Bridget Williams Books: The Treaty of Waitangi Collection

A selection of book covers from the Bridget Williams Books Treaty of Waitangi Collection

Image showing the BWB logo and a couple book covers from the Treaty of Waitangi Collection

Did you know that your library card gives you access to numerous collections from the award-winning New Zealand publisher Bridget Williams Books? Today we’d like to draw your attention to their outstanding home for online resources regarding the Treaty of Waitangi.

Bridget Williams Books’ Treaty of Waitangi Collection is broken up into different subtopics to assist your learning journey. You might like to start with one of their foundation texts, such as What Happened at Waitangi? by Claudia Orange. Following on from there, you could dive into BWB’s history resources to gain a deeper understanding of the historical context in which the Treaty of Waitangi was signed. One useful text for this might be Redemption Songs by Judith Binney. After that, BWB has also provided a commentary selection, which includes publications such as New Myths and Old Politics: The Waitangi Tribunal and the Challenge of Tradition by Sir Tipene O’Regan. 

To access this Bridget Williams Books collection, simply head over to our eLibrary resources and scroll down to find Bridget Williams Books. Follow that link to access the collection. You will need your library card number and your pin to login. Happy reading!

William Barnard Rhodes-Moorhouse VC (Ngāti Tama, Ngāti Ruanui)

As ANZAC Day 2020 approaches, it is timely to revisit the life of William Barnard Rhodes-Moorhouse (Ngāti Tama, Ngāti Ruanui) and honour not just his distinction as the first Māori airman, but also as the first British airman to receive the award of Victoria Cross for his bravery in World War I.

Born in 1887 in Britain, Rhodes-Moorhouse and his siblings did not learn of their Māori ancestry, through his mother Mary Ann Rhodes, until 1908. Sadly, William Barnard died on 27 April 1915 after receiving horrific injuries during a successful bombing mission. However, his wife Linda, and son William Henry, followed in his footsteps and both developed a passion for flying and gained their pilot licenses in 1931.

William Barnard’s son, William Henry, joined the 601 “Millionaires” Squadron at the outbreak of World War II and received a Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) in July 1940. Sadly, he died later that year after being shot down over the English town of Tunbridge Wells.

Learn more about William Barnard Rhodes-Moorhouse, and his brave and fascinating family, in the document below. You will also find links to further articles, a film, and a documentary.

Ka nui te ranea o ngā pukapuka hou. An abundance of new books.

Being Together in Place

Ngā mihi o te ngahuru. We have an abundant and varied collection of new books for you in this whakairinga rangitaki (blog post) and there is something for everyone – from social comment to health, from poetry to history. Highlights include Urban Māori: The Second Great Migration which is a timely exploration of the twentieth century Māori migration from rural communities to cities and its impact on Māori identity, and The Moon on my Tongue a wonderful anthology of Māori poetry in English.

Syndetics book coverPou o ue / Cyrus Gregory Tauahika Hingston.
Pou o Ue is the companion book to Cyrus Hingston’s earlier Pou o Whakaue: Marae of Whakaue.  This new volume “…is a history of six marae of Rotorua: the tupuna, the whenua, the whare, the hau kainga, and their memories of the marae, the relationships to the tupuna Uenukukopako (Ue) and Te Arawa whanui.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUrban Māori : the second great migration / Bradford Haami for Te Whānau o Waipareira.
“The post-1945 migration to the cities by Māori transformed Aotearoa New Zealand forever. Exploring what being Māori means today, author Bradford Haami looks back to the experience of the first migrants, and traces the development of an urban Maori identity over the interceding years. Photos and personal korero intersperse a very readable text.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe moon on my tongue : an anthology of Māori poetry in English / edited by Reina Whaitiri, Robert Sullivan and Ben Styles.
“From both revered, established writers and exciting contemporary poets, the work in this anthology offers a broad picture of Māori poetry written in English. There are laments for koro (elders), hopes for mokopuna (grandchildren); celebrations of the land and anger at its abuse; retellings of myth and reclamations of history.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTātai whetū : seven Māori women poets in translation / edited by Maraea Rakuraku and Vana Manasiadis.This is the fourth volume in the Seraph Press Translation Series and is a beautiful little book that celebrates Māori writing and the Māori language. The featured poets include Anahera Gildea,  Kiri Piahana-Wong, Maraea Rakuraku, and Alice Te Punga Somerville. This bilingual collection features a poem each by seven Māori women writers, originally written in English, and a translation in the Māori language.

