Showing posts from 2015

J.M. Sherrard award in New Zealand regional and local history

A colleague was recently down in Christchurch at the New Zealand Historical Association conference for 2015 and has bought back news of the most recent winners of the J. M. Sherrard award in New Zealand regional and local history.The J.M. Sherrard Award is the only national award for local and regional history in New Zealand.
Ref: Henry Winkelmann, Showing men breaking down a pile of gum at L C Gillespie and..., August 1904, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1-W1156.

Christmas time

It’s that time of year again, the halls are decked and the streets are decorated.
Ref: Eric W Young, Looking south along Queen Street..., 1980s, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1021-52.

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.
Ref: Auckland Weekly News, A Christmas greeting from New Zealand to the absent one, 16 December 1915, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19151216-35-1.

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. 

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’.

Robert Sabuda. The Christmas alphabet. New York : Orchard, 1994.

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 1975, MRB 009 Item 705 Box 2, Auckland Council Archives.

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.
Ref: Group of fruit pickers, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1365-139.
The images include people and places, Māori portraits, landscapes, and family outings such as picnics and cycle excursions.
Ref: Bicycle outing, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1365-387.
Ref: Yacht trip, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1365-132.

More Tales from the South Pacific: New Zealand’s capture of German Samoa

Soon after the start of the First World War, New Zealand’s Governor Lord Liverpool agreed to send New Zealand troops to capture the German wireless station in Samoa and occupy the German colony. New Zealand troops, supported by three New Zealand cruisers and three other Australian and French warships, took possession of German Samoa on 29th August 1914.
Ref: Auckland Weekly News, The British occupation of Samoa, 29 August 1914, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19140917-42-1.
Ref: Auckland Weekly News, The unopposed landing of the New Zealanders in Samoa, 7 September 1914, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19140917-43-1.

Hoots Mon

Those of you who have Scottish ancestry may be interested to know that two more Scottish related databases have been added to the collection.

These are - Scotland, National Probate Index (Calendar of Confirmations and Inventories) 1876-1936 and Perth and Kinross, Scotland, Electoral Registers 1832-1961.  This is the first time that the confirmations and inventories have been made available other than on the Scotlands People website; however, you will need to visit Scotlands People website for wills prior to 1876.

So, what can you expect to find on these databases?

Calendar of Confirmations and Inventories – this can be browsed by year but if looking for a particular person/family use the search box.  As with other searches you can search using a surname only, Christian (first) name only and the wild cards are also available.  You do not need to enter a date of death, place of death etc but may do so if you want to reduce your number of “hits” (start with less detail and a…

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.
Ref: Alan Brown, Abortion march, 28 July 1972, Broadsheet Collective Records, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, NZMS 596.

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.
Ref: Auckland Weekly News, Destroyer of five British merchant ships..., 1 October 1914, Sir GeorgeGrey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19141001-48-1.
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.
Ref: Auckland Weekly News, Captain Karl von Muller, 24 December 1914, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19141224-40-1.

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…

Conservation week: Healthy Nature, Healthy People.


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.

Ref: Te Vaka, Ki mua, 1999, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, CD TEV.

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.

Ref: William Shakespeare, First Folio Mr. William Shakespeares comedies, histories & tragedies, pp.68-69, 1623, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1623 SHAK.

A day at the beach

This Sunday Auckland Libraries will be down at Viaduct Harbour for A day at the beach.
Ref: Stapley Farmer, Apprentices picnic, 1960s?, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1056-32.
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.
Ref: Group in car at Takapuna Beach, c1960s, North Auckland Research Centre, Auckland Libraries, T6843.

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.

Ref: Ko e evagelia ne tohi e Mareko, p.1, 1861, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 226.3 KOEE.

Colleen Fitzpatrick, forensic genealogy

On 20 April, 2015, we were extremely fortunate to have Colleen Fitzpatrick PhD, visiting forensic genealogist and author from the US, come and speak for us at Central City Library.

Colleen is a nuclear physicist, who is a consultant in some high profile cases that involve using both genetic and forensic genealogy to solve a case.

She has a really impressive CV.

Colleen is also the author of:
Forensic genealogy,  DNA and genealogy, and  The dead horse investigation: forensic analysis for everyone.  Colleen is a talented researcher and an excellent speaker with a wide choice of subjects to choose from and has a real talent for making the complicated and the technical both easily understood and entertaining.

Fortunately, her visit to us coincided with our "pilot" scheme and we were able to video her talks which you can find on the Auckland Libraries YouTube channel.

The presentations she gave us were:
CSI meets Roots Forensic genealogy has established itself as the modern approac…

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.
Ref: A vu ni vika vakaviti, p.1, 1865?, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 372.72 AVUN.

Vaiaso o te Gana Tuvalu = Tuvalu Language Week 2015

This week marks Vaiaso o te Gana Tuvalu, or Tuvalu Language Week, for 2015. This year’s theme is "Tau gana ko tou iloga/ Language is your identity”. This provides an excellent opportunity to focus on some images relating to Tuvalu in our heritage collections from Local History Online.
Ref: Pacifica Arts Centre, Tuvalu traditional dance performance, 14 November 2013, West Auckland Research Centre, Auckland Libraries, PAC-PLAF-2013-D-096.
The Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs has compiled a list of events for the week and ask that you follow their Facebook page for updates during the week.
Ref: Pacifica Arts Centre, Mama Teuke at the Pacifica Living Arts Festival, 1 November 2005, West Auckland Research Centre, Auckland Libraries, PAC-PLAF-2005-D-002.

