Wellington Heritage Week – 22nd to 28th October

Ever since Kupe first followed the wheke a Muturangi (a giant squid) to Te Moana-a-Raukawa (Cook Strait), the history of Wellington and the people who have lived here has been told, researched and retold. Wellington Heritage Week 22nd to 28th October is an opportunity to experience Wellington’s people, places and stories. Check out the Wellington Heritage week program here.

If you would like to do some of your own research into your Wellington people, places and stories then here at the library we have many resources to help you in your research.  A great starting point is our Heritage and Local History page, with tips and links to help you get started.

Local Māori History Resources

On the Te Whanganui-a-Tara resources page you’ll find digitised resources, including: Māori deeds of land purchases, a list of Māori tribes and chiefs circa 1878, and many more resources.  Check out these resources on the local Te Whanganui-a-tara Māori history available here.

We have the 4 volumes of Ngā Tūpuna o te Whanganui-a-Tara in our collection.  These 4 volumes were a collaboration between Wellington  City Council and Wellington Tenths Trust and our Māori subject specialist Ann Reweti was part of the writing and editing team.

Ngā tūpuna o Te Whanganui-a-Tara. Volume 4 / Clarke, Sandra

“Short biographies and some portraits of Māori associated with the sale of Port Nicolson land in the 1840s.” (Catalogue)

 

Wellington City Recollect Database

Have you visited the Wellington City Recollect website yet? You will find a database of heritage photos, books, maps and related ephemera reflecting the Capital’s past. The database is administered by Wellington City Libraries and our local historian specialist Gabor Toth recommends having a look at some of the great new additions to this database.  The latest project is the ongoing digitisation of Wellington school jubilee and centenary publications.  These school publications are a great source of Wellington heritage information and you can see the ones that have been digitised so far, click on the Publications tab  here.

Wellington City Recollect is a great place to spend some time during Wellington Heritage Week.  Wellington City Libraries are very proud of our role in Wellington local history and some of the great things you can find on Recollect are postcards like the one below of  Wellington Public Library  C.1925 or browse thru the souvenir opening guide produced for the 1940 opening to find out about the library building that now houses the City Gallery here.

This image has been downloaded from https://wellington.recollect.co.nz/ and may be subject to copyright restrictions. Please verify the copyright status before any reuse of this image.

Exploring Early Colonial Life in Wellington in books

The following three books are good examples of how you can gain an interesting  perspective of colonial life in Wellington from our collections.  As for most colonists this new life started with the journey by ship to Wellington. The first book  “No simple passage” tells of such a journey on board the “London” in 1842.  The life and sights of Wellington in 1859 are the topic of the second book  “An indescribable beauty” told with letters sent back home.  Finally in the third book Katherine Mansfield’s Wellington from 1888 -1903 is detailed in Wellington’s own Redmer Yska’s  “A strange beautiful excitement”.  (For some background information into the research of this third book, check out the story on Wellington City Recollect here

No simple passage : the journey of the “London” to New Zealand, 1842 : a ship of hope / Jones, Jenny Robin
“No Simple Passage tells the story of the passengers on board the London, 1842, undertaking a four-month journey from London to Port Nicholson at the end of which they will begin the process of becoming New Zealanders. The author imagines herself on board and records ship life using the journals of the ship’s surgeon and a cabin passenger.” (Catalogue)

 

An indescribable beauty : letters home to Germany from Wellington, New Zealand, 1859 & 1862 / Krull, Friedrich
“This unique book is a small but priceless addition to the historical record of early New Zealand, published to recognise New Zealand’s guest of honour status at Frankfurt Book Fair 2012.On January 27, 1859, an adventurous young German arrived in Wellington after a four-month voyage on a Swedish ship. With great alacrity we helped the sailors weigh anchor, and with what suspense did H and I stand on the foredeck to get the first view of the town which was to become our new home, Friedrich Krull writes. After we entered through the narrow straits a beautiful harbour lay before us, surrounded by high hills, and behind it more hills ascending to the snowline. In the east we saw Wellington itself, stretching along the coast for a mile. We were amazed: we had not expected the place to be so big.’So began the first of many letters Krull would write at the behest of the German naturalist and historian Ernst Boll – published in English translation in this outstanding book.” (Catalogue)

A strange beautiful excitement : Katherine Mansfield’s Wellington, 1888-1903 / Yska, Redmer
“How does a city make a writer? Described by Fiona Kidman as a ‘ravishing, immersing read’, A Strange Beautiful Excitement is a ‘wild ride’ through the Wellington of Katherine Mansfield’s childhood. From the grubby, wind-blasted streets of Thorndon to the hushed green valley of Karori, author Redmer Yska, himself raised in Karori, retraces Mansfield’s old ground: the sights, sounds and smells of the rickety colonial capital, as experienced by the budding writer” (Catalogue)

 

 

Read before you crawl… Fiction Choices

The excitement is building as LitCrawl is almost upon us! But before we get to the main event, and to get you prepared and in the mood, we have selected just a few titles from some of the many fantastic fiction luminaries appearing at this years event. Make sure you check out this year’s programme and start planning your crawl! We just can’t wait! Enjoy!

