Postcards, urupa, travelling taonga

Two interesting books on the history of the New Zealand postcard have interesting examples of early Māori themed portraits and scenes. Then there is the inside story on Tariana Turia, and a biased spin on the activities of Tamati Waka Nene and Apirana Ngata

Syndetics book coverCrossing the floor : the story of Tariana Turia / Helen Leahy.
“This biography of Tariana Turia sees family members, iwi leaders, social justice advocates and politicians share their experiences of this remarkable woman. While parliament was not originally part of her life plan, Tariana Turia was involved in many community initiatives. A turning point came in 1995, when Tariana’s leadership was evident in the reoccupation of Pakaitore. Here was a woman with the courage to care, the determination to speak up and a deep commitment to whānau. Inevitably, she was invited to stand in the 1996 general election. In her eighteen years as an MP, she advanced thinking in the disability area, advocated for tobacco reform and spoke out about sexual abuse, violence and racism. She also led the Whānau Ora initiative. In 2004, she crossed the floor, leading to the birth of the Māori Party”–Publisher information.

Syndetics book coverKo Ngā Takahanga i a Ārihi i Te Ao Mīharo / Lewis Carroll ; nā John Tenniel i whakaahua; nā Tom Roa i whakamāori.He ingoa karangaranga a Lewis Carroll: Ko Charles Lutwidge Dodgson te ingoa tuturu. He kaikauwhau i te Pangarau i Christ Church, Oxford. — Lewis Carroll is a pen-name: Charles Lutwidge Dodgson was the author’s real name and he was lecturer in Mathematics in Christ Church, Oxford.

Syndetics book coverUnearthly landscapes : New Zealand’s early cemeteries, churchyards and urupā / Stephen Deed.
“… Immigrants brought with them a range of burial traditions, and of course Maori, already long established, had their own rituals. Over time, the various customs borrowed from one another to form a uniquely New Zealand way. In this beautifully written and illustrated book, Stephen Deed sets out to reconnect the historic cemeteries we see today with the history of this country and its people.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTell you what : great New Zealand nonfiction 2015 / edited by Jolisa Gracewood & Susanna Andrew.
“A fantastic collection of recent nonfiction essays, Tell You What contains live, wild, true stories from contemporary New Zealand. On the web and the wireless, in magazines and journals, at prizegivings and powhiri, New Zealanders are writing about the world. Essays and articles, speeches and submissions, tweets and travelogues–this book collects some of New Zealand’s best nonfiction from the past year into one anthology. Featuring New Zealand writers such as Steve Braunias, Lara Strongman, Eleanor Catton, and Tina Makereti, it explores a range of subjects, from mountain climbing and family secrets to cannibal snails and dangerous swims.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSend me a postcard : New Zealand postcards and the story they tell / William Main.
“The first New Zealand picture postcards were published in 1897, and quickly established themselves as an enduring and popular part of our visual culture. In the early part of the 20th century sending postcards snowballed into a craze which had few precedents (it is estimated that 7.5 million postcards were sent through the mail in 1909) … This charming and nostalgic collection of postcards is popular history at its best, and will have wide appeal. The cards are graphically fascinating, while the story they tell provides an intriguing view of life in New Zealand in the last century.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPost marks : the way we were : early New Zealand postcards, 1897-1922 / Leo Haks, Colleen Dallimore & Alan Jackson.
The way we were between 1897-1922 is revealed in more than 500 postcards that highlight New Zealand’s pioneer beginnings and the development of a unique cultural identity.

Tracking travelling taonga : a narrative review of how Māori items got to London from 1798, to Salem in 1802, 1807 and 1812, and elsewhere up to 1840 / by Rhys Richards. Machine-generated contents note: A French Visit to North Cape on 11 March 1793 — Lieutenant-Governor King from Norfolk Island to Muriwhenua in 1793 — The Fancy Trading for spars at Waihou (Thames) in 1795 — Mathew Flinders’ Tiki in 1795 — Sealers, Early Whalers and Spar Traders — American Traders to China — How Daniel Ward’s Donations Reached Salem in 1802 — The Donations of John Fitzpatrick Jeffrie in 1803 — The Donations of Captain William Richardson in 1807 — The Donations of Captain William Putnam Richardson in 1812 — Pacific Sealskins, Sandalwood and Beche de Mer — Other Early Taonga in American Collections — The Russians at Queen Charlotte Sound in 1820 — The Early Missionaries: Kendall and Marsden — The British Navy’s Search for Spars 1820-21 — Muskets for Preserved Heads from 1810 to 1840 — The French Collectors from 1824 to 1840 — Taonga in Other European Museums — Sperm Whalers from 1820 to 1840 — Six British Collectors of Taonga, 1820 to 1840 — The Three Maori Cloaks Donated by Mr C. Pettet — The Flax Trade from 1828 to 1833 — The Global Travels of the Mokomokai Daniel Aborn donated in 1831 — Taonga from the South Island — Remaining British Collections 1820 to 1840 — The United States Exploring Expedition in 1840 — Lost Provenances — Retrospect: The Collecting of Taonga before 1840.

