Monday, April 21, 2014


Although Easter still has religious significance for many people, for others it is an opportunity to have a holiday and enjoy the last few rays of  the Kiwi autumn before the long winter months set in. Events such as race meetings, day trips, tramps, horticultural shows and sports tournaments are often held over the Easter period. And of course there is the obligatory hot cross buns and Easter egg eating!

You can use the Ephemera Index to search for heritage related resources at Auckland Libraries such as information about Easter shows and Easter cards. The Manuscripts Online database has letters and other unpublished material relating to Easter. This includes a letter from Bishop Selwyn to Sir George Grey in 1883, in which he discusses grass seeds and advises Grey that he will be in Auckland over Easter (GLNZ S17.2). Simply enter Easter into the keyword search box of both databases and have a browse.

In the meantime, here is a selection for you to flick through in the meantime - best enjoyed with some chocolate egg in your hand!

Kiwi Easter egg (not that we are suggesting you should eat a kiwi egg but it did seem a festive photo!):

Ref: James D Richardson, stereoscope showing kiwi and a kiwi egg in a display case, c. 1930s, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-8535

Friday, April 18, 2014

John and Jessie Barr in Auckland: Scots Wha Hae

As posted earlier on Heritage et AL (see the post on 14th April), John Barr (Chief Librarian at Auckland Public Library 1913-1952) and his wife Jessie came to live in Auckland in the early 20th century. Like many immigrants they remained attached to their home country, Scotland, while also becoming increasingly engaged with the history, life and culture of their new home in Auckland. They were very active members of the Auckland St Andrews Society.

As secretary of the St Andrews Society in 1919, John Barr took care of many of the arrangements for the installation of J.M. Mennie’s gift to Auckland of a Robert Burns statue (ref: Auckland Star, 03 May 1919, p.11). The statue was installed and unveiled in Auckland Domain in 1921 (ref: New Zealand Herald, 5 November 1921, p. 8).

Ref: Frederick George Radcliffe, statue of Burns, Auckland Domain, c. 1921, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 35-R142
Jessie performed in the St Andrews Society production of “Bunty Pulls the Strings” in 1928. The play was written by a Scot - it depicted Scottish life 60 years previously, and had “humour and heart”. It was performed for 4 nights at the Auckland Town Hall Concert Chamber (ref: Auckland Star, 21 July 1928, p.22;  Auckland Star, 13 July 1928, p.3).