The blue / McCallum, Mary
“Lilian lives in an isolated island community at the mouth of Tory Channel trying to make the best of a life that has at its core a secret grief. It is 1938 and for three months of every year the men take to the sea to hunt whales with fast boats and explosive harpoons. This year, the whales aren’t the only ones returning – Lilian’s troubled son Micky has come home too. In this rugged, unsettled world, things are not always what they seem.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Dreamquake / Knox, Elizabeth
“Following on from the mesmerising Dreamhunter, the story continues dramatically as Grace, ‘overdreamt’ by Laura, introduces a nightmare, instead of the happy holiday dream programmed, to a packed Opera House audience, with chaotic results. Laura has collected and dreamt the nightmare in response to a letter she thinks is from her dead father, Tziga, who has been forced by the government to dream it to keep prisoners frightened and subdued.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Baby / Jochems, Annaleese
“Cynthia is twenty-one, bored and desperately waiting for something big to happen when her bootcamp instructor, the striking Anahera, suggests they run away together. With stolen money and a dog in tow they buy ‘Baby’, an old boat docked in the Bay of Islands, where Cynthia dreams they will live in a state of love. But there’s an intruder waiting to upset Cynthia’s plans and when a trip to an island utopia goes horribly wrong, a rot sets in on their relationship.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Dead people’s music : a novel / Laing, Sarah
“Classical is karaoke – just playing covers of dead people’s music – or so Wellingtonian Rebecca concluded at her London conservatorium. She’s sabotaged her scholarship there, but wants to keep playing the cello, like her grandmother, Klara. Now unmoored from her classical training, she’s in New York City, where Klara grew up. As Rebecca investigates her Jewish-refugee heritage, she starts to compose her own songs, but has to contend with diabetes and other burning issues: is she with the right man, or should she swap stability for lust? And how much longer can she live with a neurotic, junk-scavenging flatmate, on the verge of murdering another zebra fish?” (Catalogue)

I’m working on a building / Adam, Pip
“Everything becomes clearer in reverse – because sometimes, things have to be taken apart to be understood. In the near future, an exact replica of the world’s tallest tower, Dubai’s Burj al Khalifa, is being built on New Zealand’s West Coast. It’s an exercise in economic stimulation and national confidence-building after a run of natural and financial disasters. Catherine is the engineer in charge of making sure it all works. She feels there is something wrong in the plans. Or is there something wrong in her? I’m working on a building follows Catherine from the top of the tower to a geodesic dome in a park in London; from the Grand Lisboa in Macau to student accommodation in Wellington; from a South Auckland theme park to the Pompidou Centre; to reveal the way chance events can undo the best efforts of human beings to plan and build their lives and worlds.” (Catalogue)

All our secrets / Lane, Jennifer
“A girl called Gracie. A small town called Coongahoola with the dark Bagooli River running through it. The Bleeders – hundreds of ‘Believers’ who set up on the banks of the river, who start to buy up the town and win souls. The River Children – born in the aftermath of the infamous River Picnic. They begin to go missing, one after another. Gracie Barrett is the naively savvy spokesperson for her chaotic family (promiscuous dad, angry mum, twins Lucky and Grub, Elijah the River Child and fervent, prayerful Grandma Bett), for the kids who are taken, for the lurking fear that locks down the town and puts everyone under suspicion.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Fishing for Māui / Ritchie, Isa Pearl
“A novel about food, whānau, and mental illness. Valerie reads George Eliot to get to sleep just to take her mind off worries over her patients, her children, their father and the next family dinner. Elena is so obsessed with health, traditional food, her pregnancy and her blog she doesn’t notice that her partner, Malcolm the ethicist, is getting himself into a moral dilemma of his own making. Evie wants to save the world one chicken at a time. Meanwhile her boyfriend, Michael is on a quest to reconnect with his Māori heritage and discover his own identity. Rosa is eight years old and lost in her own fantasy world, but shes the only one who can tell somethings not right. Crisis has the power to bring this family together, but will it be too late?” (Catalogue)

Fosterling / Neale, Emma
“A young man is found unconscious in a remote forest. He is over seven feet tall, his skin covered in thick hair which reminds onlookers of an animal’s pelt. A compelling story about society and our reactions to difference, convincingly evoked, beautifully written.” (Catalogue)

LitCrawl is back at WCL!

