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Showing posts from August, 2015

Coffee Lounge Culture

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Coffee lounges opened in Auckland in the 1950s and filled a social gap for people who weren’t attracted to other entertainments available at that time such as commercial cabaret and big bands in ballrooms. They sported glamorous European-inspired names like C’est si Bon, El Paso, La Ronde, Picasso and Piccolo and their décor was Bohemian chic. Walls were covered in murals, or posters of bull fights, and ceilings were painted black and draped in fishing nets. Tables were lit by candles stuck in Chianti bottles, and the air was usually thick with cigarette smoke.
Ref: John Rykenberg, Auckland restaurant, 1959, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1269-A997-3.

Elephants in Sir George Grey Special Collections

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All therecentpublicity for Anjalee, Auckland Zoo’s newest elephant, has inspired a series of posts about elephants. Heritage & Research team members here at Auckland Libraries have taken this opportunity to explore some elephant related items in our collections, as well as some other famous Auckland elephants. Today we are featuring elephant images from rare books held in Sir George Grey Special Collections.

These first two colour plates are from the most recent publication we’ve selected, The Arabian nights: tales from the Thousand and one nights / illustrated by E.J. Detmold. Both plates illustrate the story of Sinbad the sailor.

In this version of the story Sinbad is pictured riding on the back of an elephant during his seventh voyage.

Ref: The Arabian nights, p. 80, E.J. Detmold, 1924, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, IL:1924 DETM.

The Ōtāhuhu Methodist Memorial Sunday School

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The fine brick-and-tile Ōtāhuhu Methodist Memorial Sunday School is a rare but impressive example of a Methodist war memorial building. It stands behind the Ōtāhuhu Methodist church in Fairburn Road.
Ref: Bruce Ringer, Ōtāhuhu Methodist Memorial Sunday School, 2013.
The foundation stone, inset into the footing of the building’s southern wall, reads:
“Ōtāhuhu Methodist Memorial / Sunday School / - / This stone was laid / to the glory of God / by Revd. E. Drake, President of Conf. / on Feb. 28th 1920 / - / Feed my lambs”.

F. Douglas Mill aerial photograph collection

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The majority of the F. Douglas Mill Collection contains images which represent some of the first civil aerial photographic surveys in New Zealand, the images range from the late 1920s to the middle of the 1930s and document the country at that time from the Bay of Islands down to Waimate and Dunedin.
Details of the collection can be found here in Local History Online. The photographs include an early aerial survey of Auckland containing images such as this one of the Auckland War Memorial Museum under construction:
Ref: F. Douglas Mill, Auckland War Memorial Museum under construction, from the air, 1929, West Auckland Research Centre, Auckland Libraries, FDM-0544-G.

Footloose and fancy free on Footprints

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It is 1964 and the world is your oyster. These young women are enjoying themselves at a friend’s 21st birthday party in Ōtāhuhuin 1964.
With the excitement and verve of the 1960s young women stepped out into the world with different expectations and hopes than previous generations. In the years to come the momentum for change increased, many women challenged the norm, dared to be different, and in doing so created a revolution.
Ref: Lew's, Birthday Party, 1964, photograph reproduced courtesy of Val Lott, South Auckland Research Centre, Auckland Libraries, Footprints 06490.
“I’m young and I love to be young I’m free and I love to be free To live my life the way that I want To say and do whatever I please” 
You don’t own me, Lesley Gore, 1963.

Chunuk Bair Centenary: Once on Chunuk Bair

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Today, 8 August, marks the 100 year anniversary of the Battle for Chunuk Bair. The battle, which took place from 6-10 August 1915, was New Zealand’s most significant action in the Gallipoli Campaign.

To help commemorate the anniversary of the battle we are taking the opportunity to look back on the premier performance of Maurice Shadbolt's only published play, Once on Chunuk Bair. The first performance of Once on Chunuk Bair was given at Mercury Theatre, Auckland, on 23 April 1982. The play was directed by Ian Mune and designed by Richard Jeziorny.

Two manuscript collections held in Sir George Grey Special Collections are useful in looking back to this initial staging of the play. The first is the Roy Billing papers, who was the lead actor in the 1982 performance. This collection includes draft scripts of the play as it was performed at the Mercury Theatre, complete with Billing's annotations as well as an extract from his unpublished memoir, photographs, and an oral history int…

Conservation of the Cook Islands Proclamation (E Tuatua Akakite) of 1891

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To mark Te Epetoma o te Reo Māori Kūki ‘Airani, Cook Islands Language Week, we have a special behind the scenes post today. This year is also particularly significant as today, 4 August, marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Cook Islands achieving self-government.

Last year David Ashman, the Preservation Manager at Auckland Libraries, performed conservation treatment work on The Cook Islands Proclamation (E Tuatua Akakite) of 1891. This was reported on earlier this year in both the Cook Islands News and the Cook Islands Herald as well as on the website of the Cook Islands Museum and Library Society.

The proclamation is described on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register for Asia/Pacific:

A fragile and rare, one-paged document written in Maori, the language spoken by most of the population of the Cook Islands at that time, called the Proclamation (E Tutatua Akakite), signed by the Earl of Onslow, on 4th April, 1891, on behalf of the Queen of Great Britain & Ireland, placing a protec…