The NZ Collection Presents – This week in History 2nd – 8th August: Chunuk Bair

The New Zealand Collection is located on the second floor of The Central Library. Each ‘This Week in History’ post is associated with a display in the NZ Collection and uses available databases and the library collections to illustrate and provide additional information.

Wellington Battalion captures Chunuk Bair – 8 August 1915

This year along with the many other 100th anniversary commemorations occurring we pay tribute and remember the many soldiers that lost their lives in the battle for Chunuk Bair. On the 8th August there will be a dawn service at the Wellington Cenotaph, 6.45am–7.45am organised by Wellington City Council to remember the huge losses that took place 100 years ago.

The name ‘Chunuk Bair’ means many things to New Zealanders, national pride, sorrow at the loss of so many lives and anger. The attack began well on the 6th August 2015 with The New Zealand Infantry Brigade and Māori Contingent clearing the way. Progress was made but there were delays which meant that the troops and equipment were not in place at the planned time to continue on and attack the summit. Lieutenant-Colonel William Malone was the commanding officer of the Wellington Battalion and for the days leading up to the battle Malone’s troops were digging in trenches below the peak and preparing to attack early on the 8th August.

Chunuk Bair dugout
Corrie, Frank Reginald, d 1915. Trooper Frank Reginald Corrie of Wellington Mounted Rifles, at Chunuk Bair, Gallipoli, Turkey, during World War I. Williams, Charles Athol, 1899-1990 : Photographs of Te Aute Station, Mangakuri Station, the Williams family, and Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey during World War I. Ref: PAColl-0184-1-006. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

The Wellington Battalion occupied the summit before dawn on 8 August. With sunrise came a barrage of fire from Turks holding higher ground to the north. A desperate struggle to hold Chunuk Bair ensued. It was not until after dark that the Otago Battalion and the Wellington Mounted Rifles arrived to reinforce the 70 Wellington Battalion men (out of 760) who were still holding the line. Malone had been killed by an Allied shell at about 5 p.m. The New Zealanders were relieved on the night of 9/10 August by British battalions, but these quickly succumbed to a counter-attack led by Mustafa Kemal, who was to become the founding President of Turkey.

(From “Today in History page at”)

Lieutenant-Colonel William Malone died alongside the many others wounded and killed during the battle and is remembered as a leader who fought for the welfare of his men. A famous quote of his came when he received an order from his superior, Brigadier-General Johnston that he did not agree on and it is alleged he said “We are not taking orders from you people… My men are not going to commit suicide.”

Lietenant Colonel William George Malon
Lieutenant Colonel William George Malone. McAllister, James, 1869-1952 :Negatives of Stratford and Taranaki district. Ref: 1/1-012824-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Many New Zealand papers carried this notice following William Malone’s death at Chunuk Bair.

Wanganui Chronicle Killed in Action
Retrieved from Wanganui Chronicle , Issue 20434, 13 August 1915, Page 8 from Papers Past

In the New Zealand Collection I work with two people who have been fortunate to visit Chunuk Bair, one as a school student on a history trip and the other who went this year to the 100 year commemorative service. Here is Alison’s photo of the Chunuk Bair memorial taken on the 25th April this year, and a view of the trenches at Chunuk Bair looking back towards Suvla Bay. She found the Chunuk Bair service very moving and poignant. Alison was amazed that so many of the trenches were still visible and was particularly moved on seeing the magnificent view over the Dardanelles from the top. So poignant as you could plainly see why it was such a sought after objective in the Gallipoli campaign and that it was only held for three days.

Chunuk Bair memorial

Trenches Chunuk Bair looking back towards Suvla Bay (3)

While looking for information on this battle I looked at the Auckland Museum Online Cenotaph where you can access information on World War 1 Soldiers. As an example here is the page for William Malone. On the online version you can place a virtual poppy on the cenotaph next to a soldiers name and it also lists the sources used to find information which are good starting points for your own family research as well.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission. A search here for William Malone shows his grave as the Chunuk Bair New Zealand Memorial which is one of four memorials erected to commemorate New Zealand soldiers who died on the Gallipoli peninsula and whose graves are not known. This memorial has over 850 names.

To view a digitised World War One Military personnel file you can search by name on the Archives New Zealand ARCHWAY site. Click here to see William Malone’s digitised army record.

The New Zealand Electronic Text Collection is a digitised collection of significant New Zealand and Pacific Island texts held by Victoria University of Wellington. The texts are freely accessible to all researchers and you do not have to have an affiliation to Victoria University. You can access war histories and a search using Chunuk Bair will get you a long list of resources that you are able to read online.

From the library collection you can read the war diaries and letters of Lieutenant-Colonel W. G. Malone and others about Chunuk Bair and the Gallipoli campaign.

Syndetics book coverNo better death : the great war diaries and letters of William G. Malone / edited by John Crawford with Peter Cooke.
“Perhaps the greatest leader of men during the Gallipoli campaign, Lieutenant-Colonel W. G. Malone was commanding officer of the Wellington Battalion of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force at Gallipoli. He is probably the best-known individual from that ill-fated campaign, a result both of his humanity and his superb leadership, which culminated in the successful assault on Chunuk Bair on 8 August 1915. Malone was killed later that day.’No Better Death’ reproduces Malone’s impressive and often moving correspondence and writings, as well as many striking photographs generously provided by Malone’s descendants. Malone was a gifted writer and a keen observer, and his letters reveal a shrewd military intelligence and genuine care for his men. Above all, this is a story of valour and fortitude under the enormous pressure of being responsible for the lives of many others. It is also the story of a man who had an unbounded love for his family, and constantly drew on the reciprocity of that love to pull through and overcome the frustrations, fear and life-threatening situations he was forced to endure. Malone’s descendants have subsequently served their country with honour, and their stories are also recorded in the book.” (Syndetics summary)

Man of Iron : The extraordinary story of New Zealand WWI hero Lieutenant-Colonel William Malone
“The first biography of one of New Zealand’s best known First World War soldiers.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGallipoli : a guide to New Zealand battlefields and memorials / Ian McGibbon.
“Gallipoli is one of the most significant sites in the story of New Zealand’s First World War – a symbol of great sacrifice and camaraderie, and the heart of ongoing Anzac commemorations. Gallipoli: A Guide to New Zealand Battlefields and Memorials is the indispensable handbook to the history and geographic features of the campaign for a modern, general readership. Easy-to-follow and highly illustrated, it introduces the battlefields, cemeteries and memorials, detailing the stories behind each and offering historical overviews of New Zealand’s involvement more generally. The perfect introduction to New Zealand’s Gallipoli.” (Syndetics summary)