Syndetics book coverMaea te toi ora : Māori health transformations / Te Kani Kingi, Mason Durie, Hinemoa Elder, Rees Tapsell, Mark Lawrence, Simon Bennett.
“The six contributing authors in the collection include Simon Bennett, Mason Durie, and Rees Tapsell and are all well known in the mental health field. Each discusses aspects of Maori and indigenous health and the importance of culture to diagnosis, patient history, understanding causes, treatment and assessment of outcomes.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBeing together in place : indigenous coexistence in a more than human world / Soren C. Larsen and Jay T. Johnson ; foreword by Daniel R. Wildcat.
Being Together in Place highlights the challenging, tentative, and provisional work of coexistence between Native and Non-Native peoples in relation to contested spaces such as wetlands, treaty grounds, fishing spots, recreation areas, cemeteries, heritage trails, and traditional village sites.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe New Zealand Wars / Philippa Werry.
“Describing the origins of the wars, where and when they were fought, who was involved, and who they affected, this book also examines war memorials, the work of the Waitangi Tribunal, how the wars have featured in New Zealand arts and how they are remembered today. The story is accessible and full of fascinating detail, eye-witness accounts, illustrations and little known facts, with lists of websites, resources and books for those who want to discover more.” (Adapted from the publisher description)

Syndetics book coverTe Ao Hou : the new world, 1820-1920 / Judith Binney with Vincent O’Malley and Alan Ward.
Te Ao Hou explores the history of Maori and Pakeha from about 1830. As the new world unfolded, Maori independence was hotly contested; Maori held as tightly as they could to their authority over the land, while the Crown sought to loosen it. War broke out and for Maori the consequences were devastating, and the recovery was long, framed by poverty, population decline and the economic depression of the late nineteenth century.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTe Ao Hurihuri : the changing world, 1920-2014 / Aroha Harris with Melissa Matutina Williams.
Te Ao Hurihuri shows Maori engaged in building and rebuilding their communities through the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Maori held fiercely to iwi-specific connectedness, community organisation and te reo me ona tikanga. New kinds of Maori institutions released the dynamism of tangata whenua, but the struggle continued against a background of social and economic hardship that burdens so many Maori lives.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

John Miller – in conversation about his historic photographs of the Māori Land March


Photographer John Miller with one of his photographs of the Māori Land March when it arrived in Wellington on October 13 1975. John was photographed at Te Unga Waka Marae in Auckland, at the commemorations of the 40th anniversary of the March in September 2015. Credit: John Miller

Acclaimed documentary photographer John Miller (Ngāpuhi) has documented social and political dissent and cultural events for more than four decades.  John photographed the Wellington section of the 1975 Māori Land March; from Porirua to its arrival at Parliament grounds.  The photographs have become well-known following their reproduction in books, exhibitions and school resources. In this session, John will talk with Paul Diamond about his photographs of the Māori Land March, and his involvement with the march organisers, Te Roopu o te Matakite.

A Wellington City Libraries talk, organised in partnership with the National Library, as part of the Turnbull Gallery exhibition, ‘Not one more acre’: The Māori Land March 40 years on.

Supported by LIANZA Te Upoko o Te Ika a Maui regional group.

When: 12.30-1.30pm, Wednesday 21 October
Where: Ground floor, Wellington Central Library
Cost: Free


The Māori Land March on the Wellington motorway, October 13 1975.
Credit: John Miller

Syndetics book coverHīkoi : forty years of Māori protest / Aroha Harris.
“What have Maori been protesting about? What has been achieved? This book provides an overview of the contemporary Maori protest ‘movement’, a summary of the rationale behind the actions, and a wonderful collection of photographs of the action u the protests, the marches and the toil behind the scenes. And it provides a glimpse of the fruits of that protest u the Waitangi Tribunal and the opportunity to prepare, present and negotiate Treaty settlements; Maori language made an official language; Maori-medium education; Maori health providers; iwi radio and, in 2004, Maori television.” (Syndetics summary)

Whina : a biography of Whina Cooper / Michael King.

Syndetics book coverRaupatu : the confiscation of Māori land / edited by Richard Boast and Richard S. Hill.

