looking publications. They were highly valued and were intended to be informative, entertaining and to help the morale of soldiers. A number were also written on the return voyages back to NZ.

Auckland War Memorial Museum Library has recently completed the digitisation of its troopship magazines. These are are listed on the library's online catalogue and are also available as pdfs (simply click on the publication, then click on the link in the Notes field). Examples of the museum's holdings of troopship magazines include:
'Father Neptune's day on the New Zealand Transport 75, "S.S. Waitemata" and other items of interest / N.Z.E.F. 21st Reinforcements', 1917 (D526.2 FAT)'Digger : being the un-official record of the early days of the 41st Rft at sea', 1918, D526.2 DIG'Corinthic …

Remembering the Papatoetoe Orphan Home

Fifty years ago on 5 August 1963 the Health Department's Division of Mental Health began using the former Papatoetoe Orphan Home as a hospital for children with special learning and living needs. The home, also previously and variously known as St John’s Orphanage, St Mary’s Home and the Church of England Orphan Home was now renamed St John’s Home. St John’s Home eventually became a satellite home of the Mangere Hospital (in Robertson Road) for young people with intellectual challanges.

Papatoetoe Orphan Home had been laid out according to a 1907 plan by the architect George Selwyn Goldsbro’.

However because of budgetary constraints it would be built in stages.  Only three of the four dormitory blocks were built initially. (The fourth dormitory block was never built). The blocks were linked by corridors.  There was a dining hall and laundry building behind the dormitories and outlying school and infirmary. Papatoetoe Orphan Home was opened on 1 April 1909 accommodating 64 children…

Comic Book Month

To celebrate Comic Book Month this September at Auckland Libraries, Sir George Grey Special Collections is displaying a range of classic mid-to-late 20th century comics in the Reading Room cabinet (on display until the end of the month).

Graphic literature (to use the technical flash term) has a long history, part of which includes the serialised superhero, action, science fiction and war comics of the last century. These were most often printed cheaply on newsprint and were considered ephemeral and throw away like the 'daily rag' newspaper. Nowadays comics from the 'Golden Age of American comics' - considered to be the 1930s to 1950s, are sought after by comics collectors, and fetch high prices.

Another graphic literary tradition is the political comic, many examples of which can be found in the Sir George Special Collections. In 2012, 'Joking Aside', an exhibition of satirical comic strips and cartoons on political or social themes was exhibited at Special C…

Tongan Language Week

Malo e lelei. Tongan Language Week is being celebrated from 1-8 September. The theme this year is Fakakoloa 'o Aotearoa 'aki 'etau Lea mo e Hiva Faka-tonga / Enriching Aotearoa with Tongan Language and Music. As part of the celebrations, there is a vibrant Facebook page.

Auckland Libraries has a number of heritage resources relating to Tonga. This include the following subjects: heritage and identity, the Birth Marriages Death index for Fiji and Tonga from 1858-1873, traditional medical practices, early photography in Tonga and Samoa from 1855-1900, Tongan art, early Tonga as the explorers saw it 1616-1810 and the biography of the King of Tonga.

In the Manuscripts Online database (simply enter the keyword Tonga into the search box), there are manuscripts relating to Tonga, including letters from Charles Douglas Whitcombe to Sir George Grey about his own appointment to Tonga (1890) and his time over there (GLNZ W30.2-27), letter from King George Tupou I to Sir George Grey i…

Out of the Box and the New Zealand Shipping Co

On 2nd September 2013, the first of a series of small exhibitions will open at the Bill Laxon Maritime Library at Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum. The exhibition will remain in place for 1 or 2 months in a case  installed in the Edmiston Gallery.

The 'Out of the Box' exhibition series will showcase some of the paper objects (e.g. books, archives, manuscripts original documents and photographs) that are normally kept in boxes in storage and are only seen when needed for research enquiries or for temporary exhibitions.

In keeping with the theme this month - Merchant Navy Day (commemorated on 3rd September to honour those who served during WW2), the first exhibition will celebrate the140th Anniversary of the New Zealand Shipping Company.