Ngako: The Collections Podcast

Ngako: The Collections Talk is a documentary film and podcast series showcasing taonga in Auckland Libraries’ heritage and research collections. 

Explore the whole series in our current exhibition, on until 2 March 2024 at Tāmaki Pātaka Kōrero, the Central City Library.

This audio playlist contains all the episodes from Ngako: The Collections Podcast, where we explore items and stories from Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections.

Wanderlust - the war years

In this episode we find meaning and history in the Auckland Tramping Club’s newsletter Wanderlust. 

Archivist Sharon Smith shares insights gleaned from reading the Wanderlust magazine in the period of publication during the Second World War. 

We are also joined by current Auckland Tramping Club members, Ian, Anna and Dennis, on the Club’s programme of tramps and their preparation for the upcoming Club centenary celebrations.

Listen to the track here.

Ava, kava, kawa

In this episode we explore the world of ava through a printed text of Samoan solo (poems) and the experience of library specialists Nia Vavao and Pamata Toleafoa. 

We also visit Anau and Todd at the Four Shells Kava Lounge and learn how kava is integral to life across Te Moana-nui-ā-Kiwa and valued and enjoyed here in Tāmaki Makaurau.

Listen to the track here.

Sports writing in the mid-20th century

In this episode Curator Andrew Henry discusses sporting magazines from "the stack" and shares insights into how New Zealand sport was written about by journalists in the mid-20th century. 

We talk also with history student Katia Kennedy about her findings on the sports being played at that time, how these were viewed, and the culture around men's and women's sports participation.

Listen to the track here


In this episode we take a trip back in time to the Victorian craze for fern collecting and how Fernmania was documented. 

Curator Renée Orr describes the work of Herbert Dobbie and Eric Craig who collected and documented ferns of Aotearoa in the last part of the 19th century.  

We are also joined by contemporary print artist and book maker Makyla Curtis who shares her inspiration and print work using ferns.

Listen to the track here.

Beauty and the Beast 

In this episode we read Beauty and the Beast through four centuries of storytelling.

Curator Jane Wild describes the look and feel of the different stories in their time, how the style of writing and illustrative formats changed, and unfolds some exquisite paper engineering.

Children’s Librarian Clare Cudmore-Neame adds to the story by sharing her insights and experience of the role of fairytales for children today.

Listen to the track here.

Learning about Lapland in Rarotonga

In this episode we discuss a unique poster printed in Rarotonga in 1849. 

Liam Kokaua talks us through how this poster, Pepa 9, helped to introduce the people of Rarotonga to the Sámi people, who are indigenous to far north of Scandinavia. 

Curator Jane Wild adds to the story with an additional exploration into the research, the origins and the context of the poster printed in Rarotonga in 1849.  

Listen to the track here

Auckland poets and libraries

In this episode we make a connection with poetry, poets, and the Auckland Central Library.

Librarian Elspeth Orwin takes us on a journey beyond the poetry book collection by sharing the voices of poets who interestingly also have a strong association with Libraries.

We also meet and talk with poet and artist Ta Ilui who is both a regular Auckland Libraries user and who has contributed his own original work in the recent publication Rough Lives Speak.

Listen to the track here

Musical manuscripts

In this episode we’re tuning in to the music making of early colonial New Zealand.

We meet music librarian and curator Marilyn Portman to look at a collection of early music albums which were brought amongst personal possessions to Aotearoa, to become the soundtrack of life in the colony.

To bring the soundtrack to life, we meet up with musician Polly Sussex who demonstrates music making on a square piano by playing from the Auckland Libraries musical manuscript collection.

Listen to the track here

Ngako: The collections podcast was written and produced by Sue Berman, recorded and produced by Benjamin Brooking and edited and engineered by Juliana Machado.