Chunuk Bair [videorecording] / screenplay by Grant Hindin Miller ; directed by Dale G. Bradley; produced by L. Grant Bradley.
“The tragedy of New Zealand’s experience at Gallipoli is re-told in this historical story. New Zealand’s Wellington Regiment, new to warfare, shellshocked and exhausted, are ordered by their British Generals to take Chunuk Bair. For three days they battle their way to the ridge above. Blinded by a vision of glory and devotion to honour, the Regiment’s Commander pushes up the ridge to take the high ground. Outnumbered by the Turks the New Zealanders find themselves cut off and without supplies. Courage, determination and humour keep them fighting until what was to be their salvation becomes their final nightmare” (Container)

Syndetics book coverGallipoli : the Dardanelles disaster in soldiers’ words and photographs / Richard van Emden and Stephen Chambers.
“Presenting more than 150 never-before-published photographs of the campaign, many taken by the soldiers themselves, together with unpublished written material from British, Anzac, French and Turkish, including eyewitness accounts of the landings, this is an unrivalled account of what really happened at Gallipoli. Van Emden’s gripping narrative and lucid analysis of Churchill’s infamous operation, compliments Chambers’s evocative images, showing how the rapid spread of diseases like dissentry, the lack of clean water and food, the tremendous losses on both sides affected morale, until finally in January 1916, in what were the best-laid plans of the entire disastrous campaign, the Allies successfully fooled the Turkish forces and evacuated their troops from the peninsula with no additional casualties. Leading First World War historian Richard van Emden and Gallipoli expert Stephen Chambers have produced an entirely fresh, personal and illuminating study of one of the Great War’s most catastrophic.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGallipoli : the New Zealand story / Christopher Pugsley. “Gallipoli is perhaps New Zealand’s most enduring myth, our ‘finest hour’, a bitter, bloody and tragic campaign in which 2721 young men lost their lives of the 8556 who fought there. The campaign is glorified in our observance of Anzac Day, but the true story of New Zealand’s involvement has never been comprehensively told. Army historian Christopher Pugsley, an expert in the campaign, has now collated his extensive research and interviews with survivors to provide a narrative which takes into account every aspect of Gallipoli and its impact on both the New Zealanders who fought there and on the country that sent them. GALLIPOLI – THE NEW ZEALAND STORY provides the first major evaluation of one of our most important historical events, and many decades after the battle, strips bare the myth of Anzac and does justice to the reality of that epic campaign.” (Syndetics summary)

The New Zealand Collection presents – This Week in history 14th – 20th June

This week’s selected topic comes from the Today in History page at The New Zealand Collection is located on the second floor of The Central Library. Each ‘This Week in History’ post is associated with a display in the NZ Collection and uses available databases and the library collections to illustrate and provide additional information.

Lovelock wins ‘Mile of the century’

15th June 1935

I grew up in a town where a number of the streets were named after some of New Zealand’s most famous middle distance runners, these were runners who had become household names. There was a Lovelock Street and a Halberg Cresent and I lived on Peter Snell Street for a number of years. In Wellington we have Porritt Ave in Mount Victoria and I’m sure there are lots of towns with parks and streets named after these athletes. This week I chose the anniversary of Lovelock’s “Mile of the Century’ win for this post and I found it difficult to choose what to write about and what to leave out as there are so many connections to some really interesting events and people. So if you want to know more about Lovelock and Porritt check out the links attached to their names below and read the entries in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. This resource is available from the Library Website at the My Gateway New Zealand page.

24051-PAColl-8163-31 2.tif
Associated Press. Jack Lovelock after his victory in the `mile of the century’ – Photograph taken by the Associated Press. New Zealand Free Lance : Photographic prints and negatives. Ref: PAColl-8163-31. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Jack Lovelock had become well known as a runner after he set a world record for the mile in 1933 with a time of 4 minutes, 7.6 seconds. He was the top miler and received many invitations to races that were being organised in Europe and the United States. One of the races was to become known as the ‘Mile of the Century’ and it was to pit Lovelock up against a number of American runners and was held at the Princeton College track where he had previously set the world record.

Lovelock Victor
Downloaded from Papers Past from “Auckland Star, Volume LXVI, Issue 141, 17 June 1935, Page 14”

Lovelock was the first New Zealand track and field athlete to win an Olympic gold medal which he did at the Berlin Olympics in 1936. The Berlin Olympics was of course known for the debate and protest over the Nazi regime and Hitler’s rise to power which had occurred after Berlin was selected as the venue for the games. Hitler used the games as a propaganda showcase of his regime and to advance the Nazi cause to the world. In the picture below Lovelock is running in fourth place during the 1500m Berlin Olympics.

1500metres 1936 Berlin Olympics
Runners during the first lap of the 1500 metres final at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. Making New Zealand :Negatives and prints from the Making New Zealand Centennial collection. Ref: MNZ-0983-1/4-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

The New Zealand Olympic team in Berlin was managed by Arthur Porritt and this starts a circle of interesting intersections. Starting first with Porritt’s connection to the 1924 Paris Olympics where he represented New Zealand in the 100m race where he came third and won the bronze medal. This was the race famously depicted in the movie “Chariots of Fire”. Apparently due to Porritt’s modesty his name did not feature in the movie and a fictional ‘Tom Watson’ was depicted as the bronze medallist. The winner of that famous race and so the main character depicted in the movie was Harold Abrahams. This brings us back to Lovelock and the Berlin Olympics. On the following Youtube clip you can watch Lovelock winning the Olympic gold medal in the 1500m race. The amazing commentary is by Harold Abrahams who was covering the Olympics for BBC radio. It’s a cross between an informed expert commentary and a fan watching a race on television at home with lots of “Come on Jack, he’s won, Hooray he’s won!!!. It is an amazing clip to watch and I’m sure you will enjoy the exuberant commentary.

