Posts

Digital access to historic Aotearoa arts journal

Image
One of the country’s earliest arts journals,  Art in New Zealand,  will be digitised and made freely available to search on Papers Past . The seventy issues of Art in New Zealand (1928–1946) and its successor the Year Book (1945-1951) are treasure for Aotearoa art history researchers and enthusiasts. Image: Cover of Art in New Zealand , December 1942. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections. Established by publisher Harry Tombs, Art in New Zealand aimed to improve standards of art criticism, generate discussion and improve on the art notices in local newspapers that were “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 has ‘arrived,’ or at least is ‘arriving’.” The editors also wanted to provide a forum that would help nurture art unique to New Zealand. “Glancing round annual exhibitions in the Dominion

Lizzie Frost Rattray: journalist, suffragist and welfare worker

Image
Journalism was a paid employment option for some tough and dedicated women in nineteenth-century Aotearoa. However, many women journalists had to remain freelancers. Lizzie Frost Rattray became one of the first women in New Zealand to become an employed, professional journalist. Lizzie Frost Fenton was born on 22 March 1855 in Dunedin. She was educated in England and France, and returned to Auckland in 1881, where she took charge of the Young Women’s Institute, which was a forerunner of the YWCA. Image: New Zealand Graphic. Mrs Lizzie Frost Rattray, 1892. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, NZG-18920723-735-1. Lizzie was also involved with the Girls’ Friendly Society which gave assistance to girls and young women immigrating to Auckland. Image: New Zealand Graphic. The Girls’ Friendly Society, 1909. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, NZG-19090901-31-4. On 1 March 1883, Lizzie Frost Fenton married William Rattray, a prominent Auckland draper. Rattray was the honorary secreta

‘Kia Kaha Puke: we’ve got this!’ Exhibitions reflecting on COVID-19 during Matariki 2021

Image
When Denise Matene designed her COVID-19 photography exhibition, currently showing at Franklin Arts Centre in Pukekohe, she imagined there could be a part of the gallery for the community to add their stories. Matene and staff from Franklin Arts Centre connected with Tracey Aramoana, kaiako from Pukekohe Intermediate School, Debra Vonk from Pukekohe Library, and Sharon Smith, Senior Librarian, Archives and Manuscripts at Tāmaki Pātaka Kōrero | Central City Library, to make the exhibition 'Reflections’ happen as a whole community event. 'Reflections' combines interactive questions to the public, a video by Pukekohe Intermediate School rangatahi and a sample of Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections’ region-wide archive of COVID-19 memories. This exhibition is on display till Thursday 22 July. Matene’s ‘Kia Kaha Puke: we’ve got this!’ exhibition portrays daily life in Pukekohe during the first COVID-19 lockdown and reveals her wonderful way with colour. This exhibition is o

The Gordons 'S/T' LP and Tall Dwarfs' 'Hello Cruel World'

Image
In this final blog for New Zealand Music Month we continue our celebration of the vinyl in our Heritage Collections, where you'll find LPs and 45s of every musical genre, from the 1950s to the present day. Today we land in the 80s, as Andrew reviews LPs from The Gordons and the Tall Dwarfs.  THE GORDONS S/T LP Image: The Gordons. 1988. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections . Getting reissued any day now, here’s the 1980s noise rock debut album that trainspotters get all wound up about in the NZ stakes of early angular art punk. The Gordons, renowned practitioners of the loud and battering, augmenting live shows and venues’ PAs, with their own hot rodded, customised PA stacks, to present spectacles of sonics not usually encountered in the NewZild landscape. This album carves, scratches, scrapes, and bubbles away, riding busy grooves, droning tones, rubbery bass, hiccupping drums, and drawling, wafting, sometimes softly mumbling vocals. Could be called, that the album is a more nua

i.e. crazy - Non Compos Mentis. A dark masterpiece revisited

Image
This year for New Zealand Music month we’re focusing on our vinyl collection at Auckland Libraries’ Heritage Collections. This collection of NZ LPs and 45s  (also known as 7-inch records) covers the gamut of musical genres and time periods from the 1950s right up to current releases. That’s right – we buy new release vinyl for our Heritage Collections! To celebrate this cool collection we asked a couple of our Central Library colleagues to review some of their favourites. Here's Dedee's review of Non Compos Mentis  by i.e. crazy . Image; Album cover photo by Sean Kelly & Frances Libeau, 2017. At the time of writing, this album had just turned four.  Non Compos Mentis by  i.e. crazy was released on Muzai Records on April 21, 2017. Hard to believe only four years has passed. Feels like much longer, so much has happened since then. But it also seems quite timely to revisit this dark masterpiece, as it turns out i.e. crazy (Frances Libeau) is gearing up to release some new mate

Drumroll! Bruce Fuller, Rudy & the Crystals, and The Ensigns in the 1960s

Image
It is the fascinating, and sometimes humorous stories behind some of the donations that we receive at Auckland Libraries that adds intrinsic value and interest to our collections. Recently, I had great joy in discovering the back story to a small donation of 45rpm (also known as 7-inch) records donated by drummer Bruce Fuller. The donation of these early New Zealand recordings was accompanied by letters describing his memories of playing in covers bands in the 1960s Auckland music scene. I have incorporated Bruce’s memories into this blog post. A young and bright-eyed Bruce Fuller stepped in to a vibrant Auckland music scene after he started taking lessons from legendry drummer Frank Gibson (Senior). Fuller was fortunate to meet Rudy and Hugo Spemann - the Spemann brothers often played for Bill Sevisi. Friends Jason Hiko (guitar), Neil Johnson (bass), and Brian Prout (second guitarist) also joined the trio and 'Rudy & the Crystals' was born. This was in 1960-1961 when rock

Books become music: a century of music score covers

Image
A corner of the upper basement at the Central City Library is home to a substantial part of Auckland Libraries’ extensive sheet music collection. At any one time the mechanical tick of the lights on timers, the thrum of air conditioning units, thud of escalators from floors above, or the slow rattle of movable shelving creates a veritable symphony.  Image: Early twentieth century music scores, 1900 – 1930s. The first music score collection in a public library in Australasia was established in 1928, after Auckland Public Library’s chief librarian John Barr and Auckland Councillor Alfred Eady (whose father Lewis owned a music shop on Karangahape Road ) worked together to form a base collection of 1,181 items. This has grown to over 33,000 items, the majority of which are held at the Central City Library and are available to be borrowed. Sheet music or music scores are typically volumes of musical notation used by musicians to record, guide, or perform a piece of music, existing in a ran