Showing posts from May, 2017

Caroline Abraham: my own bright land

34 sketches in New Zealand for Mr Charles Abraham.
Ref: Caroline Abraham, Sketchbook, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 3-111.
Mrs Caroline Harriet Abraham is chiefly remembered as a recorder of the early colonial New Zealand landscape. Her cousin was the wife of Bishop Selwyn and she herself married Selwyn’s good friend Mr Charles Abraham. During the first half of their New Zealand residence, the Abrahams lived mainly at St John’s College where Charles was Principal. They moved south in 1859 when he was made inaugural bishop of Wellington.
Ref: Caroline Abraham, Sketchbook, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 3-111.

The Wesleyan Native Institution

The past few months have seen a campaign to recognise the importance of the name Wesley to the Puketapapa (Mt Roskill, Auckland) area.

Although Wesley isn't an official name for that part of the Auckland isthmus, it is the name that has been given to the area for decades. There is both Wesley Primary and Wesley Intermediate schools, and the name is held in great affection.

The campaign came about when developers of a new town at Paerata, north of Pukekohe, applied to the NZ Geographic Board to use the name Wesley, and to dis-establish it from the Mt Roskill area.

But as schools, the historical society, and the local board backed petitions to save the name, the developers acknowledged the affection shown towards 'Wesley', subsequently withdrew their application, and the Intermediate school held a mufti day in celebration.

So how did the name Wesley come to find a home in Mt Roskill? It was all down to the Wesleyan Native Institution, established in the Three Kings area in t…

RainbowYOUTH archive

From humble but enthusiastic beginnings, RainbowYOUTH has grown to become one of the most successful youth organisations in New Zealand.

Ref: RainbowYOUTH, RainbowYOUTH Collection, West Auckland Research Centre, Auckland Libraries.
In 2017 an exhibition was created from the Auckland Libraries RainbowYOUTH archive collection, which consists of seven recorded oral histories, images and ephemera sharing the origin and development of the 28 year young organisation, and the stories of those involved from the very first small Auckland gay and lesbian group to the highly successful present day queer youth community support network. The RainbowYOUTH Exhibition is on now at Leys Institute Library, Ponsonby, until June 3.

Happy Mother's Day, New Zealand

In honour of mums everywhere - and not just the human ones! Here is a selection of photos from Auckland Libraries Heritage Images.

From the early 1900s, this shows a group of pupils from central Auckland's Beresford Street Public School with their dolls (their babies!) The children were taking part in the school concert at the Auckland Opera House.

"Mothercraft" (later changed to 'parenting') classes were offered by the Plunket Society, as the 1935 photograph below shows. Skills were often taught to girls at high schools, and later the classes extended to the new fathers. They were a feature of Plunket's Karitane Hospitals, set up to care for new mothers, and  those babies needing extra help to thrive.

Different styles of carrying your baby. This photo from 1911 contrasts the 'old' and the 'new' style with Māori mothers.

The description of this photograph doesn't say that these three children are actually those of the named Mrs Johnston, …

R. A. K. Mason: a uniquely distinguished son of the city

Ref: John Daley, Lorne Street, 1974, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 7-A13628.
I knew that the tōtara planted hard against the library edge was planted for R. A. K. Mason but the plaque has weathered in this exposed comer of Rutland and Lorne Streets. When I saw the photograph by John Daley of the new building the decision to plant a memorial here made sense. This is a resonant corner with a new modern library and a wow factor. I researched the back story in the library's own New Zealand Card Index, now digitised for convenient access.

The two articles indexed from the New Zealand Herald give a sense of the difficult road to achieving Mason's memorial which the simple plaque text gives no indication of. They are also an insight into the value of this remarkable index.

Auckland Library Heritage Trust scholarship 2017/2018

Applications for the Auckland Library Heritage Trust Researcher in Residence scholarship are now open!
Ref: John Rykenberg, Auckland dance band, 1959, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1269-A997-1.
Now in its fifth year, this scholarship is offered by the Auckland Library Heritage Trust to assist with scholarly research and the promotion of the material held in Sir George Grey Special Collections at the Central City Library.