Syndetics book coverJack Lovelock : athlete and doctor / Graeme Woodfield. “Jack Lovelock remains one of New Zealand’s greatest sportsmen, the diminutive figure in black who, “running in a rapture”, won the Olympic 1500m gold medal in world record time in front of Hitler in 1936.Despite his fame, Lovelock has been an enigmatic, elusive figure. This prompted fellow Timaru Boys’ High School old boy Dr Graeme Woodfield to embark on a comprehensive study of Lovelock. Woodfield has examined the many facets of Lovelock – athlete, doctor, journalist, soldier, family man – and, drawing on the contributions of several specialists, completed what is virtually a forensic investigation of this famous New Zealander. He now offers the most comprehensive and readable account of this New Zealand icon’s life.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAs if running on air : the journals of Jack Lovelock / edited by David Colquhoun.
“In the 1930s the New Zealander Jack Lovelock was one of the world’s best-known athletes. In 1933 he broke the world record for the mile. At the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games he won a gold medal and broke the world record for the 1500 metres. When he retired, a leading sports writer lamented the end of a golden age of mile racing. Throughout his running career Lovelock kept journals and diaries. While much has been written about Lovelock, until now his journals and diaries have never been published. Some are brief, little more than notes; others are eloquent and reflective. Collectively they constitute a unique record of a sporting life in the 1930s and offer insights into just what it took to make a world champion.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNo ordinary man : the remarkable life of Arthur Porritt / Joseph Romanos and Graeme Woodfield.
“Arthur Porritt was a multi-faceted New Zealander who achieved great things in several spheres. Among his achievements: A Rhodes Scholar in 1923. An Olympic sprint medallist, in 1924, in the 100m final made famous by the film Chariots of Fire. A widely-respected and much-honoured surgeon, who became president of the Royal College of Surgeons and the British Medical Association. A member of the International Olympic Committee for more than half a century, and chairman of the Commonwealth Games Federation for 18 years. A decorated war hero, who was present during the D-Day landings. Surgeon to the Royal Family from 1936-67. The first New Zealand-born Governor General. In addition to their own research, the authors – one a medical doctor, the other a sports writer – have been given Porritt’s extensive unpublished memoirs, and have made maximum use of these in compiling No Ordinary Man.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHitler’s Olympics : the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games / Christopher Hilton.
“The Berlin Olympic Games, which remain the most controversial ever held, have their 70th anniversary in August 2006. Using newspapers, diaries and interviews to recreate the atmosphere during the XIth Olympiad, this book presents an account of the disputes, the personalities and the events which made these Games so memorable.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOlympia / Leni Riefenstahl ; foreword by Monique Berlioux ; introduction by Kevin Brownlow.
“A pictorial coverage of the Berlin Olympics.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFaster stronger higher : golden Olympians of New Zealand / Wilf Haskell.
“Wilf Haskell has written a book which is unique. His research into the previously unrecorded background of New Zealand’s Olympic champions provides some new and interesting insights into our gold medal winners from our first involvement in the Olympic Games through to the 1960’s.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOur Olympic century / Joseph Romanos.
“A landmark book that contains the story of New Zealand’s first 100 years at the Olympic Games, presented in an attractive, easy-to-read format” (Syndetics summary)

The New Zealand Collection presents – This week in history: 24th – 30th May

This week’s selected topic comes from the Today in History page at The New Zealand Collection is located on the second floor of The Central Library. Each week we feature topics in the This Week in History display in the NZ Collection and using available databases and the library collections to illustrate and provide additional information.

29 May 1953: Hillary and Tenzing conquer Everest

Arguably our most famous New Zealander and someone whose picture we probably all carry around in our wallet, all be it on the $5 note, as he was one of the few living non-heads of state to feature on the banknotes first issued in 1990. This week we celebrate Sir Edmund Hillary’s Everest climb to the top of the world.

Edmund Hillary came to worldwide attention when he and Tenzing Norgay became the first to reach the summit of Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak. Hillary and fellow New Zealander George Lowe were members of the British Everest Expedition which was led by John Hunt. The summit was reached 4 days before the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. They reached the 8848m summit on the 29th May 1953. There was much discussion and controversy over who was the first to step on the summit. The news broke on the morning of the coronation and Hillary was one of the first to receive a knighthood from the new Queen bringing about another controversy as Hillary was knighted while Norgay was awarded the George Medal.

Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tensing Norgay in Wellington. Further negatives of the Evening Post newspaper. Ref: EP/1971/3690/6A-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

I used the Proquest database located on the MyGateway page of the library webpages to find some articles written about Sir Edmund Hillary. The great thing about the Proquest database is that it offers full text, searchable access to national and provincial newspaper from Australia and New Zealand including The Dominion Post, Sunday Star Times and The New Zealand Herald. You need a library card to log on so you can search from home or on the free internet service available at all our branch libraries. I found a number of obituaries written at the time of Sir Edmund’s death. I particulary liked this quote from an article titled “The man mountain” by Anthony Hubbard in the Sunday Star Times on the 6th Apr 2003.

Hillary laughed about the cascade of compliments coming his way during the 50th anniversary of his conquest of Everest. “What’s the term they use?” he asked. “No, not the hero, the ah… I always forget the name.” He called out to his wife upstairs. “June, what am I?” Lady Hillary came down and said, matter of fact: “An icon.”

“An icon!” he laughed. “I’m certainly not an icon at home.” “No man”, she replied, “is an icon to his wife.”

While talking about Sir Edmund Hillary with a colleague he mentioned a performance he had seen at Womad and sent me a link. It received a rousing reception at the festival and it is worth a look. The group Public Service Broadcasting say in their Youtube account description that “They take samples from old public information films, archive footage and propaganda material, attempting to ‘teach the lessons of the past through the music of the future’.” You can view the clip below or hop over to to our catalogue for their CD titled Inform educate entertain.

You can also view a N.Z. On Screen short film of Hillary returning to New Zealand after the history making climb to the summit of Everest at their website here. You will also be able to view other documentaries about Sir Edmund Hillary from the same link.

A trivia question: What vehicle associated with Sir Edmund’s Antarctic expeditions is pictured on the five dollar note? Go to see the answer here as it’s quite hard to see on the bottom left corner of the note.


Following his ascent of Everest Hillary devoted much of his life to helping the Sherpa people of Nepal through the Himalayan Trust, which he founded in 1960. Due to the trust and his determined efforts many schools and hospitals were built in this remote region of the Himalayas. Through the trust many New Zealanders have donated money and volunteered in the building projects and staffing of schools and hospitals in Nepal. On the 50th anniversary of the climb the Prime Minister of Nepal made Sir Edmund an honorary citizen of Nepal. A close connection between Nepal and New Zealand continues today and at the time of the tragic Anzac Day earthquake in Nepal Himalayan Trust members and other New Zealand travellers and volunteers were in Nepal. A number of appeals have since been launched in New Zealand to provide aide to the Nepalese people.

Various expeditions to climb Everest had been undertaken since 1921 and you can read digitised newspaper articles on the Papers Past database with a simple search of Everest. You can also read online the New Zealand Geographic here and search for articles on Hillary by logging on with your library card. I found the following article on Papers Past from the Evening Post 18 July 1934 which illustrates the drive that adventurers felt to conquer Everest which was sometimes called the ‘Third Pole’ in relation to the difficulty, excitement and interest in planning and making North and South Pole Expeditions.

