Showing posts from May, 2013

Voyaging waka return

Last week the waka hourua Te Aurere and Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti sailed in to Mangonui, Northland.  They were returning to Aotearoa after a 10 month round-trip voyage to Rapanui. What makes this voyage significant is that it was completed in traditionally-built double-hulled voyaging waka using traditional, non-instrument means of navigation.  The stars, moon, sun, ocean currents, bird and marine life of the oceans and guided the waka crew.  This 10,000 mile route has not been attempted for hundreds of years.

Since the 1960s, there has been a revival of investigation and interest into traditional navigation and Pacific voyaging techniques and technologies.  The Central Auckland Research Centre holds several books in its Te Kohinga Matua section that document studies which have strengthened the knowledge in this area.

This voyage, named Waka Tapu, was the dream of Doubtless Bay master waka-builder Hekenukumai Busby, who built and carved the waka hourua.  The waka which brought early Polyn…

A heritage celebration of Samoan Language Week

Talofa lava, Samoan Language Week is being celebrated this year from Sunday 26 May to Saturday 1 June 2013 (Samoan Independence Day). It is a time to recognise, support and help maintain the Samoan language and its use in New Zealand by Samoan Aucklanders and others.The nationwide theme this year is ‘Fafaga fanau i upu ma tala. Tautala i lau gagana’ or ‘Feed the children with words and stories. Speak your language’.

The Poll Tax in New Zealand

I became curious about the poll tax when a customer requested a book by Nigel Murphy called 'The Poll Tax in New Zealand' (1994). The research and writing of this book was commissioned by the New Zealand Chinese Association. The book highlights the NZ government's involvement in discrimination against Chinese settlers and the hardships they suffered as a result of the steep poll tax they had to pay when moving to NZ (see post on 19 March 2013)..

The NZ government introduced the poll tax in 1881. Under the Chinese Immigrants Act only Chinese immigrants had to pay the poll tax. The tax was a response to anti-Chinese attitudes in European settler society after an economic slump and increasing competition for jobs.

Researcher in residence

Are you really into NZ and its heritage and raring to get into some research? Then keep reading, this is what you have been waiting for!

The Auckland Library Heritage Trust, in association with Auckland Council, is offering a new research scholarship using the Sir George Grey Special Collections at the Central City Library. Unique opportunities like this don't come along very often. So if you want to immerse yourself in one of the major collections in NZ, find out more about Grey’s wonderful legacy and focus on a research project, then look no further!

International Day for Monuments & Sites and the Matakana Island school

International Day for Monuments & Sites is a World Heritage Day that highlights and celebrates the different aspects of heritage. It is organised by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS).

The day was celebrated on 18 April and the theme this year was 'The Heritage of Education'. This was something which the New Zealand Historic Places Trust (NZHPT) felt that the Matakana Island community in the Bay of Plenty had a lot to celebrate. Te Kotukutuku School House on the island is one of the few surviving pre 1900 Native school houses in NZ. The building has been recently registered as a Historic Place Category 1 and was built on land donated by local iwi.

Mills and Boon as a pop culture icon

The romance covers of Mills and Boon novels are becoming increasingly recognisable as icons of pop culture. Given the Auckland Readers and Writers festival has been on, we decided to pay homage to Kiwi romance authors with a display at the Central Auckland Research Center.

In the display are covers from the 1960s through to the 1990s. Covers that graced the books of authors such as Gloria Bevan, Robyn Donald, and the iconic Queen of Kiwi romance, Essie Summers are all represented. Also exhibited are some covers from Ivy Preston who, while not a Mills and Boon author, wrote for the English publisher Robert Hale.

Papers Past

Papers Past contains the digitised content from key New Zealand newspapers and periodicals. It's a veritable treasure trove!

Overall content in Papers Past covers the years from 1839 to 1945 and includes 77 publications from all regions of New Zealand. And all of this content is fully searchable using a basic keyword search or a more advanced search option, which allows you to narrow your search down using dates and content type (e.g. articles, adverts).

Papers Past have recently added 40 years worth of the New Zealand Herald, covering the period from 1885 to1924. Content on the system starts in 1863, when the paper was established. Previous installments of digitised content, (as mentioned in blog post on 8 August 2013), took the reader up to 1864, so it is great to have to have the start of the 20th century added.

Dunedin City Library's manuscripts get a social media makeover

Dunedin City Library's have put images of their  medieval manuscripts from the Alfred and Isabel Reed Collection onto Flickr. The old way of getting the word out meets the new! Find out more about this project.
The images include a selection from each bound manuscript, and the front and back (or recto/verso if you want to use the fancy terminology) of each individual leaf and fragment. Images are divided into collections and sets.