Of Paekakariki : poetry, prose, pictures / collected by Sylvia Bagnall ; foreword by Sir John Trimmer.
“”Poetry, stories and artwork by people with a connection to Paekakariki”–Publisher information.” (Syndetics summary)

Two great New Zealanders : the wisdom of Tamati Waka Nene and Apirana Ngata / John Robinson.

Christmas in the trenches – some very special greetings

Syndetics book cover In 2008, Sarah Ell collated a selection of New Zealand Christmas images, including Christmas cards, Christmas day dinner menus, photographs, advertisements and poster art, from the Alexander Turnbull Library. The result of this collection is the beautiful book A New Zealand Christmas : three centuries of Kiwi Christmas celebrations from the Alexander Turnbull Library. Featuring beautiful images and informative captions about Christmas in New Zealand throughout the years, it also features photographs, Christmas cards and other printed images from World War One at Christmas time. This beautiful edition is an interesting and indulgent read any time, but particularly at this time of the year! Place your reserve here.

When Great Britain first declared war against Germany in 1914, New Zealand did not have its own army. Training camps were urgently set up in Featherston in Wairarapa, at Narrow Neck in Auckland and Awapuni near Palmerston North. The main camp was established at Trentham in Upper Hutt.

The Maymorn camp was built as an overflow camp 7km away from Trentham. It was the home of the 3rd and 4th Battalions of the New Zealand rifle brigade, then the 11th Infantry Reinforcements, until the camp was closed in 1916.

This image shows the tables set up for Christmas dinner at Maymorn camp on 25 December 1915.

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Tables set for Christmas dinner, Maymorn camp, Wairarapa. Allen, S T :Photographs of the Tauranga Bridge and Maymorn Camp. Ref: 1/2-112210-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22329286

After arriving at Anzac Cove to find scores of Australian dead and wounded scattering the beach, the Anzac soldiers were instructed to create a network of dug-outs to provide some shelter from the Turkish barrage. The men lived in these dug-outs in filthy conditions with inadequate food and water, as well as frequent outbreaks of dysentery and other diseases.

This photo, showing two soldiers in a dug-out in Gallipolli, was taken not long before the Allied withdrawal from the ill-fated peninsula on December 20. This brought an end to the horrific eight months suffered by the New Zealand, Australian and other Allied troops who landed at what later became known as Anzac cove on April 25, 1915.


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Christmas celebrations in dug-out, Gallipoli. Martin, W W :World War One albums of Mr Laurie C Mackie. Ref: PA1-o-308-22-3. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23211213

After withdrawing from Turkey, New Zealand troops were redeployed to France. Germany had invaded France and Belgium, and the British planned to attack the Germans in the Somme region, to relieve pressure on the French. The Battle of the Somme began in June 1916, followed by a second push in mid-September, which involved New Zealand troops. By Christmas 1916, around 1.2 million men on both sides had been killed or wounded.

This Christmas card was sent home to New Zealand from war-torn France.

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Sparr, fl 1916. Sparr, fl 1916 :Compliments of the season from France, 1916-17. Onward. N.Z. Quo fas et gloria ducunt. [Postcard. 1916]. Ref: Eph-A-WAR-WI-1916-08. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23106539

This Christmas menu is from the Sergeants’ Mess at the New Zealand Army Service Corps number 6 camp at Sling, near Bulford on the Salisbury Plain in England. It was dedicated to the memory of Gallipolli and the newly minted ‘Anzac Day’. The menu shows the men ate well through the day, from bacon, liver and chips for breakfast through a full roast dinner of turkey, beef and chicken to leftover roast, mince pies, jam tarts and beer for supper.