Not One More Acre: A Conversation with Ans Westra at the Central Library

Ans Westra Poster6smallb

This October marks the 40th anniversary of the 1975 Māori Land March – when Dame Whina Cooper lead marchers to Parliament to protest the loss of Māori lands. “Not One More Acre of Māori Land” became the catch-cry of the marchers, who left Te Hāpua in the far north on 14 September as a group numbering no more than 50, and eventually reached Wellington on 13 October as a powerful hikoi numbering at over 5000.

Iconic photographer Ans Westra captured this event and on Tuesday 6 October Wellington Central Library will be hosting a talk with this renowned and well-loved photographer, who will describe her experience of attending and photographing the historic march. From Thursday 1st October there will also be an exhibition of contact sheet prints of Ans Westra’s photographs of the arrival of the march in Wellington on 13 October 1975.

A Conversation with Ans Westra
Tuesday 6 October at 12.30pm
2nd floor, Central Library

Syndetics book coverWashday at the pa / photographs by Ans Westra ; with text by Mark Amery.
Washday at the pa, by New Zealand premier photographers Ans Westra, was first published as a photo-story booklet in 1964 by the Department of Education for use in Primary Schools, but all 38,000 copies were withdrawn following a campaign by the Maori Women’s Welfare League that it would have a ‘detrimental effect’ on Maori people – and that the living conditions portrayed within the book were atypical. A second edition of the booklet was published the same years with some images omitted. This edition is a selection of these two editions together with photographs of the washday family taken in 1988, and includes essays by arts critic, journalist and broadcaster Mark Amery detailing the controversy and background of Washday at the pa.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNga tau ki muri = Our future / Ans Westra.
“This timely and visionary new book includes 137 Westra photographs of the New Zealand landscape, with text contributions from Hone Tuwhare, Russel Norman, Brian Turner, David Eggleton and David Lange, who wrote a short piece for Ans as part of an unrealised book project in 1987. Well known for her iconic black and white documentation of Maori culture, Ans Westra is also known for her colour works, which show concern for New Zealand’s destiny, “an island exploited by various waves of settlement”. Shot with Ans’ trusty Rolleiflex camera, the sometimes damning images in Our Future have been made over the last 20 years. “The purpose of the book is to give a directive to the country, an awareness of things changed and lost within its short history. If we don’t plan for the long term and keep taking stop-gap measures, we leave very little behind. Instead of becoming like the rest of the world, this beautiful place should become a shining example of hope for survival in a newly balanced environment.” –Ans Westra.” (Syndetics summary)

Whina [videorecording] : mother of the nation.
“The autobiography of Maori land activist Dame Whina Cooper filmed two years before she died. Born in an earth-floor whare she became a teacher, gum digger, rugby coach, midwife, a tribal leader, president of Maori Women’s Welfare League and controversial leader of the Maori Land March. Who organized her first public protest at the age of 18.” (Library catalogue)

Syndetics book coverHīkoi : forty years of Māori protest / Aroha Harris.
“What have Maori been protesting about? What has been achieved? This book provides an overview of the contemporary Maori protest ‘movement’, a summary of the rationale behind the actions, and a wonderful collection of photographs of the action u the protests, the marches and the toil behind the scenes. And it provides a glimpse of the fruits of that protest u the Waitangi Tribunal and the opportunity to prepare, present and negotiate Treaty settlements; Maori language made an official language; Maori-medium education; Maori health providers; iwi radio and, in 2004, Maori television.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHandboek : Ans Westra photographs / [exhibition curator and coordinator, Luit Bieringa ; texts, Cushla Parekowhai [et. al]].

Ans Westra [videorecording] : private journeys/public signposts / director, Luit Bieringa ; producer, Jan Bieringa.
New Zealand photographer, Ans Westra, talks about her career.

Librarian at Gallipoli – WW100 commemorations diary

Adrienne, our Children’s & Young Adult Services Coordinator, received a double pass to the WW100 commemorations in Turkey as part of the Government-run ballot system. Here’s her report from the events on Saturday 25 April which we received today:

“Was a bit of an ordeal, but totally worth it. We caught a bus at 2.30pm from Istanbul down to Gallipoli. The first check point was bus registration. We queued for 2 hours in a line of buses for this. The bus was given a number and we were all given tags with the same number- so we could ID our bus at the other end. The next check point was for the people on the bus. Another hour of queuing. bandsWe all had to show our ballot passes and passports and were each given a wrist band, different ones for Aussies and Kiwis. Next we queued, again, for the disembarkation point. We got off the bus and queued for security screening into a holding park where there was, finally, hot food and drinks and toilets. The first stop- the bus check point. We left through the opposite side of the park, onto shuttle buses, then down to ANZAC Cove for a final security screening (and another wrist band to say we’d been cleared) and then a short walk to the commemorative site.

