Friday, 18 December 2015

Auckland Weekly News Photos for 1914 and 1915

Auckland Weekly News photographs for the period August 1914 to December 1915 have now been more fully described so that they can be searched by description and subject. These photos were published in the Auckland Weekly News Supplement. There are 1,117 photos covering the period August to December 1914 and a further 7,684 photos for the period January to December 1915.

Friday, 11 December 2015

The HMS Achilles memorial

The WW100 commemorations have drawn renewed attention to our First World War memorials. This does not mean our Second World War memorials should be forgotten: 13 December 2015 is the 75th anniversary of the unveiling of a unique and spectacular memorial at Achilles Point, overlooking the Waitematā Harbour and Hauraki Gulf.

Ref: Bruce Ringer, HMS Achilles memorial, St Heliers, 2014. 

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Pop-up Christmas books by Robert Sabuda

To get into the spirit of the season we currently have a Christmas related display in the Special Collections reading room on the 2nd floor of the Central Library. On display until the end of December are two pop-up Christmas books by Robert Sabuda.

Robert Sabuda has interpreted many classic children’s books including Peter Pan, the Wizard of Oz and the Little Mermaid in his renowned intricate pop-up style.

First is his advent calendar-style alphabet, where small objects like a ribbon-decorated gift spring from behind paper ‘doors’.



Thursday, 3 December 2015

Three Kings Carols by Candlelight

This Friday evening, Heritage & Research and Mt Roskill Library team members are heading along to the Puketāpapa Christmas Festival featuring Three Kings Carols by Candlelight.

Our Ephemera Librarian has picked out some of her favourite Christmas cards from our Ephemera collection so we’ll have some facsimile cards available as well as a badge maker so you can make your own heritage Christmas badge.

Ref: New Zealand Ephemera - Christmas cards, early 1900s, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries.

Ref: Carols by Candlelight, 13 December 1975MRB 009 Item 705 Box 2Auckland Council Archives.

Monday, 30 November 2015

Spencer family negatives

The Spencer family negatives that were recently donated to Sir George Grey Special Collections have now been digitised and made available online. This collection consists of around 400 glass plate negatives which arrived in the Library’s collections through a donation from the family of Mr Percy Spencer.


The images include people and places, Māori portraits, landscapes, and family outings such as picnics and cycle excursions.


Friday, 13 November 2015

Arsons, marches and petitions: the 1970s abortion debate in New Zealand

Creating New Zealand’s abortion law
Abortion was illegal in NZ until the 1970s unless required to save the mother’s life. Nevertheless, the procedure was widely practiced and often unsafe. In 1927 a Department of Health official estimated 10,000 abortions took place annually - with NZ having one of the world’s highest death rates from botched abortions. This prompted the government to set up a Committee of Inquiry in 1936. Instead of focusing on the high rate of maternal deaths, the Committee focused on the falling birth rate and recommended an increase in family allowances.  A 1939 British ruling influenced the interpretation of abortion law in NZ to include mental health as grounds for the procedure, but many doctors refused to perform abortions.

Monday, 9 November 2015

The Emden and the ones who got away

SMS Emden was a German light cruiser and commerce raider in the Indian Ocean during the early months of the First World War.


After destroying 25 merchant vessels and 2 Allied warships, Captain Karl von Müller of the Emden decided to sail to Direction Island in the Cocos Island group and destroy the cable station there, with the aim of disrupting Allied communications and making the hunt for his ship even more difficult.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Holding the Line: The 2015 Going West Books and Writers Festival Exhibition

Currently on in the exhibition space on Level 2 of the Waitakere Central Library is ‘Holding the Line’, an exhibition celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the Going West Books and Writers Festival featuring material from the Going West Festival archives.

Every year a gathering of people with a passion for the written and spoken word takes place in the verdant setting of West Auckland.  Named after the Maurice Gee novel in which he vividly describes the train journey from Loomis (Henderson) to the city, writers and performers of all ages and backgrounds come together to participate in the Going West Books and Writers Festival. Since the festivals beginnings in 1996, guests and audiences alike have been attracted by the unique character of the location and the diversity of the programme. In 2015, Going West celebrates 20 years as a stalwart of the literary festival scene in New Zealand with ‘Holding the Line’, the theme for this year’s event that is an apt reference to the centenary of the Gallipoli campaign 100 years ago.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Vaiaho o te Gagana Tokelau: Te Vaka's Ki mua

This week Auckland Libraries are celebrating Vaiaho o te Gagana Tokelau, Tokelau Language Week for 2015.

