A Bridge Too Far? [Auckland Harbour Bridge Part 1]

Sunday, 31 May 1959 marked a turning point in the history of Tāmaki Makaurau. After a century of dreaming, campaigning, planning, and politicking, a bridge finally connected Auckland City to the North Shore of the Waitematā. Throughout that time, ten formal proposals were submitted to local councils or the Government, at least as many bridge and tunnel designs were sketched, and endless amounts of ink were spilled arguing the topic on paper. However, the history of a bridge across the Waitematā does not begin with an ambitious Pākehā proposal published in a newspaper; rather, its origins are a narrative passed down through the generations from the earliest Māori who called the Tāmaki isthmus home. Image: Whites Aviation. View of Westmere with Meola Reef stretching across the Waitemat ā at low tide, May 1946. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections 580-ALB22-026.   A long time ago, there was a war on the Waitematā between two iwi of the night-dwelling, fairy-like patuapaiarehe. One iwi

Portal to a brighter day [Auckland Harbour Bridge Part 3]

From 1955 to 1959, Aucklanders watched as a bridge gradually began to take shape across their harbour. The Waitematā, beautiful and usually so serene, was transformed into a stage for one of the largest and most complex construction projects in New Zealand’s history. Those on the quiet North Shore were particularly affected. Where residents of Northcote Point might once have looked over a tranquil harbour scene to the city on the opposite shore, their view now bustled with building activity. For those who lived in close proximity, excitement about the construction might quickly have worn off, but for plenty of Aucklanders, the project’s progress was a matter of ongoing fascination. In 1957, a watchman at the Northcote building site reported that as many as 50 sightseers would clamour to the area during weekends. Much larger numbers visited on the city side. Image: Jack Kirk. Aucklanders look on as the pick-a-back span is moved into place, 1958. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections,

To Cross the Waitematā [Auckland Harbour Bridge Part 2]

 Opened in 1959, the Auckland Harbour Bridge is a distinctive and crucial piece of infrastructure. The incident in September 2020 when a truck was tipped over by a strong wind gust, causing damage to the bridge structure and creating traffic chaos, showed how reliant we are on our main harbour crossing. Currently, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and Auckland Transport are looking at alternative harbour crossings. Some of the suggestions mentioned in the media, including a proposal for a tunnel under the harbour are not exactly new ideas. In fact, the first proposal for a harbour bridge dates to 1860, and the topic was raised many times in the century that followed. Auckland’s traffic woes and the debate about how efficiently to move people across the Waitematā Harbour is an age-old issue which can be seen in various documents held in the Archives. Image: St Mary’s Bay looking towards Auckland Harbour Bridge, 1981 (Auckland Council Archives, Auckland City Council photographic department

Merrilands Garden Suburb

We have to announce that the Merrilands Garden Suburb, Auckland’s most glorious heritage, situated on the green, grassy slopes of One Tree Hill is at last thrown open to the public and the choice of this, the finest and largest subdivision, ever offered in Auckland is now to be yours.” (Advertisement, Auckland Star, 7 December 1923) Merrilands! It was the name given to a 500-section subdivision on the slopes of Maungakiekie/One Tree Hill, that ran down towards Mt Smart Road, and was promoted by its developers as a Garden Suburb. With visions of green spaces and healthy living it would have tapped into the awareness of overcrowding and unsatisfactory housing conditions that were ripe not only in Auckland but in other parts of the country, too.  Image: Backyard of the same houses at the head of Blind Lane, Wellington, Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections NZG-19110719-0021-02 In the 1920s, Merrilands wasn’t the only new subdivision to be promoted as a garden suburb. In 1922 advertiseme

‘How to Enjoy Perfect Health:’ The Roots of Intermittent Fasting

One diet trend that has attracted a lot of attention in recent years is Intermittent Fasting .  Unsurprisingly, given the diet trend’s name, Intermittent Fasting, or Time Restricted Eating as it is also known, requires adherents to eat within a specific window during the day. Usually, this means following a 16:8 pattern, where an individual fasts for 16 hours and eats only within an eight-hour window. Others follow a 5:2 pattern, where one eats as they normally would for five days of the week, and restricts their intake significantly on the other two days.  Naysayers might say intermittent fasting is simply a fancy term for intentionally skipping breakfast. But advocates of intermittent fasting in today’s wellness and fitness communities say that it is a therapeutic tool that activates your body’s ability to ' reverse your age and prevent disease .' Fasting has a long history, with roots in various cultures and religious traditions. In religious contexts, fasting holds signific

Auckland Library Heritage Trust John Stacpoole Scholarships 2024

The Auckland Library Heritage Trust is a charitable trust that supports Auckland Libraries and Auckland Council to preserve, care for, add to, and promote Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections for the benefit of the people of Auckland. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections is one of New Zealand's key research destinations. It was originally established when Sir George Grey, a 19th-century Governor of New Zealand and later Premier, gifted his significant collection to the city of Auckland in the 1880s and has continued to grow since this time. The collections include photographs, maps, oral histories, manuscripts and archives, rare books and medieval manuscripts, ephemera and music; as well as Māori and Pacific heritage collections in all formats.  The Heritage Collections are held principally at the Central City Library.  Online access is provided through our collections website Kura Heritage Collections Online , the Auckland Libraries Catalogue , and Digital NZ .  Image: A bir

Faddist or Forward-Thinker? Dove-Myer Robinson and Mid - Twentieth Century Health Reform

Image: Auckland City Council. Sir Dove-Myer Robinson. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections 580-79140B. Sir Dove-Myer Robinson has been remembered as a visionary environmentalist, who was ahead of his time. Robinson, or ‘Robbie’ as he became known, entered Auckland’s political scene in the 1940s, when he opposed the Brown’s Island plan that would have dumped untreated sewage into the Waitematā Harbour. He was elected to the Auckland City Council in 1953 and later served as Deputy Mayor. In 1959, he took on the role of Mayor of Auckland, and was the longest-serving mayor in the city's history, across two terms from 1959-1965 and 1968-1980.  Known for his charismatic and gregarious personality, Robinson was often seen riding a bicycle around the city or walking from his home in Remuera to the Town Hall shirtless, earning him the title of Auckland’s ‘Topless Mayor’.  Robinson was a strong advocate for urban planning and helped to improve the city’s bus and rail services. His effort