We ended up getting there at 1.30am. The place seemed packed and only half the attendees were there at this stage. Eventually everyone had to stand for the last couple of hours to fit everyone in. There was an entertainment programme through the night with music, singing and documentaries.

crowd at dawn

As dawn approached the lights went off and everyone went quiet in anticipation of the ceremony starting. It was very moving occasion, much like the ceremonies at home but with the hills behind lit up to visually emphasise the feat achieved.


Adrienne’s videos:
Dawn Ceremony – Ode
Dawn Ceremony – part of Prince Charles’ speech

Prince Harry in the crowd
Prince Harry in the crowd

Prince Charles laying a wreath
Prince Charles laying a wreath

Afterwards we were released from ANZAC Cove in stages to start the walk up to Lone Pine and Chunuk Bair. The Kiwis had lots of time as our ceremony wasn’t starting until 1.45pm and there was only 2000 of us to get into the site. So we had a leisurely walk through the battlefields and cemeteries, using the Nga Tapuwae app as a guide and seeking out the Kiwi points of interest.
Video: Walking: ANZAC Cove, Artillary Road

trenches trenches2s
Near Lone Pine. Turkish trenches just on other side of the road. The road is no-mans land where bodies piled up for weeks before a cease fire was agreed upon to collect and bury the dead.

While we spent time looking for the Kiwi and Wellington graves, the reality is that the brutality of the fighting means there were few bodies to bury and it was difficult to identify remains with precision. Most of the dead are named on memorials and interred in mass graves under our feet. Many others are still unaccounted for and the battle fields are open graveyards – we found some bones and pieces of skull underfoot as we wandered around, which was thought-provoking.

anzac-books anzac-covesThe location of this photo is the point where the book’s author, Lt Westmacott, got to with his soldiers before being wounded on 25th April and having to fall back. He’s one of the NZ heroes of ANZAC Day.

The NZ ceremony at Chunuk Bair was moving as it was especially significant for kiwis with waiata and speeches made with a focus on the kiwi efforts and achievements. Before and after the Chunuk Bair ceremony we were entertained by the NZ Youth Ambassadors singing kiwi classics with the crowd of 2000 heartily singing along to keep warm and awake (we were well into our second period of 24 hours with no sleep at this stage, but spirits were high).

Chunuk Bair ceremony start
After Chunuk Bair ceremony

We then had to wait for our buses to collect us. They were going to Lone Pine first to pick up the Aussies from their ceremony before collecting us. The bus numbers were slowly being called out but with around 300 buses involved it was going to be a long wait. In the end we waited 5 hours for our bus to arrive, which gave us time the reflect on history and the day, and chat to fellows Kiwis. As it started to get cold the NZDF started handing out cups of hot tea and soup and kept everyone’s spirits up.

Our bus arrived at 8pm and whisked us off to a restaurant for a hot meal before the drive back to Istanbul. We arrived at 2am on Sunday 26th – 38 hours after leaving on the 24th and having been awake for 44 hours. We were exhausted but completely moved by what we had seen, learned and experienced. ”

Previous post in the series: Adrienne blogged about her library-related preparations to go to Turkey

Large scale ANZAC display at the Central Library


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For the past year, in the lead up to the Centenary of the Gallipoli landings, Wellington City librarians have been producing a series of contributions highlighting various aspects of our collection where you can find resources related to this major historical event. Our latest addition, inspired by a recent blog post about Charlotte Le Gallais, one of the nurses who went to Gallipoli on the Maheno hospital ship, is a large scale exhibition about her story, highlighting the various online resources available for history and ancestry research. Come to the Central Library and discover her fascinating story.

