Showing posts from August, 2018

Wāhine Take Action exhibition

Over 125 years ago thousands of women in Aotearoa New Zealand took action by signing the 1893 Suffrage Petition, adding their individual voices to a collective call for political representation. In 2018 the Central City Library held a Heritage Collections exhibition called Wāhine Take Action, timed to coincide with Suffrage 125 celebrations across Aotearoa.

The exhibition took a broad view of what ‘taking action’ means, looking at the many different ways women have worked for social change or to support their communities. Some actions are taken individually, while others are part of larger movements. Some are explicitly feminist, some are not. All demonstrate the leadership of women in cultural, social, and political life in Aotearoa.

Featured content included unique photographs, posters and letters from our manuscript collections, rare books and heritage magazines, and women’s voice from the oral history and sound archive. Thanks to the support of  Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision, and co…

Parade magazine – know your ancestors

Parade magazine, published from 1946–1981, was an Australian monthly which included a substantial amount of New Zealand content. From 1970–1980 there was a regular feature called ‘Know your ancestors’ which provided readers with family history advice.

Aucklanders are lucky to have an almost complete run here at Auckland Libraries as this is a real gem in our collections. Parade was described by a colleague as a barbershop magazine and it is distinctive for its vibrant painted covers. The great New Zealand and Australian comics and cartoonists’ blog Pikitea Press has featured Parade numerous times and many of the covers are viewable there. A strong market now exists on eBay for these magazines, so they’re certainly collectable.

The simplest way to describe the content of Parade would be to think about it as being half scandal and half history, often with both in one story. War and crime stories feature repeatedly. The histories are histories told from the perspective of the coloniser: …

The Semadeni Family of Te Atatū Peninsula

West Auckland was settled by many migrants from a variety of countries. One of those families was the Semadeni family from Switzerland who have lived on Te Atatū peninsula since 1910. Antonio Semadeni emigrated to New Zealand in 1860. One of the earliest mentions of him in records is in the Waipu area in 1864.

One of Antonio’s sons, Edward Adam Semadeni (1870 – 1931), a wood turner from Mount Eden and his wife Ethel Cozens (nee Probert) (1874 – 1933) acquired land in Harbour View Road seeking a rural farming life style in 1910.

Edward and Ethel completed building the brick house that was already on the land. The bricks came from many of the brickworks that existed in Te Atatū at that time giving it a patch work effect.

Edward Semadeni and his wife were devout Methodists. He was the Superintendent of Sunday School from 1910 - 1931 and his wife played the organ. The church services were held in the local school originally, until the old Methodist Church was built (the building next to t…

Can you help find Auckland’s 1960s music venues?

Gareth Shute is one of the Auckland Library Heritage Trust research scholars for 2018. His project is an online map for the NZ music history website,, of all the music venues that have existed in Auckland since the early 1900s. He hopes to find both information about and images of these venues through his time researching at Auckland Libraries.

We would love some of our readers to help him locate venues and try to identify some images.

Can anyone identify the locations and people shown in these images below?

Unless noted the bands are also unknown, so please let us know if you spot anyone you recognise. Our wish in displaying these photographs is for the people in the images to be reunited with their family, extended family and other people known to them.

There are a number of ways you can provide us with more information about these images. You can comment at the bottom of this page. You can click on the Heritage Images link which is included in the captions be…

Sounds like the sixties

C’mon back to a decade that rocked the status quo long before Madonna reinvented road cones. In the 'Sounds like the sixties' display at the Central City Library we looked at the 1960s pop music revolution through a local lens. A wave of bands and artists with names like Invaders, Typhoons, Tornados and Meteors would help permanently reshape the entertainment landscape. The climate was about to change and the radio dial was turned right up to cool.

The 1960s were a transitional time for New Zealand society. The Second World War was still relatively recent history and a generation who had lived through the horrors of that conflict were invested in maintaining economic stability and enjoying relative post-war prosperity. Before long however this sense of security was about to be shattered.

The arrival of a shaggy haired band from Britain, while an innocent enough event in itself, was something of a portent of things to come. Rock ‘n’ roll was soon to become the soundtrack to a dec…