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Topography, taonga and trailblazers

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The cancellation of this year's Heritage Festival prompted a challenge from one of our hoamahi | colleagues to the other members of our Heritage teams: "I would like to celebrate the Auckland Heritage Festival by posting one of my favourite items from our collections this week, and I would like to invite you all to take part. The themes, as per the banner below, are topography, taonga and trailblazers!" This resulted in an entertaining email thread that we thought was interesting enough to be shared more widely. This is a (lightly) edited version of the emails that followed. Let us know what your selections would be! Sharon I am going for topography. My favourite is this nice bright watercolour of North Head and Rangitoto, from a painting by Mrs Caroline Harriet Abraham. Image: Caroline Abraham, North Head and Rangitoto, 1850s, Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections 3-111-4. Kirsty Mine is this one of the Long Bay Motor Camp in 1959, from the North Shore collection.

A unique sound of Italian elegance: L’Addio by Raffaello Squarise

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For many years, Auckland Libraries has engaged with the music loving community by providing opportunities for musicians to perform at our Thursday Heritage Concerts series. At these concerts, our local musicians, and even some from overseas, have showcased their prodigious talent and highlighted a wonderful and varied musical repertoire – the vast majority of which the Library holds in our extensive music collection. We have had the joy of hearing beautiful interpretations of well loved works and had the privilege to hear lesser known works we would not have heard otherwise. One example being Purcell’s Harpsichord Master which was wonderfully presented by Peter and Katharine Watts in our concert series in 2019. Auckland Libraries holds the only extant copy of this work, first published in 1697. It was so exciting to hear it brought to life by such experts. I thought that this time in lockdown would be the perfect opportunity to reflect and take a look back on another special performanc

A ride on the Devonport horse Tramway

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 James D Richardson, "A woman and a girl beside the Devonport and Lake Takapuna Tramway tracks at Duders Beach, ca 1890". Auckland Libraries Heritage collections 4-3032. Spring 1886 heralded a long-awaited event for the people of Devonport. For three years, the community had discussed the merits of a horse tramway, but a false start, funding problems, and disputes with the local government delayed the opening of the first section of the Devonport and Lake Takapuna Tramway until Saturday, 25 September. Contract Plan of Devonport Tramway First Section, 23 November 1885. Courtesy Archives New Zealand R1947629. The inaugural run across the first section, between Victoria Wharf and Cheltenham Beach, was a publicity stunt intended to drum up sales of shares as much as to open the line. Reports of the event provide some of our only clues into the operation and quality of the tramway. Journalists noted that the “line is level for nearly the whole distance…and judging from the smoothn

The archive of Jean Wishart

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Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections recently acquired the archives of Miss Jean Wishart (1920-2016) who for over thirty years edited the New Zealand Woman’s Weekly . Wishart was a career journalist who lived and breathed the Weekly , making it the go-to read for generations of New Zealanders. Wishart began her journalism career when she joined New Zealand Newspapers in 1939. She soon worked at the Weekly itself, and in 1952 rose to the position of editor. She had wanted to write and work in publishing—her father was a printer—and had even contributed to the magazine’s children’s section, the Pixie Pages. It must have been a dream-come-true to work at that very magazine and to take readership to record levels over her thirty plus years at the helm. Image: From the Jean Wishart papers, a photograph of Jean Wishart, third from left, and colleagues with a cake to celebrate the readership of the New Zealand Woman's Weekly reaching 200,000. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, N

The 1990 project – people, places, animals and cars

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Back in 1989 and 1990 the Auckland Public Library commissioned two projects to mark the national sesquicentenary a.k.a. 150 years since 1840 when Te Tiriti o Waitangi was signed and recognised as our founding document. This documentary initiative was named 'The 1990 Project', and aimed to record the look and feel of Auckland through oral history and documentary photography.  Image: Stuart Page. Carefully pruned trees, Panmure, 1989. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, 273-PAG005-06 . The oral histories focus on eastern suburbs, Glen Innes, and Panmure and were recorded from 1989 through to 1992. Originally recorded on cassette, these interviews have been digitised and are described on Kura Heritage Collections Online . Some of the audio is online: you can hear the  Rev Leiite Setefano talk about travelling from Samoa to Wellington , and  Aneta Jean Hart's account of moving from rural Taranaki to Auckland . In a HeritageTalk recorded during lockdown in April 2020 Megan