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Showing posts from February, 2020

“The Time of Natures Trial”- Childbirth in New Zealand

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Every day, there are around 168 new babies born in New Zealand. 2020 is the International Year of the Midwife and to acknowledge the hard work and dedication that midwives demonstrate in their work, I thought it would be nice to delve into and share a snippet of the history of midwifery in New Zealand.


Nineteenth Century  In the nineteenth century, Māori birthing practices differed greatly from those of the newly arriving Europeans. Alison Clarke explores these differences in her book “Born to a Changing World: Childbirth in Nineteenth Century New Zealand”. She writes that many Māori women would give birth outside, with the assistance of another person if it was her first child, but often alone if it was not her first birth. If the woman was from a chiefly family, her labour and birth would take place in a whare kōhanga, or nest house, which was a specifically built, temporary shelter. Births took place outdoors and away from the kāinga because the process of childbirth was a highly ta…

The Tantalizing Language of the Arts

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Arts journals have been published in Aotearoa since 1928 - two began as humble newsletters that have grown into mainstays of today’s arts world (Art News New Zealand and Art New Zealand), but most lasted for just a few issues. A selection of these journals, drawn from the Angela Morton Room’s rich archival material, will be on display in Te Pātaka Toi | Art Library, Level 1, Takapuna Library, until 1 May.

Whilst artists are central in the arts community, these journals form an important part of the network that nurtures and celebrates them. The editors of our first arts journal, Art in New Zealand, aimed “to set new standards and spur practitioners to sturdier effort to attain those standards” (Vol. 1 No. 1, 1928). “In this country, newspaper art notices are… more kindly than constructively critical. They spread praise lavishly, and dispraise is a rarety… such notices impart no stimulus to an art that needs stimulating…. They may merely narcoticise the artist into the belief that he …

An archival celebration for Auckland Pride 2020

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To celebrate Auckland Pride 2020 (1–16 February) and support the library’s events for this festival, I have selected three Archives & Manuscripts collections from Auckland Libraries’ Heritage Collections to highlight. This includes the archival records of gay groups, as well as those with components that touch on matters relevant to rainbow communities.

The first of these three collections is the Auckland Lesbian Archives (NZMS 1184). It comprises individual collections of lesbian archives, papers relating to the formation of the Lesbe-Friends of the Archives Trust, publications and posters, and spans the period from 1985-1995. If you are interested in finding out more, this archive has an inventory or listing you can browse online.

In order to give a bit of a background to this collection, we need to go back to the 1990s. In 1992-1993, a collective was formed from various women’s groups, including Lesbian Support Groups. These groups had been operating from the Auckland Women'…