Monday, 30 November 2015

Spencer family negatives

The Spencer family negatives that were recently donated to Sir George Grey Special Collections have now been digitised and made available online. This collection consists of around 400 glass plate negatives which arrived in the Library’s collections through a donation from the family of Mr Percy Spencer.


The images include people and places, Māori portraits, landscapes, and family outings such as picnics and cycle excursions.


Friday, 13 November 2015

Arsons, marches and petitions: the 1970s abortion debate in New Zealand

Creating New Zealand’s abortion law
Abortion was illegal in NZ until the 1970s unless required to save the mother’s life. Nevertheless, the procedure was widely practiced and often unsafe. In 1927 a Department of Health official estimated 10,000 abortions took place annually - with NZ having one of the world’s highest death rates from botched abortions. This prompted the government to set up a Committee of Inquiry in 1936. Instead of focusing on the high rate of maternal deaths, the Committee focused on the falling birth rate and recommended an increase in family allowances.  A 1939 British ruling influenced the interpretation of abortion law in NZ to include mental health as grounds for the procedure, but many doctors refused to perform abortions.

Monday, 9 November 2015

The Emden and the ones who got away

SMS Emden was a German light cruiser and commerce raider in the Indian Ocean during the early months of the First World War.


After destroying 25 merchant vessels and 2 Allied warships, Captain Karl von Müller of the Emden decided to sail to Direction Island in the Cocos Island group and destroy the cable station there, with the aim of disrupting Allied communications and making the hunt for his ship even more difficult.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Holding the Line: The 2015 Going West Books and Writers Festival Exhibition

Currently on in the exhibition space on Level 2 of the Waitakere Central Library is ‘Holding the Line’, an exhibition celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the Going West Books and Writers Festival featuring material from the Going West Festival archives.

Every year a gathering of people with a passion for the written and spoken word takes place in the verdant setting of West Auckland.  Named after the Maurice Gee novel in which he vividly describes the train journey from Loomis (Henderson) to the city, writers and performers of all ages and backgrounds come together to participate in the Going West Books and Writers Festival. Since the festivals beginnings in 1996, guests and audiences alike have been attracted by the unique character of the location and the diversity of the programme. In 2015, Going West celebrates 20 years as a stalwart of the literary festival scene in New Zealand with ‘Holding the Line’, the theme for this year’s event that is an apt reference to the centenary of the Gallipoli campaign 100 years ago.