Showing posts from August, 2017

John Masefield's watercolour of the HMS Endeavour

Nowadays English author John Masefield is chiefly remembered for two short poems with nautical themes: “Sea Fever” (“I must down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky”) and “Cargoes”  (with its strikingly exotic opening line, “Quinquireme of Nineveh from distant Ophir”).

In the first half of the 20th century, however, he was popular throughout the Commonwealth not just as a poet but also as a novelist, children’s writer, playwright and memoirist. Appointed poet laureate by George V in April 1930, he remained in that post until his death in May 1967, making him the longest-serving British laureate after Alfred Lord Tennyson.

Auckland Libraries has a fine collection of signed books and letters by Masefield, gifted to us from the estate of Paeroa-based teacher and local historian Nelly Scott Climie.

She first met Masefield in 1931 while in England on a teacher exchange programme. After returning to New Zealand, she kept up a correspondence with him that lasted until his death. …

The Lewis Eady legacy

Update: Auckland Libraries acknowledges the late John Eady Snr ONZM who passed away on 10 October 2017

John led the iconic Lewis Eady music business - established by his grandfather Lewis, 137 years ago - with an unwavering passion for supporting the music community in both Auckland and throughout New Zealand. He donated and loaned pianos, supported countless charitable events and emerging musicians, as well as donating the beautiful Kawai Grand Piano and large numbers of books and musical scores to the Lewis Eady Music collection at the Auckland Public Library.

It is interesting to discover how a part of a library's collection originates. In the case of Auckland Libraries' music collection, it started when a visionary librarian connected with an Auckland city councillor.
In 1926, Mr L. Alfred Eady, an Auckland city councillor, attended a library conference in Dunedin. There he heard Mr John Barr, Auckland’s chief librarian, speak about the need for public libraries to have …

Dominion Road: A musical!

What happens when real life politics and art collide? Aucklanders can find out as Dominion Rd - The Musical hits the stage this month.

In a case of fiction confronting current events, this brand new musical follows a group of residents on Auckland's iconic Dominion Road. Will they be able to put aside their differences to fight against a proposed development of their street as a 'Chinatown'?

Penned by award-winning duo Renee Liang and Jun Bin Lee, and directed by Borni Te Rongopai Tukiwaho, Dominion Rd - The Musical features five well known faces working with local Dominion Road community cast members to form the chorus. The production has been a work in process for over a year and weaves the true stories of the community into a toe-tapping, family friendly creative musical.

The inspiration for the characters and the lived experiences of Dominion Road shopkeepers and residents have been drawn, in part, from the Auckland Libraries Oral History Collection, created in 20…

NZ Herald Glass Plate Negatives and the man in a hat with a cat

Auckland Libraries received an important donation in 2015 when the negatives formerly in the original New Zealand Herald offices, in their historic Albert Street base, were gifted for digitisation. We worked closely with Lauri Tapsell at the Herald. Library staff from Sir George Grey Special Collections and the team of library experts in the wider Heritage Collections, Preservation and Digitisation teams worked together to make the mystery negatives accessible online. The boxes with cryptic labels have been unpacked, cleaned and repackaged in preservation enclosures. They now add up to 16,416 records on our Heritage Images database.

In August 2017, Auckland Libraries will celebrate with New Zealand Micrographic Services the project which has seen the glass plates carefully cleaned and the images digitised. This project has proved to be more than the ‘NZH’ and more than ‘glass plates’. Images from other titles including the Auckland Weekly News were included. And as well as glass plate…

Crossing an exasperating little stream: the Milford foot bridge

Originally built to allow pedestrians to easily reach the 'new' Castor Bay Estate at the northern end of Milford beach, the Milford foot bridge has long been a focus of debate for local residents.

The first foot bridge was initially built as a temporary crossing for the Wairau Creek in 1923. It was known as a ‘lighthouse’ structure, and since the depth of the creek allowed scows and other sailing vessels to sail upstream, as far as Sheriff’s Gum Store at the lower end of Shakespeare Road, it had to be built high enough to allow "the largest yacht to pass under".