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Showing posts from December, 2019

Sixty Years of Wedding Bouquets

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Summer in New Zealand also means wedding season, and who doesn’t love a good wedding? A chance to don your fanciest dress, celebrate your loved ones and kick up your heels. We all know that weddings can be a simple affair or as elaborate as the mind can imagine, but one feature that usually makes an appearance is the bridal bouquet.

I was browsing the ‘recently added’ section of Kura Heritage Collection Online one day and I stumbled across this stunning image which depicts a portrait of a bride and groom dating to the 1920s. They are standing side by side, the groom in his sharp black suit with his hands behind his back; his new bride to his left. There is confetti on the ground in front of them. The bride's dress is a long sleeve, ankle length satin gown with a subtle damask pattern throughout. She has paired it with an ankle-length Juliet cap veil and satin court shoes. To top it all off, she is adorned head to toe in flowers.

She has two floral headpieces of orange blossom on e…

Fun & games exhibition

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Fun & games was a free exhibition of games, books, photos, manuscripts, and more drawn from Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections around the region. It opened on 11 December 2019 and ran until 1 March 2020 at Tāmaki Pātaka Kōrero | Central City Library.


What games did your great-great-grandparents play? What are your favourite games to play today? Children of every time, place, and culture have loved to play. Some games endure across the generations and are handed down through families, while others emerge and transform, or are forgotten as technology, society, and childhood change. They in turn help shape our culture and communities and the stories of Tāmaki Makaurau.






Come into the gallery on Level 2, remember some old games and learn about some new ones. Use the blackboard to leave us a note about games you like. Read the colourful quotes on the walls and an instruction book for board games from 1786, see some 19th century knights on horseback with a royal connection, learn ab…

Urban renewal and town planning in Auckland and Wellington – then and now

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During the late nineteenth century, uncontrolled urban development in Auckland resulted in cramped inner-city houses built along narrow streets and lanes. These small houses were usually serviced by cesspits or insanitary drains and sewers, and often had backyard middens. Even in the early twentieth century, large blocks of such substandard housing remained in the central city not far from Queen Street.

However, since the 1870s, city officials had been urging that modern cities needed to be planned and developed in a more orderly, tidy, sanitary and visually attractive way. Responding to current town planning ideas, in 1911, the New Zealand Graphic began a new social crusade. It informed its shocked middle-class readers that working-class housing fit only for demolition festered as close at hand as mid-city Federal and Cook Streets, and in upper-city Alexandra Street. And there were other poor housing areas at the western ends of Victoria and Wellesley Streets too. Below are some of t…

Robinson Crusoe: legacies that must be displaced

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2019 marks 300 years since the publication of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, or, to use the full title: The life and strange surprizing adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, mariner: who lived eight and twenty years all alone in an un-inhabited island on the coast of America, near the mouth of the great river of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, wherein all the Men perished but himself. With an Account how he was at last as strangely deliver'd by Pyrates. Written by himself.


Robinson Crusoe was a great commercial success for its publisher William Taylor, who published three subsequent editions of the book by hitherto political journalist and pamphleteer Defoe, as well as The farther adventures, a sequel, in the same year of 1719. Michael Schmidt, in The Novel : a biography(2014), outlines Robinson Crusoe’s success: “released on April 25, it was reprinted seventeen days later, again after twenty-five more days, then again on August 8.” Claiming to be autobiograph…