Evening Post 18 July 1934, Page 9

Sir Edmund Hillary was on the front cover of many newspapers and magazines following the Everest climb. Articles can be found in the London Times which you can search using your library card to log in from the Newspaper database collection here. As the 1950s print media is not widely digitised you can instead view Wellington newspaper front pages of the time on microfilm, or you can ask to see the Life Magazine issue (Vol 15, No. 3. August 10, 1953 – International Edition) that had Hillary and Tenzing on the front cover. The famous magazine contained an article written by Sir Edmund Hillary, Tenzing’s own story and some stunning photographs. There is also a small glossary of the special ‘Language of Everest’ to explain climbing terms used in the article. You can also ask to see the 1953 New Zealand Alpine Journal that has an editorial dedicated to the ‘Ascent of Everest’ and contains an article by Hillary about the previous year’s British expedition to the Himalayas or the May 2003 copy of National Geographic for an article on the 50th anniversary of the ascent.

Hillary Magazines

Hillary died of heart failure at the age of 88 on 11 January 2008. At Scott Base in Antarctica and at all New Zealand government and public buildings flags were lowered to half mast in recognition of his death and as a tribute to what he meant to the people of New Zealand. A state funeral was held in New Zealand and a thanksgiving service was also held in London. Many memorials and lasting tributes have since been set up to commemorate him. The library holds a number of books about Hillary and Everest, the first is a fascinating illustrated biography with stunning photos many taken by Sir Edmund who was an avid photographer.

Syndetics book coverSir Edmund Hillary : an extraordinary life / Alexa Johnston.
“Around the world Sir Edmund Hillary is a legendary figure – climber, bold adventurer, practical philanthropist and one of the most widely respected persons of our time. He has survived extremes of human experience – from historic triumphs to crushing personal loss – but he sees himself as an ordinary man, persistent rather than heroic. This beautiful book is profusely illustrated with over 500 images, using fascinating material, such as letters, cards, diary pages, and ephemera, from his personal archive. It is a magnificent tribute to one of the greatest climbers and explorers of all time.” (Syndetics summary)

Here is a quote from Edmund Hillary’s diary from Sir Edmund Hillary : an extraordinary life.

Tenzing is an absolutely first class companion for a climber such as myself who likes a lion’s share of the leading. His great strength & endurance enable him to maintain almost any pace without complaint. He is always watchful and efficient in his technique & over dangerous ground the rope is kept tight with a comforting assurance of readiness to meet any emergency.

Syndetics book coverView from the summit / Edmund Hillary.
View from the Summit is a thoughtful and honest reappraisal of a life spent pushing human ability to its limits and relishing the challenges thrown down by the elements. It is also the story of a man whom the world has taken to its heart.” (Inside Cover)

Syndetics book coverSir Edmund Hillary & the people of Everest / foreword by Prince Philip ; with photographs by Anne B. Keiser ; text by Cynthia Russ Ramsay.
“Describes Hillary’s ascent to the summit of Mount Everest and his lifelong relationship with the Sherpas.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEverest 1953 : the epic story of the first ascent / Mick Conefrey.
“On the morning of 2 June 1953, the day of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation, the first news broke that Everest had finally been conquered. Drawing on first-hand interviews and unprecedented access to archives, this is a ground-breaking new account of that extraordinary first ascent. Revealing that what has gone down in history as a supremely well-planned expedition was actually beset by crisis and controversy, Everest 1953 recounts a bygone age of self-sacrifice and heroism, using letters and personal diaries to reveal the immense stress and heartache the climbers often hid from their fellow team members. Charting how the ascent affected the original team ­in subsequent years and detailing its immense cultural impact today, Everest 1953 is the perfect book to commemorate this remarkable feat of the human will.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEverest – the first ascent : the untold story of Griffith Pugh, the man who made it possible / Harriet Tuckey.
“Marking the 60th anniversary of the first ascent of Everest in May 1953, Everest — The First Ascent tells the story of the doctor and physiologist Griffith Pugh, without whom the successful conquest of Everest by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay would not have been possible. Recruited as an advisor in 1952, Pugh battled for fifteen months — in the face of opposition, suspicion and ridicule — to revolutionise almost every aspect of British high-altitude mountaineering, transforming the approach to oxygen, clothing, boots, tents, air beds, fitness, hygiene, health-care, diet and acclimatisation. The results were a stunning success and opened the door to the golden age of Himalayan climbing. Pugh’s techniques are still in use today, yet he has never enjoyed popular credit for his work.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAfter Everest : inside the private world of Edmund Hillary / Paul Little with Carolyne Meng-Yee.
“Edmund Hillary is a towering figure among adventurers. His conquest of Everest and his dedication to the welfare of the Nepalese people is well known. While much has been written about what Sir Edmund Hillary did, ‘Ed’, the man behind the legend, is less well known in large part because he controlled how his story was told. The years leading up to Everest and the other great adventures are remarkable enough, but it is the drama of Ed’s later years that throws light onto the world of the private man: the death of his wife and daughter in an air crash, his remarriage to the widow of an old friend, and, finally, the falling out, after his own death, of family members and those in his inner circle. Ed’s image was that of a simple, straightforward man, but in reality he was a complex bundle of paradoxes. This is the story of the man behind the legend.”–Back cover.

Syndetics book coverThe conquest of Everest : original photographs from the legendary first ascent / George Lowe and Huw Lewis-Jones.
“Published to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the conquest of Mount Everest, this visually spectacular book features a trove of original photographs and other rare materials from the George Lowe collection, many unpublished, complemented by classic images from the final ascent. Stunning landscapes, candid portraits, and action shots describe the day-by-day moments of the historic expedition as never before.The extraordinary journey is retold from Lowe’s point of view, capturing the drama of the expedition and the personal stories of those involved. The book also includes contributions from an impressive team of mountaineers and explorers, including Reinhold Messner, Sir Chris Bonington, the late Sir Edmund Hillary, Peter Hillary, Doug Scott, Stephen Venables, Norbu Tenzing Norgay, Tom Hornbein, Kenton Cool, and Jan Morris.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEverest / [editors, Ian Penberthy and George Lewis].
“Approximately 400 unique photographs, along with descriptive captions, transport the reader from base camp to the snow-clad slopes and ridges of Mount Everest, and to the peak itself. The Earth’s highest mountain… has long been a lure for mountaineers and explorers. The dangers of altitude sickness, adverse weather conditions, and ferocious winds make the peak tantalizingly difficult to attain. The ninth British expedition, led by John Hunt, made two attempts in 1953. The first climbing pair came to within 300ft of the summit on May 26th, but were forced to turn back after experiencing oxygen problems. Two days later New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, a Nepali Sherpa, made a second assault, reaching the summit at 11:30 am on May 29th via the South Col Route. The Royal Geographical Society’s extensive archives contain an astonishingly detailed and intimate record of the unsuccessful expeditions in the 1920s and 1930s, and the landmark 1953 expedition, with many fascinating and beautiful images captured by the photographers who accompanied the climbing teams.” (Syndetics summary)