LitCrawl is back and this year they are celebrating five years of the crawl! From 8 – 11 November you can get involved in over 50 events featuring writers, illustrators, storytellers, musicians, historians, taxidermists, performance artists and more! LitCrawl features the famous crawl on Saturday 10 November from 6pm to 9.15pm, during which there are 25 events in as many locations in Wellington’s CBD. The LitCrawl Extended programme is running again this year between Thursday 8th and Sunday 11th November and is a mixture of free and ticketed events, so make sure you mark your diaries and take a good look at the programme! There is something for everyone at LitCrawl! For the full programme see www.litcrawl.co.nz 

We have two very exciting events at Central this year!

True Stories Told Live is back! LitCrawl and the New Zealand Book Council are bringing True Stories Told Live back to Central on Saturday 10 November as part of Phase 1 of the crawl. From 6pm – 6.45pm an epic line up of writers deliver true stories on the theme of age. Featuring Victor Rodger, Eirlys Hunter, Lizzie Marvelly, Raymond Antrobus, Helen Heath and Kate Spencer. Hosted by Penny Ashton. To plan out the rest of your crawl, check out the full programme online.

And something for the kids! Earlier on Saturday 10 November bring the kids along to the first ever KidsCrawl. LitCrawl has joined forces with the amazing Annual (edited by Kate De Goldi and Susan Paris) to create an adventure for the whole family. From 10-11am at the Central Library, you will be given a story map that takes you all over the library in search of Annual authors who have a story to tell… KidsCrawl is free but registration is essential so make sure you send an email to kidscrawl@litcrawl.co.nz to register your storyhunters. For more information check out the website.

Read before you crawl…

The programme is out, you’ve seen then line up, now it’s time to get reading! Search the catalogue and place those reserves for the authors you are most excited to see and keep an eye out for our special Read Before You Crawl blogs which will be coming out weekly as we countdown to the big weekend!

Read before you crawl… Fiction Choices
Read before you crawl… a Poetry Showcase
Read before you crawl – KidsCrawl Edition

 

Did someone say prizes?

In the lead up to LitCrawl we will have some tickets and books to give away! Make sure you keep an eye on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts to be in it to win it!

Listen to the Ruth Gotlieb oral history

Ruth Gotlieb with Jane Hill and John Stears You can now listen to interviews with Ruth Gotlieb on our website, detailing her fascinating life; growing up in Ireland and emigrating to Australia then New Zealand. The oral histories include an in-depth discussion of her 27 year career serving as a councillor and board member, with the Wellington City Council, the Wellington Regional Council, the Wellington Harbour Board and the Capital & Coast District Health Board.

Ruth Gotlieb’s honours include having the library in Kilbirnie renamed Ruth Gotlieb Library, being awarded a Queen’s Service Order in 1995, and named Wellingtonian of the year in 2010. Ruth has contributed many hours volunteering with numerous organisations and as Justice of the Peace, and continues to do so to this day.

Check out the oral histories here – Ruth Gotlieb oral history page.

(Pictured: Ruth Gotlieb with Jane Hill (Manager, Community Networks) and John Stears (Libraries & Community Spaces Manager) at the page launch)

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Short historical films available on our website!

Check out our new Heritage Films page for a selection of films from Wellington City Archives we have digitised.

The films were made to document council activities and at the time were only shown to a small audience. These short videos are an insight into some of Wellington’s history and include scenes from the opening of Khandallah Library in 1953, the Queen’s visit in 1954, the “Festival Of Wellington” in 1959 and a five minute film from 1947 about Wellington’s milk supply.

Alongside the videos on the Heritage films page you’ll find information on the Festival Of Wellington, publicity materials and photos.  We’ve also added the films to our WCL YouTube channel – check it out for storytimes and other videos we have created. We’d love your feedback!

Some highlights from our Wellington Music project in 2015

Our Wellington Music Project began properly around October in 2014, so this was the first full year of our page and blog on Wellington Music. Here are some highlights we wrote about during the year that you may have missed at the time.