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[Sling Camp (England)] :Remember ANZAC, Gallipoli, 25th April, 1915. Christmas 1916, New Year 1917 / [Cover on menu / list of members].. [Sling Camp (England)] :Remember ANZAC, Gallipoli, 25th April, 1915. Christmas 1916, New Year 1917 / [Sergeants’ Mess, New Zealand Army Service Corps and Details, No 6 Camp, Sling, Bulford, Salisbury Plain, England. [Menu / list of members]. Bennett Bros, Military Printers, Salisbury [1916].. Ref: Eph-A-WAR-WI-1916-02-front. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22590424

This Christmas card from 1916 reflects a sense of imperial and national pride, following New Zealand’s rush to support Mother England against the German aggressors. It was printed for Mr and Mrs Hardie of Wanganui and bears a poem on the cover.

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[Greeting card]. A right loyal greeting. “Land of our birth, we pledge to thee, Head heart & hand, in the years to be”. Xmas 1916 … from Mr & Mrs A. St.N. Hardie. Wanganui, N.Z.. Various artists :[Box of assorted Christmas cards. 1860s-1919]. Ref: Eph-A-CARDS-Christmas-1916-01. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23139304

By Christmas 1917, New Zealand troops were still at war in Europe and New Zealand headquarters was at Chateau Segard in Belgium. This photo shows the New Zealand divisional commander, Major-General Andrew Hamilton Russell, carving a turkey for officers.

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New Zealand Commander carves the turkey on Christmas Day, Chateau Segard, 1917. Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association :New Zealand official negatives, World War 1914-1918. Ref: 1/2-013034-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22904056

At the time of this Christmas card’s release in 1917, New Zealand had been at war for three years. This card clearly depicts the sense of distance felt by those in New Zealand that had loved ones fighting overseas, with the imagery of hands clasped across the distance between New Zealand and “somewhere in France”.

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Frank Duncan and Company. Postcard. Christmas greetings. Hands across the sea. NZ Postcard published by Frank Duncan & Co., High St., Auckland. [1917]. Ref: Eph-A-CARDS-Christmas-WWI-1917-02. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22780721

This card was posted to New Zealand from France in 1918, clearly expressing the sender’s desire to return home with the poem on the front: “God gave all men all earth to love / But since our hearts are small / Ordained for each one spot should be / Beloved over all. / Gorse behind the windy town, pollen o’ the pine / Bell-bird in the leafy deep where the Ratas twine / Ferns above the saddle-bow, flax upon the plain / ‘Tis where Pohutukawas bloom we long to be again”.

The drawing of the damaged windmill on the front of the card is thought to depict a windmill at Courcelles in northern France, which withstood repeated shelling and became a landmark for New Zealand troops fighting in the area.

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To Pater, with all good wishes from Bob. Somewhere in France, 4/11/18. “God gave all men all earth to love … ” [Map of New Zealand, by Johns]. 1918.. Cheerio from France. Christmas 1918. A “Diggers'” landmark / Johns. [Card].. Ref: Eph-A-CARDS-Christmas-WWI-1918-03-inside. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22432725

New Zealand troops were easily identified from other colonial troops by their hat – their distinctive headwear, which became known as a lemon-squeezer, is said to have been developed in 1911 by Lieutenant Colonel William Malone, who felt that the fore-and-aft dented hats worn by his troop collected water too readily. He redesigned the hat so that water ran off more easily. Malone’s Wellington regiment adopted this style of hat and was more widely distributed from mid 1916 to other troops. They became a highly visible way to distinguish New Zealand soldiers from other colonial troops.

These cards both show New Zealand soldiers in lemon-squeezers – the first dates from 1917 shows a Kiwi soldier resting on a milestone which is engraved with ‘France to New Zealand, 13,000 miles’ The second is from 1918 and was designed by solider and artist Lieutenant George Patrick Hanna.

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Bell, William Frederick, 1895-1920. Bell, William Frederick, 1896-1920 :Aotearoa. [Greetings card. 1917].. Ref: Eph-A-CARDS-Christmas-WWI-1917-01. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22857458

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Perry, Murray (Mrs), fl 1975. ‘With every wish that’s brightest & best’ / G P Hanna. N.Z. Division, France. Xmas 1918.. [Ephemera relating to World War I. 1918. Folder 1]. Ref: Eph-A-WAR-WI-1918-02. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23253028

If you’d like to find out more about cards and postcards sent home to New Zealand during World War One, we also recommend this book:

Syndetics book coverNew Zealand and the First World War : 1914-1919 / Damien Fenton ; with Caroline Lord, Gavin McLean and Tim Shoebridge.
“The full story of New Zealand’s involvement in the First World War” (Publisher information)

All images and accompanying information sourced from Sarah Ell’s A New Zealand Christmas: Three Centuries of Kiwi Christmas celebrations from the Alexander Turnbull Library.