The New Zealand Collection Presents – This Week In History: 17th – 23rd May

The Kingitanga movement was established in 1858 due to concerns among some central North Island Māori tribes of alienation of Māori land and to give Māori leadership an equal status to that of the English monarchy. Korokī Te Rata Mahuta Tāwhiao Pōtatau Te Wherowhero was the fifth king. This week’s selected topic comes from the Today in History page at The New Zealand Collection is located on the second floor of The Central Library. Each week we feature topics in the This Week in History display in the NZ Collection and using available databases and the library collections to illustrate and provide additional information.

18 May 1966: The Death of the Māori King Korokī

King Koroki Te Rata Mahuta Tawhiao Potatau Te Wherowhero and others. Ref: PAColl-0671-01. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Korokī (pictured above in the centre) was the eldest son of Te Rata, the fourth Māori king. Te Rata died in 1933 and although Koroki felt unprepared to take his father’s place and felt the people were too poor to afford to support a king, he was however crowned on 8 October 1933. His feeling of being unprepared meant he made sure his successors were well educated and better prepared for the role than he had been.

Coat of Arms
Carved door, and door surround, including the coat of arms for the Maori kings (Te Paki o Matariki) at the Turongo House, Turanga-waewae, Ngaruawahia. Godber, Albert Percy, 1875-1949 :Collection of albums, prints and negatives. Ref: APG-1501-1/4-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

This photo shows a welcoming Haka performed before Korokī makes an official speech. You can listen to Korokī making a speech here.

Haka and action song being performed at Mahina-a-rangi meeting house, Turangawaewae marae, Ngaruawhahia. Original photographic prints and postcards from file print collection, Box 2. Ref: PAColl-5584-28. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

You can read an article about the tangihana (funeral) of Korokī from the National Library website of the digitised journal Te Ao Hou here. The website describes the journal below;

Te Ao Hou was published from 1952 to 1976 by the Māori Affairs Department in New Zealand Aotearoa. According to its first editorial, Te Ao Hou aimed “to provide interesting and informative reading for Maori homes … like a marae on paper, where all questions of interest to the Maori can be discussed.

The journal can be accessed from the Māori Resources page via the Rauemi link on the Wellington Libraries website.

King Karokī's carved house
Creator unknown : Photograph of King Koroki’s carved house at Ngaruawahia. Ref: PAColl-9376. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Here are some of the books held in the library collection about people of note in the Kingitanga.

Koroki, my king.
“A collection of memories of King Koroki, the fifth Maori king. These memoirs have been offered by the people of Waikato” — ” The story is written at the request of Te Arikihui Te Atairangikaahu. It is to commemorate the reign of her father, King Korokī, and to acknowledge the effort and sacrifice of his people” (Inside Cover)

Syndetics book coverTe Kingitanga : the people of the Maori King movement : essays from, The dictionary of New Zealand biography / foreword by Sir Robert Te Kotahi Mahuta, introduction by Angela Ballara.
“These biographies of fourteen Kingitanga leaders, from Potatau to Te Rata, tell the story of the movement in its first century. Te Kingitanga documents the struggle with colonial authority, the confiscation of over a million acres, the establishment of the aukati (the King’s boundary), the period of self-imposed isolation in which the principles of the kingdom were developed, the refusal to compromise, and the efforts to regain what was lost. This history records also the resurgence of the movement in the twentieth century.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverKing Pōtatau : an account of the life of Pōtatau Te Wherowhero the first Māori king / Pei Te Hurinui.
“This book details the background to the Kingitanga and also tells the story of the first king, Potatau Te Wherowhero. It details all the momentous events of Te Wherowhero’s life from around 1775 to his death in 1860, including his status as Lord of the Waikato and the famous battles and conflicts with other tribes, his raising up as the First Maori King, and Mana Motuhake, the Maori Kingship, set apart as the symbol of the spiritual and cultural life of the Maori. Pei Te Hurinui’s biography of King Potatau tells this story in a Maori voice employing waiata, poetry and whakapapa as well as prose text in English and English translations so that the book is accessible to both Maori language speakers and those with no knowledge of Maori.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Maori king / John Eldon Gorst ; edited with an introduction by K.O. Arvidson.
The Māori King has long been recognised as a masterpiece of nineteenth-century New Zealand Literature. E.H. McCormick thought it pre-eminent among works on the wars of the 1860s, while Keith Sinclair considered it ‘the very best of nineteenth century account of life among the Māori’ M.P.K. Sorrenson has described it as ‘one of the classics of New Zealand Literature’.” (Inside Cover)

For added interest you can head to the Times Digital Archive which can be accessed from our newspapers page from the collection of databases at My Gateway on the library website to read a letter Gorst sent to the times that was published on the 24th December 1863. And you can read a biography of John Gorst here.

Tamihana the kingmaker / by L.S. Rickard.
From the preface it reads “It was while I was reading the new edition of Sir John Gorst’s ‘The Māori King’ that I realised that Wiremu Tamihana was one of the most remarkable men in our history and also one of its least known. In spite of the important part he took in the affairs of the 1850s and 1860s, he occupies few lines in most history books…..This work is an attempt to redress the balance.”

Te Puea : a life / Michael King.
Te Puea Herangi, whom Professor John Pocock identified as ‘possibly the most influencial women in our political history’, wanted an honest biography of her turbulent life.” (Abridged back cover)

The New Zealand Collection Presents: This Week in History 3rd – 9th May

For generations of New Zealanders ‘The School Journals’ have been part of our literacy journey. I have vivid memories of my class each being handed a journal and taking turns reading a paragraph out loud. I would run my finger along the words as others read so I would be ready for my turn. There was always such excitement when the teacher announced “turn to the play on page 12” and then we would all be anxiously waiting and hoping to get a part to read.