So we're featuring a Tokelauan album from our heritage music collections, the 1999 album Ki mua  from the celebrated group Te Vaka.


Sunday, 25 October 2015

Agincourt and Shakespeare’s Henry V

Today, October 25, marks the 600 year anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt, a major English victory in the Hundred Years’ War won by King Henry the Fifth. This gives us a great excuse to have a look at a couple of our editions of Shakespeare’s Henry V.

The play Henry the Fifth as we now know it first appeared in 1623 in what is known as the First Folio.

Monday, 19 October 2015

A day at the beach

This Sunday Auckland Libraries will be down at Viaduct Harbour for A day at the beach.


To celebrate over 100 years of New Zealand’s beach fashion and the exhibition 'At the Beach', the Maritime Museum will be bringing the beach to the city centre for Labour weekend. The exhibition will be on display across the Maritime Museum, and has been devised and produced in conjunction with the New Zealand Fashion Museum.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Niuean language Bibles

This week is E Faahi Tapu he Vagahau Niue 2015, Niuean Language Week for 2015.

As a result of Sir George Grey’s collecting of Pacific Islands language materials, Auckland Libraries has a collection of Niuean language Bibles. Today we’re going to look at three of our earliest publications in the Niuean language.

The following descriptions are taken from the Historical catalogue of the printed editions of holy scripture in the library of theBritish and Foreign Bible Society compiled by T.H. Darlow and H.F. Moule. In the introduction to the catalogue T.H. Darlow writes that The British and Foreign Bible Society specifically exists to promote missionary versions of the scriptures.


St Mark’s Gospel, published in 1861.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Polynesian and Melanesian historical pamphlets

This week marks Ni vosa Vaka-ITaukei ni vanua o Viti or Fiji Language Week for 2015. This is timely as we can happily share the news about some nineteenth century Fijian language items in Sir George Grey Special Collections that have recently been individually catalogued. 

These Fijian language items were part of a larger collection of nineteenth century pamphlets in English, Polynesian and Melanesian languages collected by Sir George Grey. They include grammars, primers, vocabularies, and religious texts. The pamphlet shown below is an arithmetic textbook published in Levuka in 1865.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Auckland Heritage Festival 2015

The Auckland Heritage Festival is about to begin again. The region wide festival starts this Saturday, 26 September, and runs for the subsequent two weeks until 11 October. This year’s theme is “The iwi, people, kōrero, and stories that shaped our region, Tāmaki Makaurau”.

Ref: 2015 Auckland Heritage Festival logo.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Front page news

We are used to seeing newspapers with compelling news stories, and photographs, on the front covers. However, this is a fairly recent change for Auckland's daily newspapers. The now-ceased 'Auckland Star' newspaper only started featuring actual news, rather than public notices and the like, on the front page from 22 July 1946.

Ref: excerpt from the Auckland Star, Volume LXXVII, No. 171, 22 July 1946, page 1.

Friday, 11 September 2015

The First Lady of Auckland Zoo: Jamuna the Elephant

The recent arrival of the new elephant Anjalee at Auckland Zoo provides an excuse to take a nostalgic look back at one of the Zoo’s previous much-loved elephants: Jamuna.



Many locals have fond memories of having had a ride on Jamuna as a child. During her lifetime, Jamuna is estimated to have given rides to three-quarters of a million people. 

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Queen Sālote of Tonga’s poetry

This week Auckland Libraries are celebrating Uike 'o e Lea Faka-Tonga, Tongan Language Week with a range of events across our libraries. This year also marks the 50th year commemoration of Queen Sālote's death and Tonga's Coronation of King Tupou VI.

As the theme for Tongan Language Week this year is "Fakakoloa Aotearoa 'aki 'a e faiva 'a e Tonga - Enriching Aotearoa New Zealand with Tongan arts" an appropriate way to pay tribute to the 50th anniversary of Queen Sālote’s passing is to highlight some of the music and poetry that she wrote.


Thursday, 27 August 2015

Coffee Lounge Culture

Coffee lounges opened in Auckland in the 1950s and filled a social gap for people who weren’t attracted to other entertainments available at that time such as commercial cabaret and big bands in ballrooms. They sported glamorous European-inspired names like C’est si Bon, El Paso, La Ronde, Picasso and Piccolo and their décor was Bohemian chic. Walls were covered in murals, or posters of bull fights, and ceilings were painted black and draped in fishing nets. Tables were lit by candles stuck in Chianti bottles, and the air was usually thick with cigarette smoke.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Elephants in Sir George Grey Special Collections

All the recent publicity for Anjalee, Auckland Zoo’s newest elephant, has inspired a series of posts about elephants. Heritage & Research team members here at Auckland Libraries have taken this opportunity to explore some elephant related items in our collections, as well as some other famous Auckland elephants. Today we are featuring elephant images from rare books held in Sir George Grey Special Collections.

