Showing posts from December, 2016

Auckland’s 1960s American-style shopping malls

New Zealand’s first American-style shopping centre LynnMall opened on 30 October 1963. A 110 foot tower with a flashing red beacon marked the site which had previously been a swampy, seven-acre scrub-covered paddock. LynnMall offered a relaxed, traffic-free arrangement of shops around a weather-proof courtyard with a fountain, flowers and trees. There was plenty of seating, a free children’s play area and 500 free car parks. Three of the city’s largest retailers anchored the centre - Farmers, Milne & Choyce and Woolworths - and were complemented by 43 specialty shops such as La Gonda Fashion, Kean’s, Starforme Foundations, Masco and Curtaincraft. Ref: J. T. Diamond, LynnMall from Farmers end, November 1963, Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, JTD-11A-02070-2 In 1965 the corner-stone was laid for a second Auckland shopping mall developed by the same company – Southmall. Farmers and Woolworths were already signed up and soon joined by a Four Square supermarket. Specialty

The great war for New Zealand, Waikato 1800-2000 / Vincent O’Malley

Ref: Vincent O'Malley. The great war for New Zealand, Waikato 1800-2000,  Bridget Williams Books, 2016, Auckland Libraries, 993.3 OMAL. On 12 July 1863 British Imperial Army troops crossed the Mangatāwhiri River which marked the boundary between British occupied territory and land under the authority of the Kingitanga (the Māori King movement). The crossing of this boundary by military troops, just south of the city of Auckland, was a declaration of war. The invasion of the Waikato had begun. Ref: Sketch map of the North Island of New Zealand, shewing approximately the loyal and rebel districts, 1869, Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, Map 2563a.   Vincent O’Malley’s latest work The great war for New Zealand: Waikato 1800-2000 provides a vast repository of research to support his view that the Waikato war, the epicentre of the New Zealand land wars, was the defining conflict in the history of Aotearoa New Zealand. He believes that the war had a greater impact o

The life and times of the Farmers Santa

The team who built the giant Farmers Santa in 1960 would be amazed at the icon’s fluctuating fortunes . The statue enjoyed a 30 year run until the store’s Hobson Street site was sold (now the Heritage Hotel). He relocated to the Manukau Shopping Centre and was sacked for being too tatty, then taken apart and left in a rigger’s yard. Santa was later sold for $1; renovated for $40,000; restored again for $100,000; and had his winking eye and beckoning finger removed. He was the world’s largest fibreglass Santa in 1960; and crowned the world’s creepiest Christmas ornament in 2011. Ref: Coloured postcard of the Farmers Trading Company, 1970s, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 9-1.

Quaker collection

The Society of Friends or Quaker Collection makes up a part of our rare books collection. It was initially accepted on deposit in 1973 and then gifted to Auckland Libraries in 1995 for safe keeping for posterity. The collection came from the library of the Society of Friends in Auckland, and consists of some 300 books including a copy of the Breeches Bible printed in 1608 and another Bible printed in 1653. Other rare and significant works form part of this collection including 43 books printed before 1801. As one would expect, most items in the Quaker Collection are concerned either with the history, principles and precepts of the Society of Friends or with the lives of outstanding Quaker personalities. These include a well-worn copy of George Fox’s Journal printed in London in 1694. George Fox was a founder of the Society of Friends and his journal is a central document in Quakerism. Image: George Fox, A journal or historical account of the life, travels, sufferings etc. 1694. Auc

A gold mine not to be overlooked

When sorting through some books that had been donated to us, a while back, I came across a copy of NZ Pioneers’ & Descendants’ Club Inc. Silver Jubilee 1939-1964 booklet of which there are several copies in the libraries’ collection. This small publication runs to 63 pages and probably would not attract the attention of many if seen on the library's catalogue or a shelf somewhere. How wrong we would be to disregard this little gem! It gives a brief history of the club and why it was set up: "To create the spirit of friendship; To get memories of the early days published in detail…" The rest of the booklet offers much for those whose forebears either belonged to the club or are the subjects of the histories included.  There is a list of present and past officers, list of current members and date when forebear arrived, ships date of arrival and member’s name, alphabetical list of surnames mentioned in articles followed by many brief details about (mainly grandp