You can also contribute your family stories in our “Scrapbook of Memories” kept by the display. For more resources on WW1, browse our series at


Remembering WW1 on Anzac Day

On 25 April 1915, New Zealanders along with other Allied troops landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey, with the aim of taking the Dardanelles, and threatening the Ottoman capital, Constantinople (now Istanbul). At the end of the nine month campaign, about a third of the New Zealand soldiers taking part had been killed. Anzac Day commemorates all New Zealand soldiers killed in war, and also honours returned servicemen and women.  Here is some further reading:

Syndetics book coverShattered glory : the New Zealand experience at Gallipoli and the Western Front / Matthew Wright.
“The Gallipoli campaign of 1915 destroyed New Zealand’s fantasies of war as a glorious schoolboy adventure on behalf of a beloved Empire. The Western Front campaign that followed in 1916-18 gave shape to the emotional impact. it was a horror world of death and mud that destroyed the souls of the young men who fought in it. Together, these two campaigns shaped the lives of a generation of New Zealanders and have given a particular meaning to modern memory of war. In Shattered Glory, highly regarded historian Matthew Wright illuminates New Zealand’s human experience during these two First World War campaigns, exploring the darker side of New Zealand’s iconic symbols of national identity and explaining some of the realities behind the twenty-first century mythology.” (Back cover)

Syndetics book coverDevils on horses : in the words of the Anzacs in the Middle East 1916-19 / Terry Kinloch ; foreword by Dr Christopher Pugsley.
“Reunited with their horses in Egypt after the shattering experience of Gallipoli, the Anzac mounted riflemen and light horsemen were initially charged with the defence of the Suez Canal, then with the clearance of the Sinai peninsula, and finally with the destruction of the Turkish armies in Palestine and Syria.
At last they could pursue the style of warfare for which they had been trained: on horseback.
The First World War battlefields in the Middle East have long been overshadowed by those of Gallipoli and the Western Front. Yet the story of the mounted riflemen in Sinai and Palestine is a truly fascinating one. Using the soldiers’ original letters and diaries wherever possible, Kinloch vividly describes every battle and skirmish in the long campaign against the Turks: the crucial Battle of Romani, the defeats at Bir el Abd, Gaza and Amman, and the successes at Beersheba, Ayun Kara and elsewhere.” (Abridged from publisher’s description)

Syndetics book coverMapping the first world war : battlefields of the great conflict from above.
“Some one hundred years on from the Great War, Mapping The First World War provides a unique perspective on the ‘war to end all wars’. Over a hundred maps and charts show the broad sweep of events, from Germany’s 1914 war goals to the final positions of the troops. There are maps depicting movements and battles as well as related documents, such as those on levels of conscription and numbers of weapons.” (Abridged from publisher’s description)

Syndetics book coverPasschendaele : the anatomy of a tragedy / Andrew Macdonald.
“This extensively researched book tells the story of one of the darkest hours of Australia and New Zealand’s First World War military. With the forensic use of decades-old documents and soldier accounts, it unveils for the first time what really happened on the war-torn slopes of Passchendaele, why, and who was responsible for the deaths and injuries of thousands of soldiers in the black mud of Flanders. Macdonald explores the October battles of Third Ypres from the perspective of the generals who organised them to the soldiers in the field, drawing on a wide range of evidence held in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Britain and Germany. His book is far more than a simple narrative of battle and includes critical and comparative assessments of command, personality, training discipline, weapons, systems, tactics and the environment. It looks equally at the roles of infantry, artillery and engineering units, whether Australian, New Zealand, Canadian or British, and in so doing presents a meticulous, objective and compelling investigation from start to finish. Along the way it offers numerous unique insights that have, until now, been obscured by a nearly century-old fog of war. This book will reshape the understanding of one of the most infamous battles of the First World War.” (Publisher’s description)

Syndetics book coverThe other Anzacs : nurses at war 1914-1918 / Peter Rees.
“By the end of The Great War, forty-five Australian and New Zealand nurses had died on overseas service and over two hundred had been decorated. These were women who left for war on an adventure, but were soon confronted with remarkable challenges for which their civilian lives could never have prepared them.
They were there for the horrors of Gallipoli and they were there for the savagery the Western Front. Within twelve hours of the slaughter at Anzac Cove they had over 500 horrifically injured patients to tend on one crammed hospital ship, and scores of deaths on each of the harrowing days that followed. Every night was a nightmare. Their strength and humanity were remarkable.” (Abridged from publisher’s description)

