We sat down with local author Bee Dawson to discuss the newly released book Ōtari: Two hundred years of Ōtari-Wilton’s Bush. Dawson tells us the story behind writing the book, and explains whyŌtari–Wilton’s Bushis a unique Wellingtonian treasure. We discuss local history, native plant conservation, collaborative research, and the special people who have helped create and celebrate Aotearoa New Zealand’s only native bush reserve.
The book features an array of botanical drawings and historic photographs, charting Ōtari’s significance to the local community over its history, from the 1820’s to the present day. The contemporary photographs by Chris Coad are particularly striking andbeautifully illustrate why Ōtari-Wilton’s Bush is ranked as a six-star garden of significance by the New Zealand Gardens Trust.
“The story of Ōtari–Wilton’s Bush, the only botanic garden dedicated solely to the collection and conservation of the plants unique to Aotearoa New Zealand and a native bush reserve with over a hundred hectares of regenerating forest, including some of Wellington’s oldest trees.” (Publisher’s Description) For more information on the book visit The Cuba Press.
Wellington City Libraries is proud to host a remarkable collection of photographs on Recollect that capture the vibe of our city from three decades ago.
Derek Smith was born in the United Kingdom but immigrated to New Zealand with his family at the age of six. He grew up in the East Coast Bays area of Auckland’s North Shore in the 1960s and 70s where he developed an interest in photography as a teenager. After working a series of odd-jobs, in his early 20s he got a job as a meter reader for the Auckland Gas Company. Discovering that if he worked hard, he could normally complete his daily round within five hours, he took the opportunity to use his camera to document the city and his mild interest in photography became a passion.
He began to use the resources in the library of the Elam School of Fine Arts which featured an excellent collection of photography books and found particular inspiration in the work of the American photographers Edward Weston, Stephen Shore, Walker Evans and William Eggleston. He also befriended John B. Turner, a legendary senior lecturer sometimes called “the father of modern NZ photography” who gave him advice and encouragement even though Derek was not formally enrolled in the school. He also joined the PhotoForum collective that Turner had co-founded in 1973. By this stage he had purchased a Mamiya 645 medium-format camera which uses 120 roll film to create huge 6 x 4.5 centimetre negatives or transparencies. With an individual frame being more than 2.5 times larger than the standard 35mm film common at the time, when combined with Mamiya’s excellent lenses this camera was capable of rendering extremely high quality images that still rival most of the high resolution DSLR and mirrorless digital cameras available today.
Recently author Andrew Laking very generously gifted us some free copies of his wonderful book The Empire City: songs of Wellington.
Andrew’s book traces the history of Wellington from the mid 19th century to the present day and is beautifully illustrated using photographs and specially commissioned paintings by Bob Kerr. It also contains a free C.D. featuring some of Aotearoa / New Zealand’s finest musicians including Bret McKenzie from Flight of the Conchords, Riki Gooch from Crowded House and Toby Laing from Fat Freddy’s Drop.
We only have a few copies for each branch, so this freebie offer is strictly on a first come first served basis. All you need to do to be in with a chance of picking up a free copy of this book is pop into one of our branches on Friday 22nd Oct and look for the display of free give away copies of this fabulous title left. EASY AS.
(Limited to one copy per patron whilst stocks last. )
We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to Andrew for his very kind donation.
The empire city : songs of Wellington / Laking, Andrew
“The Empire City traces the history of Wellington, from the middle of the 19th Century till the present day. Stories are told through song, text, paintings and photographs … The book includes a CD with original songs by Andrew Laking … The songs are given context by historical notes and illuminated through a number of previously unseen archival photos, and over 20 new paintings by Bob Kerr” (Adapted from Catalogue)
Now digitised on Wellington City Recollect, ‘Design and Living’ published in 1947 offers pertinent solutions to our current housing issues nearly 75 years later.
Ernst Anton Plischke (1903 – 1992) was one of the most notable architects ever to work in New Zealand. Though he produced only a limited number of buildings while living here, his influence on the path that NZ architecture and design would follow in the subsequent decades was considerable. He arrived in Wellington in 1939 from his native Vienna just four months before the start of World War II, having fled here with his Jewish wife and stepson following Nazi Germany’s ‘Anschluss’ with Austria. Settling in Brooklyn, it was in the capital that his influence had its greatest impact. He had impeccable credentials having studied & worked under the legendary German Modernist Peter Behrens, knew Le Corbusier, met Frank Lloyd Wright and had personally designed domestic and commercial buildings in the 1920s and 1930s in Austria that still look contemporary today.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the longest and one of the most polarising labour disputes in New Zealand’s history. Now digitised on Wellington City Recollect is a selection of what were then illegally printed pamphlets and newsletters from one of the main players in the dispute, the Wellington Waterside Workers’ Union.
Though it is now passing from living memory, the 1951 Waterfront Dispute remains one of the most contentious industrial conflicts from our past. Lasting 151 days, it was the longest serious industrial action ever taken in New Zealand and involved more people than any other strike in our history with over 22,000 members of the Waterside Workers’ Union and other sympathetic labour groups involved. It was a deeply divisive and polarising event with different sides accusing each other of being ‘communists’ or ‘fascists’ respectively with many of the attacks becoming increasingly personal and vindictive. Even the name and nature of the event was in dispute with the Government, port authorities and shipping companies calling it a ‘strike’ and the waterside workers calling it a ‘lock-out’. This distinction remained a contentious issue among some historians and political scientists for decades after the event.
In the 1920s the societal norms shattered in the First World War, combined with a booming economy, led to the emergence of a new generation of emancipated young women – the ‘flappers’.
They wore hemlines above the ankle, cut and ‘bobbed’ their hair, listened to jazz and generally rebelled against the path that society expected young women to follow. They smoked cigarettes, drank alcohol, took lovers rather than husbands, sought employment and flaunted their disdain for what was then considered acceptable behaviour. For more than a decade, one woman was looked up to by this new generation in Wellington, someone who ‘had it all’; a fashion designer, businesswoman and property developer who lived and worked under the pseudonymMary Garden.
She was born in Hobart in Tasmania in January 1893 as Ruby Russell and likely grew up on a farm not far from that city. However, Ruby had bigger ambitions; training as a dressmaker, she went on to develop her craft at the luxurious ‘Farmers & Co’ department store in central Sydney (unconnected to the NZ retail chain of the same name).