 The site was created to promote and provide virtual access to one of New Zealand's largest collections of medieval manuscripts. One of the collection highlights includes a leaf and bifolium from a 9th century Bible in Carolingian script (RMMF 1a and 1b), which are among the oldest manuscript leaves in the country.


The Sir George Grey Special Collections at the Central City Library holds the archive of Broadsheet magazine as well as copies of  items such as the magazine, letters, posters, Broadsheet was a feminist magazine focusing on women's issues, publishedin New Zealand between 1973-1997.

On display in the reading room cabinet at the moment, is a selection of photographs from the recently acquired photographic print archive of the magazine. The display includes images of protest events, notably by New Zealand women, and of the interior of an early incarnation of the Broadsheet bookshop. This bookshop eventually became 'The Women's Bookshop' which is now located on Ponsonby Road.

WW2 diary reveals what life was like inside POW camps

Margaret Pollock found the tattered blue diary of her late father Laurence after his death in 1989 in amongst newspaper clippings and POW artefacts. The diary details Laurence's time in German, Polish and Italian POW camps during WW2. Laurence  was serving in the 20th Battalion, 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Forces in North Africa when he was captured by German forces. He risk his life to record the horrific and harrowing conditions inside the camps.

NZ Music Month

NZ Music Month (1-31 May) is Auckland Libraries' annual month-long celebration of what music means to Kiwis. The library offers a wide range of free music services, and NZ Music Month is a great time to explore what we have to offer. Check out the events that are happening during the month.

The Auckland Libraries' catalogue includes a large range of printed music resources in the heritage collections around the region. Whilst the Heritage Images, Manuscripts Online and Ephemera Index databases showcase the photographs, unpublished material (such as letters), posters, music programnes and other musical content in the Sir George Grey Special Collections at the Central City Library (just enter the keyword music into the search boxes of the databases).

Remember the mix tape? Well, if you are feeling all nostalgic for the inventive arrangement of music that you used to put together as a kid to impress someone or show them that you cared, then check out Alexander Turnbull Library…

Psalm book up for auction

A rare American psalm book is to be auctioned in November this year, by the Old South Church in Boston. Only 11 out of of the 1,700 copies that were printed in 1640 have survived. A previous copy came up at auction in 1947 and raised $151,000 US and this latest copy is expected to raise $30 million US.

The 'Bay Psalm Book' is said to be the first ever bound book printed in the new world. The book was printed in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for the congregationalist puritans using funds, a printing press, paper and printer all sent from England. By 1700, Boston had over from Oxford and Cambridge to become the second most productive printing centre, just behind London.

Money from the sale of the psalm book will be used by the church for outreach programmes and towards the upkeep of the historic church. The book will tour America before being auctioned by Sotheby's in New York.

Auckland Libraries holds a 1956 copy of the 'Bay Psalm Book' in the Sir George Grey Special C…

The Panmure Swing Bridge gets a spruce up

Panmure Swing Bridge has a stable future. One of the council's more unusual heritage assets is currently undergoing maintenance in good time for its upcoming 150th anniversary.

Panmure Swing Bridge, also known as the Tamaki River Bridge (which is actually the third bridge in this location), was constructed in 1864-1865. It had 18 fixed spans and one swinging section that could be opened to let ships pass.

After closing in 1916, the main surviving components are a stone abutment, the turning mechanism and the swinging section. These remains are protected in the legacy Manukau City District Plan (Id no: 64, p.29)and Regional Plan: Coastal (Id no: 136, p.336), as well as under the Historic Places Act as an archaeological site.

Mix & Mash - the competition is on!

Calling all creative types,  Digital NZ, Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand, the National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga O Aotearo Want You!

Mix & Mash is on the hunt for your compelling narratives. Mix and what .........? A mashup is a web page, site or application made by combining data or functionality from two or more sources to create something new. A remix is a new version of a song, book, picture, video (you name it) made by adding to, or otherwise changing the original version (licence permitting of course). Its a bit like cooking, you add in the ingredients, throw in some imagination and wait and see what you get!

Stoney Homestead

Stoney Homestead is situated at 12 Galbraith Greens in Silverdale. The earliest part of the building was built on a different site nearby by William Galbraith in 1858 and was known as Galbraith Cottage. The cottage was later moved up the hill and positioned next to the first part of the Stoney Homestead, which was built in its current location in 1866.

The building was sold later on to Major Henry Butler Stoney. The Stoney family made several additions to the original cottage spread over four phases, which were undertaken to accommodate the growing Stoney family. Remains of outbuildings and the mature garden can also be seen today at the site.

Major Stoney was a soldier and politician. He was also the writer of what is claimed to be the first NZ novel by someone resident in NZ. Entitled 'Taranaki: a Tale of the War' the novel was issued in 1861. Stoney was born in County Mayo, Ireland, in 1816. After arriving in NZ in 1860, he saw service in Taranaki and the Waikato. He al…