Syndetics book coverArchduke Franz Ferdinand lives! : a world without World War I / Richard Ned Lebow.
“For Lebow (A Cultural Theory of International Relations), a professor of international political theory, the erasure of WWI from our historical timeline would have placed our world on a path quite different from the one we are on today. He expounds on the theory of counterfactuals to revisit and better understand our history. “What-ifs of this kind offer insights into the world in which we actually live,” Lebow claims, letting us “probe why and how it came about, how contingent it was, and how we should evaluate it.” He begins with the assassination of Franz Ferdinand and its aftershocks, detailing what could have happened in the fields of science, art, medicine, and politics had the archduke survived. Using historical and personal records, supported by known personality traits of notable period figures, Lebow fashions two possible worlds, one better and one worse, had WWI been avoided. His confidence is evident on every page; this work of alternative history reminds us of our own position in flow of events and tempts us to follow Lebow’s lead in fantasizing about the possibilities inherent in these very distinct worlds. Though we can’t escape the realities of our past, Lebow provides his readers with exciting alternatives to consider.” (Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverGallipoli : the final battles and evacuation of Anzac / David W. Cameron.
“This book is the first book since Charles Bean’s Official history to provide a detailed narrative of the bloody and tragic battle for Hill 60, along with the other engagements that went on until the very last days at Anzac – viewed from both sides of the trenches. It also examines in detail the planning and execution of the evacuation of the troops from Anzac – the most successful part of the whole Gallipoli fiasco. David Cameron’s detailed research and use of firsthand accounts including letters, diaries, and interviews, enables him to convey the confusion of battle while also telling a good story with a powerful emotional impact” (Back cover)

Syndetics book coverMeetings in no man’s land : Christmas 1914 and fraternization in the Great War / Marc Ferro … [et al.] ; translations by Helen McPhail.
“In the winter of 1914, after long months of marching, soldiers on both fronts began to dig trenches and the war became a battle of attrition in which ordinary men faced each other across the bombed mud of No Man’s Land. The enemy lines were often no more than a few yards away, the soldiers of both sides in equal desperation, surrounded by carnage and horror. Out of this hardship came a shared feeling which was demonstrated in the unofficial armistice of Christmas 1914, when German and English soldiers laid down their weapons for a blessed moment of peace, played football and swapped food.
In this book, four international experts look at the story of Christmas 1914 and the evidence that fraternization was far more common than previously accepted. Using new research, the book explores these brief moments of humanity on all fronts and throughout the conflict, and shows them to have been not only prevalent but also vital, long ignored, factor in the war. For the French, defending their home territory, fraternization was the last taboo and until now omitted from the record.
Meetings in No Man’s Land reveals a story of the Great War that has long been forgotten or lost in censored official reports or officer journals, and brings new light to the harrowing experience of the ordinary soldier’s life in the trenches.” (Publisher’s description)

Syndetics book coverThe Great War handbook [electronic resource] : a guide for family historians & students of the conflict / Geoff Bridger ; foreword by Cornelli Barnett.
“Geoff Bridger’s The Great War Handbook answers many of the basic questions newcomers ask when confronted by this enormous and challenging subject not only what happened and why, but what was the Great War like for ordinary soldiers who were caught up in it. He describes the conditions the soldiers endured, the deadly risks they ran, their daily routines and the small roles they played in the complex military machine they were part of. His comprehensive survey of every aspect of the soldier’s life, from recruitment and training, through the experience of battle and its appalling aftermath, is an essential guide for students, family historians, teachers and anyone who is eager to gain an all-round understanding of the nature of the conflict. His authoritative handbook gives a fascinating insight into the world of the Great War – it is a basic book that no student of the subject can afford to be without.” (Syndetics summary)

The Lutheran Church in New Zealand

It was such a joyous occasion, one Sunday in December, when whānau and friends of Hamuera Te Punga gathered at St John’s Lutheran Church, Halcombe to commemorate the ordination of Hamuera, 100 years ago, in Springfield, 1912.

It was a day of whanaungatanga rooted in memories of Hamuera’s work, and his wife Lydia – whose musical influence was reflected in the robust part harmony singing, and a rendition of her unique version of the Lord’s Prayer.

But what of the origins of the Lutheran Church in New Zealand? There are fascinating stories of the early Lutheran missionaries, who, although small in, number, made a huge impact on Pākehā-Māori relationships in the 19th Century as they worked to establish Māori missions.

Come, begin this journey with me – through The Lutheran story : a brief history of the Lutheran Church in New Zealand, 1843-1993 by Jean A. King.

Ref: PAColl-0058-10. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand
Missionary Johannes Gottfried Engst. Photographed in 1874 by William H Rau. Alexander Turnbull Library, Ref: PAColl-0058-10.

The Gossner Mission Society sent five young men – Oskar Beyer, Tohan Baucke, Johannes Engst, David Muller and Franz Schirmeister to Whakaru Bay, Chathams, in February, 1843. By 1850, it became clear that the mission was not viable, and, over time, only Engst remained on the island, where he died in 1910.