These first two colour plates are from the most recent publication we’ve selected, The Arabian nights: tales from the Thousand and one nights / illustrated by E.J. Detmold. Both plates illustrate the story of Sinbad the sailor.

In this version of the story Sinbad is pictured riding on the back of an elephant during his seventh voyage.

Monday, 17 August 2015

The Ōtāhuhu Methodist Memorial Sunday School

The fine brick-and-tile Ōtāhuhu Methodist Memorial Sunday School is a rare but impressive example of a Methodist war memorial building. It stands behind the Ōtāhuhu Methodist church in Fairburn Road.

Ref: Bruce Ringer, Ōtāhuhu Methodist Memorial Sunday School, 2013.

The foundation stone, inset into the footing of the building’s southern wall, reads:

“Ōtāhuhu Methodist Memorial / Sunday School / - / This stone was laid / to the glory of God / by Revd. E. Drake, President of Conf. / on Feb. 28th 1920 / - / Feed my lambs”.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

F. Douglas Mill aerial photograph collection

The majority of the F. Douglas Mill Collection contains images which represent some of the first civil aerial photographic surveys in New Zealand, the images range from the late 1920s to the middle of the 1930s and document the country at that time from the Bay of Islands down to Waimate and Dunedin.

Details of the collection can be found here in Local History Online. The photographs include an early aerial survey of Auckland containing images such as this one of the Auckland War Memorial Museum under construction:

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Footloose and fancy free on Footprints

It is 1964 and the world is your oyster. These young women are enjoying themselves at a friend’s 21st birthday party in Ōtāhuhu in 1964.

With the excitement and verve of the 1960s young women stepped out into the world with different expectations and hopes than previous generations. In the years to come the momentum for change increased, many women challenged the norm, dared to be different, and in doing so created a revolution.


“I’m young and I love to be young
I’m free and I love to be free
To live my life the way that I want
To say and do whatever I please” 

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Chunuk Bair Centenary: Once on Chunuk Bair

Today, 8 August, marks the 100 year anniversary of the Battle for Chunuk Bair. The battle, which took place from 6-10 August 1915, was New Zealand’s most significant action in the Gallipoli Campaign.

To help commemorate the anniversary of the battle we are taking the opportunity to look back on the premier performance of Maurice Shadbolt's only published play, Once on Chunuk Bair. The first performance of Once on Chunuk Bair was given at Mercury Theatre, Auckland, on 23 April 1982. The play was directed by Ian Mune and designed by Richard Jeziorny.

Two manuscript collections held in Sir George Grey Special Collections are useful in looking back to this initial staging of the play. The first is the Roy Billing papers, who was the lead actor in the 1982 performance. This collection includes draft scripts of the play as it was performed at the Mercury Theatre, complete with Billing's annotations as well as an extract from his unpublished memoir, photographs, and an oral history interview with Roy Billing about the staging of Once on Chunuk Bair.

The photographs were taken by Billing during the shooting of promotional video, directed by Ian Mune, for the TVNZ news at the earthworks for the making of the new motorway at Albany.


Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Conservation of the Cook Islands Proclamation (E Tuatua Akakite) of 1891

To mark Te Epetoma o te Reo Māori Kūki ‘Airani, Cook Islands Language Week, we have a special behind the scenes post today. This year is also particularly significant as today, 4 August, marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Cook Islands achieving self-government.

Last year David Ashman, the Preservation Manager at Auckland Libraries, performed conservation treatment work on The Cook Islands Proclamation (E Tuatua Akakite) of 1891. This was reported on earlier this year in both the Cook Islands News and the Cook Islands Herald as well as on the website of the Cook Islands Museum and Library Society.

The proclamation is described on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register for Asia/Pacific:

A fragile and rare, one-paged document written in Maori, the language spoken by most of the population of the Cook Islands at that time, called the Proclamation (E Tutatua Akakite), signed by the Earl of Onslow, on 4th April, 1891, on behalf of the Queen of Great Britain & Ireland, placing a protectorate over the Cook Islands. This document marks the beginning of a relationship, which continues today with the Queen as the Head of State of the Cook Islands through the Governor General of New Zealand and the Cook Islands inheriting a Westminster parliamentary system.  