School Journal 1975

The stories talked about New Zealand places and people, the poems evoked New Zealand scenery and experiences and sometimes the stories and poems had art work by children. This week’s selected topic comes from the Today in History page at The New Zealand Collection is located on the second floor of The Central Library. Each week we feature topics in the This Week in History display in the NZ Collection and using available databases and the library collections to illustrate and provide additional information. This week’s topic;

9 May 1907 The First School Journal published

In May 1907 New Zealand pupils were for the first time able to read a schoolbook published in their own country. The quarterly School Journal was initiated by Inspector-General of Schools George Hogben as a free publication containing information on history, geography and civics. This was a cheaper option than publishing several separate textbooks. Until 1939, when a School Publications Branch was formed, the School Journal was the Department of Education’s sole publication for children.

Wellington Central Library holds a collection of New Zealand School Journals in our Magazine Stack dating back to the 1907 bound copy.

Journals 1907

The School Journal was published by Learning Media for the Ministry of Education from 1993 until 2013, when it moved to a private publisher, Lift Education. Believed to be the longest-running serial publication for children in the world, the Journal continues to provide seven- to 13-year-olds with reading material that is relevant to their lives. Around 750,000 copies of the School Journal are published annually in four parts.

They can also now be read online here at the Ministry of Education’s TKI website.

Margaret Mahy’s first book, A Lion in the Meadow, was published in 1969 but this story was first published in a New Zealand School Journal. We hold a copy of this journal in our rare books collection A lion in the meadow, and other stories and poems / [stories by Margaret Mahy ; pictures by Jill McDonald].. We also have a recent edition of this early reader classic in our children’s collection.

Syndetics book coverA lion in the meadow / Margaret Mahy ; illustrated by Jenny Williams.
“A new Early Reader edition of this classic story from the hugely popular and award-winning Margaret Mahy When the little boy tells his mother he has seen a big, roaring, yellow, whiskery lion in the meadow, she decides to make up a story for him too and gives him a matchbox with a tiny dragon inside.” (Syndetics summary)

To celebrate the School Journal 100 year anniversary in 2007 Learning Media published the beautiful ‘A Nest of Singing Birds’, a browse of this book is sure to evoke memories of classroom and childhood.

Syndetics book coverA nest of singing birds : 100 years of the New Zealand school journal / [by Gregory O’Brien]
“A NEST OF SINGING BIRDS: 100 YEARS OF THE NEW ZEALAND SCHOOL JOURNAL by Gregory O’Brien celebrates, in lively words and gorgeous images, the publication that over the last hundred years has shaped New Zealanders – and the luminaries of New Zealand arts and letters who have featured in it.” (Syndetics summary)

Many of New Zealand’s foremost authors and illustrators have had their work published in the School Journal over the past century. They include Rita Angus, James K. Baxter, Alistair Campbell, Russell Clark, Jack Lasenby and E. Mervyn Taylor.

Here are some examples of what these artists and writers have gone on to produce or had written about them.

Syndetics book coverMāori boy : a memoir of childhood / Witi Ihimaera.
“This is the first volume of Witi Ihimaera’s enthralling memoir, packed with stories from the formative years of this much-loved writer. Witi Ihimaera is a consummate storyteller – one critic calling him one of our ‘finest and most memorable’. Some of his best stories, however, are about his own life. This honest, stirring work tells of the family and community into which Ihimaera was born, of his early life in rural New Zealand, of family secrets, of facing anguish and challenges, and of laughter and love. As Ihimaera recounts the myths that formed his early imagination, he also reveals the experiences from real life that wriggled into his fiction. Alive with an inventive, stimulating narrative and vividly portrayed relatives, this memoir is engrossing, entertaining and moving, but, more than this, it is also a vital record of what it means to grow up Maori.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverChappy
“A literary milestone: Patricia Grace’sfirst novel in ten years. Uprooted from his privileged European life and sent to New Zealand to sort himself out, twenty-one-year-old Daniel pieces together the history of his Maori family. As his relatives revisit their past, Daniel learns of a remarkable love story between his Maori grandmother Oriwia and his Japanese grandfather Chappy. The more Daniel hears about his deceased grandfather, the more intriguing – and elusive – Chappy becomes. In this touching portrayal of family life, acclaimed writer Patricia Grace explores racial intolerance, cross-cultural conflicts and the universal desire to belong. Spanning several decades and several continents and set against the backdrop of a changing New Zealand, Chappy is a compelling story of enduring love.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRita Angus : life & vision / edited by William McAloon & Jill Trevelyan.
“This exquisite full-colour catalogue explores the life and work of Rita Angus (1908#150;70), one of New Zealand’s best-loved artists and her legacy of art in New Zealand. It features magnificent reproductions of every artwork in the exhibition, from iconic landscapes and portraits like Cass and Rutu to work never before seen in public. Includes essays from well-known writers, critics, and art historians.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBaxter basics / James K. Baxter.
“In 1954 James K Baxter became a teacher and began writing poems for children. Here for the first time in one volume are the Baxter Basics – a New Zealand classic. BAXTER BASICS were originally published in 1979 as six poems in separate booklets: Rain, I’m a Tree, The Tree House, The Seagull, The Ships and The Firemen. They remain some of the finest examples of children’s poetry produced in this country. With their delightful original illustrations by the celebrated Lynley Dodd, Judith Trevelyan, Dawn Johnston and Ernest Papps this volume is a must have for kiwi kids and adults alike.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverJames K. Baxter : poems / by James K. Baxter ; selected and introduced by Sam Hunt.
“Including 50 poems by revered New Zealand poet and social activist James K. Baxter, this unique and accessibly sized collection offers an insider’s view of the man and his work from his longtime friend and fellow poet Sam Hunt. With a range of familiar and lesser-known poems dating from 1945 to 1972, and a substantial essay by Hunt, this compilation offers a fresh and very personal look at the work of an extraordinarily influential poet.” (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 unreaslied 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)

The New Zealand Collection Presents: This Week in History 19th – 25th April

The historic alliance made in 1936 between Rātana and the Labour Party that was to greatly influence the Māori seats is highlighted this week. This week’s selected topic comes from the Today in History page at The New Zealand Collection is located on the second floor of The Central Library. Each week we feature topics in the This Week in History display in the NZ Collection and using available databases and the library collections to illustrate and provide additional information. This week part two of a two part blog about the establishment of the first four Māori seats.

22nd April 1936 Rātana and Labour Seal Alliance

Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana
Raine, William Hall, 1892-1955. Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana – Photograph taken by William Hall Raine. Dominion post (Newspaper) :Photographic negatives and prints of the Evening Post and Dominion newspapers. Ref: EP-NZ Obits-Ra to Rd-01. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

The alliance between the Rātana Church and the Labour Party was cemented at an historic meeting between Tahupōtiki Wiremu Rātana and Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage on 22 April 1936. The links will take you to the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography pages that can also be accessed from the library My Gateway page for more details about these two men.