Nicole Andrews2
[Nicole Andrews recording the piano tracks for her album In The Shallows at the New Zealand School Of Music]

Interviews:
We interviewed lots of people, and whether the interview was long or short, each offered up a unique perspective on what it is like for an artist making and recording music, and releasing albums as part of the eclectic Wellington music scene..
Lee Prebble
Vera Ellen
Nicole Andrews
Christopher Hill
Rhys Stannard
Matt Hyde
Orchestra Of Spheres
Bruce Brown

New (and old) Music from:
This year we added lots of new & older titles to our Wellington collection. Some of which included new albums from..
Trinity Roots
The Close Readers
The Labcoats
Head Like A Hole
French For Rabbits
Eb & Sparrow
The Phoenix Foundation
Reuben Bradley
Wayne Mason
Fat Freddy’s Drop
The Jac

New Zealand Music Month:
We caught up with a variety of local musicians, artists, writers & critics on what makes Wellington music unique for New Zealand Music Month. Some of which were..
Steve Francis from Bulletbelt
Grayson Gilmour
Damien Wilkins
Luke Kavanagh from Sunken Seas
Simon Grigg from Audioculture
Sophie Burbury
Matt Hyde of Beastwars
Norman Meehan
Jessie Finn from Towers

Photo of Nicole Andrews courtesy of Nicole & Bradley Garner Creative.

It’s time to start training for Round the Bays 2015!

Rounding FirstRegistration opens for Cigna Round the Bays today at noon. Be sure to visit the library to check out the amazing resources on offer after registering! Whether this is your first time participating or you simply want to beat your previous record, the library can help you achieve those goals.

Simply visit your local library and look under the call number 796.42.  There you will find everything you need from creating a training plan to preparation for race day.  We’ve got you covered!

Syndetics book coverThe complete running & marathon book / senior editor, Catherine Saunders.
“A one-stop guide for any aspiring runner, from the first step to the first marathon. The Complete Running and Marathon Book has everything you need to know, from choosing the right footwear to eating right and warming up. Train hard with one of the specific programmes for your distance. Invaluable tips can help you to gain a vital competitive edge, from goal-setting and motivation to running psychology and race tactics. Key pre- and post-run step-by-step stretches help you to protect yourself from injury and core and resistance-training exercises can help you to run faster and further. The Complete Running and Marathon Book is perfect for any new or aspiring runner looking to go the distance.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Photo (https://flic.kr/p/ggbtN) by Flickr user Tracy Lee Caroll, used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/). No changes made.

Free Gig: Maika at Wellington Central Library

Mahinarangi Maika
Mahinarangi Maika pours a lifetime of heart and an eternity of culture into her music. Performing as Maika, her music flows easily between Maori and English languages, reflecting the cultural heritage of her native Aotearoa/New Zealand, in a style that blends reggae, soul, R & B, and jazz.

“Music is the language of the soul,” Maika says. “It is something that unifies us.”

Maika belts out that musical language without reservation. She has the vocal power of Melissa Etheridge or Pat Benatar, but with a different quality that makes her hard to classify. The music ranges across styles, her words and melodies reflecting the passion and pain of a life transiting the resurrection of a culture.
Maika is Ngati Porou and Te Arawa.

Performing for free and unplugged at Central on May 29th at 12noon.

Cultural go-between, colonial man: New perspectives on James Cowan

James Cowan at his desk, writing.. Ruscoe, Ivan, fl 1990s : Photographs relating to James Cowan. Ref: PAColl-5877-5. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22311747

James Cowan at his desk, writing.. Ruscoe, Ivan, fl 1990s : Photographs relating to James Cowan. Ref: PAColl-5877-5. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22311747

There’s an exciting symposium on James Cowan, planned for February, 2014.
Venue: National Library of New Zealand, Wellington
Day: 21 February 2014
Time: 9 am-5.30 pm

Co-hosted by: Centre for Research on Colonial Culture, University of Otago (Convenor:  Annabel Cooper) and Alexander Turnbull Library (Convenor:  Ariana Tikao)

This symposium coincides with 150th anniversary of the  Battle of Orākau, and will also highlight an exhibition of the extensive Cowan papers now housed at Alexander Turnbull Library.

But here, at Wellington City Libraries I have an added interest in the work of James Cowan, having been alerted, several years ago, to a chapter in the book of Patrick Lawlor:  Old Wellington days.  Whitcombe and Tombs, 1959: Chapter 8, p. 194.  James Cowan and his Wellington Place-names —  tells us that Cowan’s output whilst living in Wellington was relatively small, (but , for me, nevertheless, he pounamu) – consisting of  four chapters covering wars in Wellington, plus articles for the local press, along with his standout contributions to the New Zealand Railways Magazine.

“The journalist James Cowan was the magazine’s most prolific contributor to [New Zealand railways magazine] writing more than 120 historical and travel features, including 48 sketches of ‘Famous New Zealanders’.