The conservation process that David followed is illustrated by the subsequent photographs:

The process began by first removing the document from its highly acidic backing board, to which it had been attached over 60 years ago. 

Ref: Backing removal of E Tuatua Akakite, 2014.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori: Pūtahitanga exhibition

To mark Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, Māori Language Week, for 2015 here at Heritage et AL we are featuring some of the oldest items in our collections relating to te reo Māori.

These taonga are all held in Sir George Grey Special Collections and currently on show in our exhibition space on the second floor of the Central Library as part of our exhibition Pūtahitanga: a meeting of two worlds in the North, 1769-1842.

The arrival of Captain James Cook in New Zealand in 1769 is usually seen as the beginning of the meeting of two worlds – the Māori and the European – leading to increasing interaction, misunderstanding and understanding, cross-cultural movement and exchange.
This exhibition reveals some of those interactions with explorers, sealers and whalers, missionaries, traders and settlers in the documents and books produced at the time and held in Sir George Grey Special Collections. The word Pūtahitanga means a confluence of streams and expresses the fluidity of this period.
We end the exhibition in 1842, two years after the Treaty of Waitangi and the move of the capital to the new settlement of Auckland, and three years before the first major conflict erupted in 1845.  


The first item ever printed in New Zealand is this very modest production by the missionary William Yate, printed in Kerikeri in 1830. Only two known copies survive now.
The text is a Māori translation of the catechism, a summary of the Christian doctrine.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Eating in & dining out: Dalmatian-run grill rooms of the 1940s

The 1940s were boom times for Auckland’s Dalmatian-run grill room restaurants, especially after US soldiers, sailors and nurses arrived in June 1942 - there were six grill rooms on Victoria Street West alone (Clarich, Jelich, Kosovitch, Lipanovich, Makovina and Urlich) and a further 20 in the central city. The Americans came for R and R after fighting in the Pacific, for medical attention, and for training. For the next two years about 50,000 American servicemen and women were in the country at any one time. They were often paid twice as much as local wages, and had three out of every four days free.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

A map of the Duke's Forest from 1567

The map below is one of many beautiful and intricate hand-coloured illustrations and maps in Lodovico Guicciardini's book on the Low Countries. Sir George Grey Special Collection's copy is a French edition published in Antwerp in 1567. It was donated to the library by Henry Shaw. The map is of Bolduch ('s-Hertogenbosch or the Duke's Forest) in the southern Netherlands. Iain Sharp notes in Real Gold that Guicciardini's book was one of the best sellers of the sixteenth century.

Image ref: Map from: Lodovico Guicciardini. Description de tovt le Païs-Bas, avtrement
dict la Germanie inferievre, ov, Basse-Allemaigne.
Antwerp: Guillaume Silvius, 1567.
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 7-C1964.
The two main methods for printing maps in the sixteenth century were relief (usually woodcut) and intaglio (copper engraving or etching). The map pictured is a copperplate engraving. The intaglio technique involves engraving lines into a plate of metal. Ink is placed on the surface of the plate, wiped off, but remains in the grooves. Paper is placed on the plate and compressed: transferring the ink from the plate to the paper. One way of distinguishing a copperplate engraving from a woodcut is the indentation of the border of the copperplate itself around the outside of the map.

Remembering the Rainbow Warrior

On the weekend of 25 and 26 July the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior III will be moored at Princes Wharf, Auckland. Its visit commemorates the thirtieth anniversary of the sinking of its predecessor at Marsden wharf on 10 July 1985 by agents of the French security intelligence service. Greenpeace photographer Fernando Pereira drowned on the sinking ship.

The day after the act of sabotage Alton Francis snapped a shot of the half-submerged Rainbow Warrior

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Golden Quran and translated Arabic manuscripts

One of the recipients of Auckland Library Heritage Trust's Researcher in Residence award for 2014/2015 was Dr Zain Ali. Dr Ali focused his research on a golden Quran that Henry Shaw donated to the library and also some manuscripts of poems in Arabic.

The aim of the Researcher in Residence scholarship is to assist with scholarly research and promotion of materials held in Sir George Grey Special Collections. These aims were certainly achieved this year with some Arabic manuscripts being translated into English for the first time.

The fruits of this research were presented in a talk at the library on the evening of 28 May this year. The video of the talk is now up online and you can watch the talk that Dr Ali and translator Hoda Khaled Fahmy gave below:



Do have a look at Auckland Libraries YouTube Channel; there is some great content there. Recently added videos include some of our family history talks through to the talking portraits that were down at Queen's Wharf on the waterfront over Auckland Anniversary Weekend.