Michael Savage
Michael Joseph Savage. Original photographic prints and postcards from file print collection, Box 1. Ref: PAColl-5471-055. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

In 1928 T.W. Rātana announced his intention to enter politics, referring to the four Māori seats as the ‘four quarters’ of his body. He aimed to win these seats through the voting power of his followers, by 1934 said to number 40,000.

In 1932 Eruera Tirikātene became the first Rātana MP when he won a by-election for Southern Maori. He was instructed to support the Labour opposition. Rātana favoured the Labour Party because it had consulted his supporters when devising its Māori policy. When Labour won a landslide election victory in 1935 the Rātana movement took a second seat, Western Maori.

At the 1936 meeting Rātana presented Savage with four symbolic gifts. Three huia feathers, representing Māori, protruded from a potato, which symbolised the land taken from Māori, leaving them unable to grow the staple crop. A pounamu (jade) hei tiki represented Māori mana (prestige), which had also been lost. A broken gold watch handed down to Rātana by his grandfather represented the broken promises of the Crown. A pin with a star and crescent moon was the symbol of the Rātana Church, Tohu o te Māramatanga. It is said that these items had such a profound impact on Savage that when he died in 1940 they were buried with him.

In 1943 the Rātana–Labour alliance succeeded in capturing all ‘four quarters’ when Tiaki Omana defeated Sir Āpirana Ngata for the Eastern Maori seat. Labour was to hold all the Māori seats until 1993.

Rātana Temple
Ratana temple. Godber, Albert Percy, 1875-1949 :Collection of albums, prints and negatives. Ref: 1/2-018648-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Here is an image of a Rātana membership card with the inscription, “He kororia, he honore, hareruia kia “Ihoa”, Matua, Tama, Wairua Tapu, me nga Anahera Pono – Te Area – Te Omeka – Piri Wiri Tua – Hamuera, me Te Kahui Ariki Wairua i raro ia Ratou, mo Te Mangai hei tautoko ake nei: – Ae”

Ratana Members Card
[Ratana Pa] :He kororia, he honore, hareruia kia “Ihoa”, Matua, Tama, Wairua Tapu, me nga Anahera Pono … Puke-Marama, Ringa-Kaha, Hanuere 25, 1937. He paahi tenei e whakaae ana ahau [Whakapae Tamou] kia [hoata?] te Kororia te Honore … Na T. W Ratana-Mangai-Piri Tua [1937]. Ref: Eph-A-MAORI-Ratana-1937-01. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Here are some links to Papers Past articles about Tahupotiki-Wiremu-Ratana and the Rātana Church from 1920 and about the Southern Māori By-Election and Rātana Revisted 1924 two years after reports of his first miracles.

Syndetics book coverRatana : the prophet / Keith Newman. Throughout history, certain individuals with a rare passion for justice and a gift of insight have been able to rally and motivate people through periods of great social change, sometimes defying all odds and being greatly misunderstood in the process.Tahupōtiki Wiremu Rātana was such a man, called to prominence at a pivotal time, with a message for the Māori people and for the wider world. After a profound vision he became a healer of people’s physical ailments and a lifter of ancient curses; and he was also a leader in healing the ‘land sickness’ of the Māori, after decades of land confiscation by the Government and the Crown.As founder of the Rātana Church and the Rātana movement, he led his followers in the quest to unite all Māori under one God, and to restore the Treaty of Waitangi as the founding document of the nation, giving Māori equal rights to British citizens.Ratana – The Prophet, based on some 20 years of research, distils for a general audience the extraordinary depth of T. W. Rātana’s political, spiritual and social legacy.

Ratana : the Maori miracle man : the story of his life : the record of his miracles / by “Rongoa Pai”.

The New Zealand Collection Presents: The Week in History 12th – 18th April

New Zealand’s first parliamentary elections were held in 1853, although at that time not everyone had the right to vote. This week’s selected topic comes from the Today in History page at The New Zealand Collection is located on the second floor of The Central Library. Each week we feature topics in the This Week in History display in the NZ Collection and using available databases and the library collections to illustrate and provide additional information. This week the first of a two part blog as we remember the first Māori MPs elected to Parliament. Next week will highlight the historic alliance made in 1936 between Rātana and the Labour Party that was to greatly influence the Māori seats, but first 1868, and the establishment of the first four Māori seats.

April 1868 The First Māori MPs Elected to Parliament

Four Māori seats in the House of Representatives were established in 1867, initially for a period of five years. The innovation was in some part a recognition of Māori support for the Crown during the New Zealand Wars but also politically motivated as the Māori seats also served as a counterweight to new seats that had been created on the South Island goldfields. You can read the Māori Representation Act here at the Early New Zealand Statutes site by The University of Auckland Library.

Nomination day in all four Māori seats was on the 15 April. Frederick Nene Russell (Northern Maori) and Mete Kīngi Paetahi (Western Maori) were elected unopposed. In Eastern Maori there were two candidates and Tareha Te Moananui was elected after a show of hands. In Southern Maori there were three candidates and a poll was demanded. Held in June, this resulted in the election of John Patterson. From the Electoral Commission New Zealand website you can read more of the history of the Māori Seats and MPs here.

Mete Kīngi Paetahi
Mundy, Daniel Louis, 1826?-1881. Mundy, Daniel Louis (Christchurch) fl 1858-1875 :Portrait of Metekingi Paetahi. Ref: PA2-1176. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.
In the 1870s Hōri Kerei Taiaroa, the member for Southern Maori, argued unsuccessfully for an increase in the number of Maori electoral districts to five or even seven. He did succeed in getting legislation passed in 1876 that made the seats permanent unless they were abolished by legislation.
Hōri Kerei Taiaroa
Hori Kerei Taiaroa. General Assembly Library :Parliamentary portraits. Ref: 35mm-00131-e-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.
In 1986, the Royal Commission suggested that under MMP Māori would no longer need the Māori seats but it was argued against and as a result of the reforms that were introduced following the commission, the Māori seats survived. The number of seats would now increase or decrease according to the results (population numbers) of the regular Māori electoral option”. As a result in 1996 before the first MMP election, the number of Māori seats increased to five, the first increase in 129 years. In 2002, it went up to seven. There is a map on the Te Ara website that shows the boundaries of the Māori seats over the years here.
Whare Pooti
Front view of a meeting house at Te Whaiti showing Maori carving around the porch. A sign in the window reads ‘Polling Booth Whare Pooti’. Circa 1930’s
Meeting house at Te Whaiti. Original photographic prints and postcards from file print collection, Box 1. Ref: PAColl-5471-013. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

To read a variety of opinions about Māori parliamentary seats I conducted a search using an index found on the library Gateway page here. You can find Index New Zealand in the drop-down menu and once you log on using your library card a search for ‘Māori Seats’ will give you a list of articles from Newspapers and magazines. You can filter the search if you just want journal articles and with this I found some interesting articles from Mana Magazine, New Zealand Geographic, The Listener, The Journal of New Zealand Studies and others. You can search for the journals held by the library on our catalogue and what years we hold. If you are looking for older copies that are no longer on the open shelves they can be retrieved for you from the magazine stack accessed from the 2nd floor. For example we have copies of Mana Magazine dating back to the first issue in 1993.