In the South Island, New Zealand, land purchased by The New Zealand Company for its Nelson settlement attracted – through newspaper advertisements – a group of emigrants (mostly Lutheran) from North Germany and the Rhineland. The ship St Pauli arrived in Nelson, June, 1843.

Portrait of the Reverend Johann Friedrich Heinrich Wohlers. Ref: 1/2-037421-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand
Portrait of the Reverend Johann Friedrich Heinrich Wohlers. Ref: 1/2-037421-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand

The North German Mission Society sponsored a second wave of missionaries to work with Māori, and on board the ship were two ordained ministers, Johann Friedrich Heinrich Wohlers and Johann Friedrich Riemenschneider, with two students, H. H. Trost and J.W.C. Heine.

Wohlers feared for their effectiveness as they were entering a British colony, with British settlers, and he felt that they would be seen as intruders in the landscape. He was greatly disappointed to find very few Māori in that part of the Nelson area, and their early efforts to establish a base was also thwarted somewhat by torrential rain and floods.

Ruins of the Rev. J.F. Wohlers’ house, Ruapuke Island. March 1895.
Ruins of the Rev. J.F. Wohlers’ house, Ruapuke Island. March 1895. Elizabeth Mary Hocken.

Wohlers ventured south, and eventually founded a mission at Ruapuke Island, under the shelter of Tuhawaiki. The little community thrived until the opening up of the mainland. He died on Steward Island 1885.

Rev. J. F. Riemenschneider. Source: NZ Electronic Text Collection
Rev. J. F. Riemenschneider. Etching from Christian Missions in The South Island of New Zealand. Source: NZ Electronic Text Collection

J F Riemenschneider turned to Taranaki with a Mr Wieghtman, toward the Mokau River, meeting up with Henry Schnackenberg who was at the Methodist mission station. He attempted to set up a base in an area populated by Māori catholics, but then, with the assistance of H H Turton, moved to Warea, in Taranaki where he fulfilled a number of roles – as doctor, judge, builder, cabinetmaker, agricultural worker, and advocate for Māori in local body, and an advisor to government on Māori land.

His refusal to align himself with Māori, during the Taranaki Wars, 1860, however, caused a rift, resulting in his move to Nelson, and then Otakou Heads where he died in 1866.

Reverend Johann Heine at the Lutheran parsonage at Upper Moutere. Heine, Clara Mathilde. Ref: 1/2-032576-G. Alexander Turnbull Library.
Reverend Johann Heine at the Lutheran parsonage at Upper Moutere. Heine, Clara Mathilde. Ref: 1/2-032576-G. Alexander Turnbull Library.

J. C. W. Heine had been left to attend to the German settlers in Nelson, taking on roles of teacher and pastor. He sold the NZ Company land in Nelson, purchasing a base in the Moutere, Waimea, Ranzau area. And he named his settlement Sarau.

Heine approached the Hermannsburg Mission Society for help with finances and personnel for both a Māori mission and for the German Lutherans.

Portrait of Rev Johann Heinrich Christoph Dierks. Taken by William Henry Thomas Partington, 1854-1940. Ref: PAColl-5871-05. Alexander Turnbull Library.
Portrait of Rev Johann Heinrich Christoph Dierks. Taken by William Henry Thomas Partington, 1854-1940. Ref: PAColl-5871-05. Alexander Turnbull Library.

Firstly came C F Meyer (from Adelaide), then Christoph Direks, H W Kower, H Loose and J F Goessling, 1876. Christoph Dierks (Waitotara) and his brother Hartwig (Maxwelltown) were the most successful in working with Māori.

Pastor G Blaess worked in the area of Parihaka until 1906. Although Te Whiti and Tohu did not allow their people to attend his services, they did allow them to attend “singsongs” which the musically gifted Blaess organised.

Hamuera Te Punga

Pastor Blaess met with Hamuera Te Punga, of Waiwhetu, and asked him to translate the Lord’s Prayer, and Luther’s Small Catechism into Māori.

Hamuera was encouraged to study for the ministry and was sent, with Henry Harting to a Lutheran Seminary at Springfield in United States. Hamuera married Lydia Gose, and returned to New Zealand in 1912.

After working in the Lower Hutt area, Hamuera was invited to the St Johns Lutheran Church at Halcombe where he remained until his death in 1968.


