Friday, 28 June 2013

NZ Truth comes full circle 1905-2013

Truth was the first New Zealand newspaper to attempt national distribution and within two years claimed to sell 40,000 copies a week. During its lifetime circulation rose to 240,000 and shrank to 12,000 as a result of its news scoops – both popular and unpopular – and the country’s changing economic and social structures.

By 1926 Truth was the country’s biggest seller with circulation approaching 70,000. It ran an influential business page, motoring section, sports (including the ever popular “Turf tips”) and reviews for film, theatre and literature.

Ref: 1-W1382, Premises of the New Zealand Truth, 1914, Sir George Grey Special Collections
Sales remained buoyant until the Depression - although it still had the largest and most widely distributed circulation in the country.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

De bello Judaico

'De bello Judaico' was a popular text with scholars throughout the Middle Ages and early Renaissance. It tells the history of the Jewish rebellion against the Roman overlords during the reign of Nero. It was written in the first century AD by a Jew who was originally a rebel leader but later became a supporter of the Roman empire.

The text was written by Joseph ben Mattathias, who was born in Jerusalem a few years after the time of Jesus. After joining the rebel forces who were against Emperor Nero, he was captured by the Roman general Vespasian in 67AD. By claiming to be a prophet and predicting that Vespasian would become emperor, he was able to save himself from certain death. Luckily for Joseph, Nero committed suicide the following year and over the next eighteen months the emperors Galba, Otho and Vitellius died violently. By the end of 69, Vespasian was in power.

AWNS-19100922-15-1, Ancient and modern Rome, 1910, Sir George Grey Special Collections

Friday, 21 June 2013

Local digitisation project is underway

In late 2012 the Mangere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board provided funding for a project to digitise the archival holdings of two local historical society collections. This included the Otahuhu Historical Society and the Mangere Historical Society which hold varied and interesting collections containing a wealth of local history interest. Both societies hold original archival manuscripts, letters, photographs, historical objects and scarce books, pamphlets and ephemera.

I have undertaken this digitisation project as part of the staff of the South Auckland Research Centre team. It has been a great way to spend time working in the community and to gain an insight into the history of Auckland.

eHive is a web based cataloguing system system on the Internet which gives small to medium sized cultural heritage organisations the opportunity to raise the profile of their holdings and share their collections with others. This enables researchers, specialist and general interest groups and individuals online access to a wide variety of collections. eHive was set up by Vernon Systems, a New Zealand company established in 1985 mainly specialising in museum collection management software. It is possible to post entries via eHive to other collections, for example, the NZ Museums online collection. 

 
Ref: Taniwha twin bar soap with packaging, Taniwha Products Limited, OHS OJ007

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Index New Zealand anniversary

Index New Zealand (INNZ) is marking 25 years of being available online. INNZ is a searchable database from National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga O Aotearoa, which includes indexed records of articles from around 1,000 NZ journals, magazines and newspapers, published from the first half of the century to the present day.

Ref: 80-BIN76, article from the New Zealand Herald, Sir George Grey Special Collections
There are currently 760,000 indexed articles in the database covering a wide range of topics. Abstracts are available for the majority of the records. Improvements behind the scenes have made searching much easier and more efficient. Subject headings and names list in Te Reo Māori have also been added, broadening the depth and value of this online service.Check out the INNZ blog to find out more about the work of the  INNZ team, how they do it, and how to use it.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Kites for Matariki

In ancient Māori traditions, kite flying could symbolize the connections between earth and the heavens; kites were flown to celebrates the rising of Matariki and the beginning of the Māori New Year. Because of my interest in building a kite from traditional materials to fly this Matariki, I have been researching Māori kites and kite-making.

Several designs of kites are described in the literature.  For example, the ethnographer Eldson Best in his Games and Pastimes of the Māori (1925) describes six kites, their design and usage. 

Titiri, a Bay of Islands chief who travelled to England, in 1818 drew several pictures of kites.