This past weekend Dr Ali, Hoda Fahmy and Manuscripts Librarian Kate de Courcy were interviewed on Radio New Zealand's Spiritual Outlook show. Dr Ali mentions in the interview on Spiritual Outlook that they in the process of assessing the manuscripts with a view to finding a publisher for the translations, which is very exciting news. Do click through to the article as it has some great photos of the Quran and the manuscripts.



Author: Andrew Henry

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Rossdhu Book of Hours

Popular throughout Europe from the late thirteenth to the sixteenth century Books of Hours were prayer books intended for devout everyday folk who wanted to follow the Church’s programme of daily devotions.  They always included a series of prayers to the Virgin Mary but also varied in the choice of other saints recognized and in the number, size and quality of illustrations. These books could either come readymade or be specially tailored to a person’s own circumstances and interests.

Monday, 6 July 2015

United States and German war plans for New Zealand - prior to the First World War

In 2008 the New Zealand National Maritime Museum featured a 62 page document entitled 'Naval war plan for the attack of Auckland, New Zealand'. This had been produced as an intelligence exercise by visiting United States Naval officers a century before in 1908. They had come to Auckland as part of a visit by the 'Great White Fleet' of 16 United States battleships, and had spent six days in Auckland.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

More Auckland region newspapers added to Papers Past

Earlier this week the National Library announced that the latest batch of newspapers has just gone live on Papers Past. Auckland Libraries have contributed two newspapers from our collections to the project: the Pukekohe and Waikuku Times from 1921-1924 and the New Zealander from 1853-1866.

The Pukekohe & Waiuku Times (later known as the Franklin Times), one of South Auckland’s longest-lasting local newspapers, was published in Pukekohe from 1912 to 1971. On 8 March 1912 Pukekohe businessmen Richard Eames and William Cargill brought out the first issue of the Pukekohe & Waiuku Times. The new tabloid was just four pages long and came out once a week. As demand grew it increased in size and frequency, becoming bi-weekly from 1 October 1912 and tri-weekly from 5 July 1915.


For a more in-depth look at the Pukekohe & Waiuku Times have a look at our blog post on Franklin newspapers, and also see where it fits in the family tree of the South Auckland Courier.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

The Auckland Ghost

During August 1901 Aucklanders were being terrorised by a ghost. It haunted the central Auckland areas of Grafton, Eden Terrace, Newton and Western Park. The apparent apparition was heavily reported on in the newspapers and the cartoonists of the day all had a take on it as well. Even an advertising copywriter got in on the fun.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Monday, 22 June 2015

Auckland Libraries’ war memorial libraries

At least nine of Auckland Libraries’ past or present community libraries are either war memorial buildings or have war memorial associations.

The oldest of these is the Albany Memorial Library. On Peace Day 19 July 1919 a group of Albany residents resolved to build a library as their district’s war memorial. Architect Sholto Smith designed the building. Governor-General Lord Jellicoe opened the cottage-style, half-timbered structure on 21 December 1922.

The library was approached via a stone arch with ‘1914-1918’ inscribed on the keystone. The words ‘Albany Memorial Library’ were displayed above the entrance. The east window commemorated the Great War. Inside, a brick fireplace incorporated a green marble memorial tablet listing the names of 23 local men who gave their lives during the First World War. (Another tablet was later added honouring seven dead from the Second World War.)

The building functioned as a working library until 2004, and is still available for community use today.

Ref: Bruce Ringer, Three views of the Albany Memorial Library: 1, 2015.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Bookplates: Hilda Wiseman and the Auckland Ex Libris Society

The North Auckland Research Centre is hosting an exhibition of bookplates at the Takapuna Library in the Angela Morton Art History Reading Room. The exhibition is open during library hours through until Sunday 12 July. The Angela Morton Reading Room is a very appropriate venue for this exhibition as bookplates straddle the worlds of art and literature.

The most substantial monograph on bookplates in New Zealand is In another dimension by Ian Thwaites. He describes bookplates, or Ex Libris, as labels which are inserted into books to establish their ownership. He adds that “they are attractive items which often reflect in a unique way the personalities and interests of both owner and artist (p.9).”

In the preface of this book John Stacpoole states, “A bookplate helps to establish the provenance of a book, sometimes adding to its value, but always making a link between past and present owners whose hands have held it. It is a reminder that the owner is – or was – a real person, often the person to whom the book must be returned (p.5).”