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.

The wonders of the City of Auckland's 1908 map

Friends of mine moved in to their new house recently, one of those established Ponsonby villas which has been done up with a garage put in. It has the same bones of its early 1900s self but with far less land than it would have originally been on.

It is in St Mary's Road and it was an interesting exercise to explore the Auckland Council's Archive to see if the property was on its City of Auckland's 1908 map.

A simple Google search of Auckland Council Archives takes you straight to their home page and clicking on Search the Archives takes you to the link to the map.

There are two different ways to search the City of Auckland's 1908 map. One is by browsing; the other is by doing a keyword search. Using the keyword search we typed in St Mary's Road and up came the portion of the map with that particular street in it.

Once you have enlarged the map you will notice the blue pins.

My friend's house on St Mary's Road has a blue pin, which we clicked on. This went …

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.

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.

Ref: Ron Clark, Elephant ride, February 1956, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1207-783.
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.

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.

Ref: Clifton Firth, Queen Salote of Tonga, c1961, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 34-375.

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.
Ref: John Rykenberg, Auckland restaurant, 1959, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1269-A997-3.

Elephants in Sir George Grey Special Collections

All therecentpublicity 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.

Ref: The Arabian nights, p. 80, E.J. Detmold, 1924, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, IL:1924 DETM.

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”.

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:
Ref: F. Douglas Mill, Auckland War Memorial Museum under construction, from the air, 1929, West Auckland Research Centre, Auckland Libraries, FDM-0544-G.

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 Ōtāhuhuin 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.
Ref: Lew's, Birthday Party, 1964, photograph reproduced courtesy of Val Lott, South Auckland Research Centre, Auckland Libraries, Footprints 06490.
“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” 
You don’t own me, Lesley Gore, 1963.

1911 suffragette evaders

By 1911 New Zealand women had voting rights for nearly two decades, while their UK sisters still battled for their rights and a voice.  The Women's Freedom League incited members with its Manifesto to " … oppose, hamper, destroy if possible, the power of an unrepresentative Government to govern women, refuse to be taxed, boycott the Census, refuse all official information until women have won that which is their absolute right - the right of a voice and vote."

The Women's Freedom League initiated a boycott of census day, Sunday 2 April 1911, to protest their lack of rights to vote. These suffragette evaders refused to have their names added to their own household registers, effectively 'vanishing' from the census while many left their homes for the day.

Evaders such as Louisa Burnham defiantly wrote the words "No vote, no census. If I am intelligent enough to fill in this census form I can surely make a X on a ballot paper" across the schedule.

So, …

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 int…



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 protec…

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 exhibitionPūtahitanga: 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 Pūtahitangameans a confluence of streams and expresses the fluidity of this period. We end the exhibi…

New family history videos online

We've had a sudden release of family history videos published to our YouTube channel - packed full of loads of tips!
New online: Colleen Fitzpatrick: The "Unknown Child" of the Titanic - identified?20 April 2015

Of the 328 bodies recovered by the salvage operation of the SS Titanic, just one was that of a child. His identity was unknown for nearly a century until 2002, when Dr. Alan Ruffman and Dr. Ryan Parr announced that they had identified the remains of the "Unknown Child". But was this identification correct? Hear how we resolved the controversy so that the Unknown Child of the Titanic was unknown no longer.

Exploring Online Cenotaph with Victoria Passau15 April 2015

New Zealanders have served this country in many international conflicts. Online Cenotaph, created by Auckland War Memorial Museum, aims to commemorate the stories of these veterans. This session showcases the new Online Cenotaph and discusses how family members and private researchers can contr…

University of Auckland: Clock Tower and Old Choral Hall

While exploring Heritage Images online I decided to search images of the University of Auckland out of interest as I’ve studying there for the past five years. The images are very interesting and give a gauge as to how the university has changed over the years.

Ref: Henry Winkelmann, Looking across Princes Street from the Albert Park grounds..., February 1927, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1-W791.

Māori Land Court Minute Books - Part 1

The Māori Land Court minute books are a very important resource for whakapapa research. They are also valuable for local history, early Māori history, and Waitangi Tribunal research.

"Whakapapa literally means the ‘laying down of generations’ layer upon layer. Whakapapa is about people, it is a link to tūpuna, to heritage, to identity. For Māori it is a taonga, and for many it is also tapu. Traditionally whakapapa was handed down orally to a member of the whānau deemed appropriate to look after the whānau whakapapa." (Paewai, 2015, p2).

The Native Land Court (renamed Māori Land Court in 1947) was established in 1865 with the purpose of translating customary Māori land ownership into legal land titles recognisable under English Law.

Traditional Māori land rights involved communal ownership of land. The hapū (sub tribe) or iwi (tribe) had to prove their traditional rights to land on the basis of occupation, conquest, or ancestry. The gifting of land was also taken into …