Ref: 7-A3168, 1818, Sir George Grey Special Collections
In this drawing, the bird-shaped kite is probably a sacred manu aute, with aute bark covering the frame.The diamond-shaped kite is a manu pātiki, built to represent a flounder. The top and bottom kites in this picture are probably ūpoku tangata, children’s kites, made from ūpoku tangata (cutty grass) with a rush frame.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The Guardian newspaper celebrates a milestone

May is the 200 year anniversary of  the English newspaper, The Guardian . The first issue came out on 5 May 1821. The newspaper was originally called The Manchester Guardian and it wasn't until the1880s and 1890s, that it transformed from a provincial newspaper into one of national and international standing

For its centenary celebrations in 1921, the newspaper marked the occasion by creating a photograph album showing all the staff on its paper. Several copies were made, which are now held by the Guardian News & Media Archive (GNM Archive) and the Manchester Guardian Archive, at the University of Manchester's John Rylands Library. The GNM Archive also hold the glass plate negatives for some of the photographs which appear in the albums. The photographer is believed to be Walter Doughty, the paper's first staff photographer from 1908 to 1942.

Ref: Footprints 01469, Perusing the paper, 1962, South Auckland Research Centre

Friday, 7 June 2013

Auckland Festival of Photography

Auckland Festival of Photography is celebrating its10th anniversary this year and has become a much anticipated annual event with numerous exhibitions and events throughout the city to showcase photography talent until 21 June 2013.

Ref: AWNS-19020626-12-5, Sir George Grey Special Collections.
Saturday 8 June is Auckland Photo Day, an interactive component of the festival that encourages everyone to contribute images which capture their day in Auckland. The submitted photographs create an "annual time capsule of the city and a valuable historical archive. A day in the life of Auckland as seen by the people of Auckland."

So take out your cameras, smartphones, ipads or even grandpa's old box brownie and start visually documenting our wonderful city!

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

International Day for Monuments and Sites and Onehunga Primary School

The theme for this year’s International Day for Monuments and Sites was 'The Heritage of Education', as discussed in a previous post (see post on 22 May 2013). Another building which fits the bill is the  former Onehunga Primary School building on Selwyn Street. It is is a important landmark, whose heritage value .comes from the ornate building itself and its schooling history.

The building opened in1901and was described as ‘one of the finest schools in New Zealand’. It was designed by John Mitchell and Robert Watt, the Auckland Education Board architects, in the Free Classical or Queen Anne Revival style. The building was high tech for its time, using design to maximise light, air circulation and heat. It is listed on the New Zealand Historic Places Trust (NZHPT) as a Historic Place Category 2.

Ref: AWNS-19011128-11-1, Onehunga Primary School, 1901, Sir George Grey Special Collections

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Born digital archives in the GLAM sector

The heritage sector is collecting born digital work for future users - but what policies are required around harvesting content for these collections? And how will access be regulated? These are some of the questions raised by the Digital Collection Strategy Leader at the Alexander Turnbull Library Mark Crookson when he visited Auckland Libraries.

Ref: 31-64263, Missie Andrews, 1911, Sir George Grey Special Collections

The Web Archive forms part of the ATL’s collections and has been collecting born digital published, unpublished and online items since 1999. The collection includes over 14,000 websites so far. Some of these relate to significant events such as the Canterbury Earthquake and the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Māori, politics, the arts and environment are some of the collection’s other strengths, thus giving voice to groups and people who may otherwise be forgotten.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Fighter pilots

We have in the Central City Library an old but most gorgeous book that I would love to have a copy of. 'Pilots of Fighter Command' (1942) is a book of 64 charcoal portraits of fighter pilots drawn by Cuthbert Orde, an artist and WW1 pilot.

Over a one year period in 1941,  Orde spent time living on RAF bases to draw pictures of the men who would become known as the “Few” -  the airmen of the RAF who flew in the Battle of Britain. The term had come from Winston Churchill’s phrase "Never, in the field of human conflict, was so much owed by so many to so few" and as Orde wrote:  “I went off to find myself in the middle of  a world that was the talk of the world.”

As well as the portraits themselves, the book includes Orde's thoughts on the pilots and gives an account of life on a fighter station during the Battle of Britain – “ordinary chaps doing an extraordinary thing.”

Ref: Bendan 'Paddy' Finucane, from 'Pilots of Fighter Command, by Cuthbert Order, 1942