But three articles published in the Evening Post, 1912: (Paperspast) on Wellington place names, form the basis of Chapter 8, in Lawlor’s book.

Evening Post, Volume LXXXIII, Issue 136, 8 June 1912, Page 10
Evening Post, Volume LXXXIII, Issue 142, 15 June 1912, Page 10

Evening Post, Volume LXXXIV, Issue 18, 20 July 1912, Page 10

“Many of the ancient names of the rohe that survive to the present day relate to the Ngai Tara, Rangitane, Ngati Kahungunu and Ngati Ira histories of the Hataitai or Motukairangi (Miramar) peninsula – and indeed, the history of some of the names on the Poneke shoreline was retained only by the Ngati Kahungunu iwi.”
Rangi Te Puni, daughter-in-law  of Te Puni Kokopu, who, In 1912, lived in a small home close to the Pito-one Beach, was a source for much of Cowan’s information.  She was born in Waipa Valley and her iwi connections were to the Ngati Maniapoto.
Others who added their stories were Ngarimu Mawene of Whakahikuwai, Lower Hutt, –  said to be a chieftainess who danced on the shores of Pito-one, and chanted “Toia mai te waka ki te urunga” when the Tory dropped anchor in 1839, and Mere Ngamai, granddaugher of Rawiri Te Motutere and a former wife of Wi Tako.

Whitiora house and garden, Regan St, Stratford. McAllister, James, 1869-1952 :Negatives of Stratford and Taranaki district. Ref: 1/1-011917-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22876178

Whitiora house and garden, Regan St, Stratford. McAllister, James, 1869-1952 :Negatives of Stratford and Taranaki district. Ref: 1/1-011917-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22876178

Whitiora house and garden, Regan On the verandah stands James Robson, and his wife Mere (Mary) Ngamai but the oldest histories were given by Te Whatahoro, Ngati Kahungunu –

Hoani Te Whatahoro Jury. Ref: 1/2-024827-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22713838

Hoani Te Whatahoro Jury. Ref: 1/2-024827-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22713838

and his information is the basis for Elsdon Best’s histories of Wellington Harbour – see: The Land of Tara and they who settle it / by Elsdon Best, 1919.

From Part II of James Cowan’s Evening Post articles, (15/6/1912, p. 10) comes information on lesser known places located between Wellington and the Hutt Valley — for example:

Kaiwharawhara – Māori used to climb the gully to collect wharawhara from the trees, for food.

Wai-kiekie – just beyond Kaiwharawhara – “Stream of the plant  Freycinetia Banksii”

Paerau –“Many Ranges”- the steep hill just above Kaiwharawhara where the old track led to Johnsonville and Porirua.

Nga-uranga – “the landing place of canoes”

Piki-wahine – the hill above Ngauranga  where womenand children used to go exploring the bush for konini fruit and othe forest foods, and climbing kahikatea pines for the seed berries.

Paroro-rangi – “Cloudy Sky” –

Te Ana-puta – “Cave-opening” – a mile and a quarter north of Nga-uranga – this cave was full of skulls and skeletons and was extremely tapu.

Pari-karangaranga – “Cliff of Echoes” – Maori passing along the beach here, with the lofty rocky cliff towering above them, used to listen fearfully for the voice of a wairua, or spirit, in the heights as this was supposed to be the “reo” or voice of woman who had committed suicide at that place of many echoes.

Te Ahi-parera –“The-Fire-to Cook-a-Wild Duck” – is the name of those heights said old Rangi, pointing to the steep hilltops above Petone, on the northern and western side of the Tuara-whati Gully.  A fire (ahi) was kindled there by an ancestor of long ago to cook a wild duck (parera) which he had killed on a pool in the bush.

Te Raho-o-Te Kapowai –the range  of great hills rising above the Korokoro Valley mouth on the south side is named after an ancestor of Ngati Kahungunu who lived a great many generations ago.

Te Korokoro-o-Te-Mana – Te Mana, a chief of Ngati Mutunga, named the valley after himself, likening it to his throat (korokoro) in order to tapa or claim it as a possession for himself and his descendants.

Te Tuara-whati-o-Te-Mana- (Te Mana’s Broken Backbone) – The gorge above Pito-one railway station where a stream winds down  to the old Catholic Cemetery , also named after chief Te Mana is also the burial place for  Wi Tako Ngatata, and for Ngarimu Mawene.

These are just a few of the fascinating stories of place names recorded in three articles in the Evening Post of 1912, and in Chapter 8 of Lawler’s book, Early Wellington days.