King, Jean A. The Lutheran story : a brief histoy of the Lutheran Church in New Zealand 1843-1993. Lutheran Church of New Zealand, 1994.

Memories of my life : J.F.H. Wohlers : missionary at Ruapuke, New Zealand : an autobiography / translated from the German by John Houghton ; edited by
Sheila Natusch.


Syndetics book coverGod’s messenger : J.F. Riemenschneider and racial conflict in 19th century New Zealand / Peter Oettli.
” God’s Messenger is a new biography of the North German missionary Rev. J.F. Riemenschneider, who settled in the Taranaki region in the first half of the nineteenth century. The book not only details the life and work of Riemenschneider but also examines the socio-political context of nineteenth century New Zealand. It documents the social Conditions of Taranaki Maori in the mid-nineteenth century and increasing tensions between colonists and Maori, leading to the land wars with Taranaki. Book jacket.” (Syndetics summary)

Pāhuatanga o Parihaka – 7 November event

Parihaka, 1881 by George Clarendon Beale; Ref. A65.651; Collection of Puke Ariki, New Plymouth. Used with permissionAt the beginning of November our minds turn to Guy Fawkes and fireworks.  But on 5 November 1881,Taranaki iwi and friends were faced with Bryce’s cannon and 1600 volunteers and Armed Constabulary troops. Unlike  Guy Fawkes, Te Whiti o Rongomai, Tohu Kakahi and their followers embraced passive resistance.  These were the men who struggled to prevent seizure of their whenua in Taranaki, by ploughing the land, and removing survey pegs, all of which led to the plundering of Parihaka by government forces, on that day in 1881.

We have some great books in the library, telling and retelling these tragic times for iwi:

Days of darkness : Taranaki 1878-1884 by Hazel Riseborough
“What happened at Parihaka is one of New Zealand’s great untold historical stories. As the title indicates, this book deals with a dark period in New Zealand history; a period too few people know about. Te Whiti led Maori tribes in their response to the government’s attempts to seize Maori land.” (catalogue summary).

Image courtesy of SyndeticsAsk that mountain by Dick Scott.
“Journalist and historian Dick Scott broke new ground with Ask That Mountain. Scott draws on official papers, settler manuscripts and oral histories to give first complete account of what took place at Parihaka, a small settlement at the foot of Mount Taranaki where the chiefs Te Whiti and Tohu opposed the colonial government in the latter half of the nineteenth century û making one of the world’s first recorded campaigns of passive resistance.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Image courtesy of SyndeticsIn August 2000-January 2001, Wellington City Gallery hosted a millennium exhibition  – Parihaka :  the art of Passive Resistance. The book of the exhibition,  edited by Te Miringa Hohaia, Gregory O’Brien, and Lara Strongman and published by City Gallery, Wellington, Victoria University Press, and Parihaka Pā Trustees,  brings together beautiful works and  images, including an interesting collection of waiata, poi manu, and whakawai, originally gathered and preserved by Te Whiti and Tohu.

Image courtesy of Syndetics2010 brought Contested ground = Te whenua i tohea : the Taranaki Wars 1860-1881 edited by Kelvin Day and published by Huia Publishers.  This book won CLL – Copyright Licensing Ltd Education Publishing Awards : Best Book in Higher Education Winner. and the History Award of Ngā Kupu Ora Māori Book Awards, Massey University, 2010.

To understand the history of Taranaki iwi and one of their unique cultural developments – the Parihaka poi manu, you may be interested in viewing Waka Huia’s videos on the tribal history of Taranaki on YouTube.

Come, hear these stories on 7 November, Central Library, Ground Floor, at 12.30 pm.

(Parihaka image used with permission: Parihaka, 1881 by George Clarendon Beale; Ref. A65.651; Collection of Puke Ariki, New Plymouth.)


ANZAC Day – Your Ancestors’ Military Past

GenealogyInterested in researching your family history?
From time to time we’ll be posting genealogy facts and advice here on the News Blog.
For other blog entries on genealogy, click on the tag “genealogy” at the bottom of this post.

Australians and New Zealanders know ANZAC day – 25th April – as a national day of remembrance to honour members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli in Turkey during World War I.

Did you have a relative who took part in WW1? Would you like to read their Military Personnel Record?

Military records can provide amazing details for genealogists, especially ages and places of birth, while they can also expand family histories with information about campaigns, conduct and even physical descriptions of ancestors.

Continue reading “ANZAC Day – Your Ancestors’ Military Past”