Monday, 28 November 2016

A zoological atlas: Voyage autour du monde, sur la Bonite

The great exploring expeditions of the 19th century often published accounts of their voyages in a series of large illustrated atlases. This particular atlas is part of the account of a French expedition, published as Voyage autour du monde : exécuté pendant les années 1836 et 1837 sur la Bonite commandée par m. Vaillant. It was acquired recently by Auckland Libraries and is currently on display in the exhibition Old & New: recent additions to Sir George Grey Special Collections together with another recent atlas purchase: An account of a voyage in search of La Perouse.


In 1836 French naval officer Auguste-Nicolas Vaillant was given instructions for a voyage through the Pacific on the former troopship La Bonite. The main aim of the voyage was political – Vaillant was to maintain a French presence in the area while delivering diplomatic and consular representatives to Chile, Peru and Manila, and visiting trade ports and religious missions in South America and Hawaii.

Monday, 21 November 2016

The little church that wouldn’t die

Later this year The church on the corner: a history of Selwyn Church Māngere East, 1863-2012 will be published. Selwyn Church started life 153 years ago in Ōtāhuhu when local Anglicans built a new wooden church in Victoria Street (now Mason Avenue). It was dedicated as the Church of the Holy, Blessed and Undivided Trinity on St John the Evangelist’s Day, 27 December 1863 by Bishops George Augustus Selwyn and John Coleridge Patteson.

Monday, 14 November 2016

The ‘Devonport Gazette and Greater North Shore Advocate, Who’s Who Directory, Ratepayer’s Chronicle’

The first issue of this weekly suburban newspaper came out on Thursday 3rd November 1921. 2,500 copies were delivered free of charge to “each house in the Borough of Devonport” and also made available to patrons of the Victoria Picture Theatre in Devonport. It was published and printed by James William Henry Martin and family, who managed the Devonport Printing Works at 56 Victoria Road, Devonport.


On the front page, the middle two columns carried movie advertisements and stills for screenings at the Victoria Theatre, while other parts of the newspaper also included movie news. The ‘Who’s Who’ columns were for advertising local businesses and trades, while the editorial on page two addressed local issues. Pages two and three also included reports from Devonport Borough Council and other local public meetings. Later this was extended to cover reports of the Takapuna Borough Council and other Takapuna area public meetings.

The gossip column was called ‘What we hear on the 8.35 and 5.10p, ferry steamers’ and ‘Picture Pars’ covered small snippets of news. There was also a correspondence column, some profiles or obituaries of locals, a cartoon and often stories and poetry.

From 1924, this was renamed the ‘North Shore Gazette: the official Waitemata paper’ and extended its circulation into Belmont, Bayswater, Takapuna, Milford, Glenfield, Northcote, Birkenhead, Birkdale and Chelsea. It continued to be published until 30 June 1938, and was then followed by the ‘North Shore Chronicle’ to February 1940.

Auckland Libraries has copies, with gaps, for the period to 1934, and currently the North Shore Historical Society is funding the restoration of those early newspapers. So far they have funded to the end of 1923. The National Library in Wellington has copies from 1936 onwards.

Author: David Verran, Central Auckland Research Centre

Monday, 7 November 2016

Medical marijuana in colonial New Zealand

There was a time when New Zealanders could buy marijuana over the counter for ailments ranging from asthma to corn removal. In the 1880s cannabis or hemp, as it was known then, only cost a shilling an ounce. Mother Aubert used cannabis as a tea for nun’s menstrual cramps at her mission in Jerusalem on the Whanganui River. Brett’s Colonists’ Guide endorsed Indian hemp as a treatment for painful menstruation, too - in a concoction including camphor and opium.