You can also research many of these early Māori politicians on the libraries Tāngata Māori Database. This comprises a collection of articles on Māori people covering the years 1930 to the present day, many of them taken from the Dominion and Evening Post newspapers. The core of the material once formed the biographies file of the New Zealand vertical file collection. Ask at the second floor enquiry desk for help with this database or to locate the articles you find.

The New Zealand Collection holds a number of biographies of some of the early Māori MPs such as;

Apirana Ngata : e tipu e rea / Michael King.

Syndetics book coverWiremu Pere : the life and times of a Maori leader, 1873-1915 / Joseph Anaru Te Kani Pere and others.
“Wiremu Pere (Wi Pere) lived from 1837 to 1915, leading his tribes of Rongowhakaata and Te Aitanga a Mahaki through some of the most turbulent chapters of New Zealand history. He stood resolute against colonialism and entered parliament to stand up for his East Coast people, yet was astute in his business dealings and was compromised in the views of many Pakeha and Maori. This handsome book, illustrated with numerous photographs, whakapapa and maps, sets out the many sides Wi Pere’s life and times with a particular focus on his family life, parliamentary career and contributions to the East Coast.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNgapua : the political life of Hone Heke Ngapua, MHR / Paul Moon. “Hone Heke Ngapua (1869-1909) was one of the foremost Maori leaders of the past two centuries. He received enormous recognition as an MP, working alongside Carroll, Ngata, and Seddon, and emerged as the country’s first pan-tribal Maori leader. Paul Moon’s long-awaited first biography of Ngapua is as absorbing as the man himself, and fills a vital gap in the country’s history – especially its Maori history – in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

You will also find useful material about Māori in relation to government, treaty and leadership.

Syndetics book coverMāori and Parliament : diverse strategies and compromises / edited by Maria Bargh. “Maori and Parliament provides a comprehensive and enlightening context for understanding both the historical and contemporary relationship between Maori and Parliament and highlights many of the issues which would arise in any discussion of New Zealand constitutional reform. Maori and Parliament is a collection of nineteen presentations and papers from twenty-one academics, political commentators and current and former parliamentarians and is the result of the Maori and Parliament conference held at Parliament in May 2009.” (Syndetics summary)

To honour the treaty : the argument for equal seats/ by Simon Reeves.

Māori seats and constituencies and local authorities / Pita Rikys.

Syndetics book coverEffective Māori representation in Parliament : working towards a national sustainable development strategy / [author, Wendy McGuinness]. “Prepared by The Sustainable Future Institute, as part of Project 2058.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Treaty of Waitangi companion : Māori and Pākehā̄̄ from Tasman to today / edited by Vincent O’Malley, Bruce Stirling and Wally Penetito.
“Since the Treaty of Waitangi was signed by Maori chiefs and Governor Hobson in 1840 it has become the defining document in New Zealand history. From the New Zealand Wars to the 1975 Land March, from the Kingitanga to the Waitangi Tribunal, from Captain Cook to Hone Harawira, The Treaty of Waitangi Companion tells the story of the Treaty and Maori and Pakeha relations through the many voices of those who made this country’s history.Sourced from government publications and newspapers, letters and diaries, poems, paintings and cartoons, the Companion brings to life the long history of debates about the Treaty and life in Aotearoa.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSpeeches that shaped New Zealand : 1814-1956 / Hugh Templeton, Ian Templeton & Josh Easby.
“A collection of historically significant speeches by those who helped lead the development of New Zealand as a nation between 1814 and 1956.” (Publisherinformation)

Syndetics book coverThe spirit of Māori leadership / Selwyn Katene.
“Explores what leadership is, discusses different models and styles of Māori leadership, describes the qualities and approaches of Māori leaders and, using this knowledge, looks at the attributes and styles needed in future leaders. The book provides insights into and analysis of traditional and contemporary models of Māori leadership. From this, it identifies three connected themes: understanding what makes a good leader, the importance of people and relationships, and the need to formulate a strategic plan and examines four leadership models: transactional, charismatic, transformational and organic.” (Publisher information)

The New Zealand Collection presents: The week in history 5th – 11th April

This week’s selected topic comes from the Today in History page at The New Zealand Collection is located on the second floor of The Central Library. Each week we feature topics in the This Week in History display in the NZ Collection and using available databases and the library collections to illustrate and provide additional information. This week we remember the sinking of the Wahine in Wellington Harbour.

10th April 1968 The Sinking of the Wahine

The Wahine was one of the two ships that maintained a regular service between Wellington and Lyttelton. Each ferry was drive-on and provided sleeping accommodation for the passengers.

Wahine at wharf

Hutt Road Thorndon Quay offramp, railway lines and ferry terminals with the Wahine and one other ferry at the wharf. Winder, Duncan, 1919-1970 :Architectural photographs. Ref: DW-5389-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

On the evening of the 9th April the Wahine set out from Lyttleton on the regular overnight service. There were 123 officers and 610 passengers onboard and a stowaway who was travelling to Wellington to join the crew of the rail ferry Aramoana in Wellington which was not an uncommon unofficial way to travel. The ferry was en route from Lyttelton to Wellington when it fell victim to one of the most ferocious storms in New Zealand’s recorded history. With the loss of 52 lives (a 53rd victim died in 1990 from injuries sustained in the wreck), this was our worst maritime disaster since the loss of the Penguin in 1909.

Wahine 2

Wahine sinking in Wellington Harbour. Further negatives of the Evening Post newspaper. Ref: EP/1968/1647/14-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

The wreck of the Wahine lay near the harbour entrance for 5 years with the last pieces of the ship being removed in 1973. The salvage work sadly also claimed the life of one of the divers involved in the dangerous underwater cutting work.

Wahine salvage

Hikitia floating crane lifting a portion of the ferry Wahine, Wellington. Negatives of the Evening Post newspaper. Ref: 35mm-00036-b-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

The wrecking of the Wahine is often studied and we have some very useful resources here in the New Zealand Collection and library databases. Although online New Zealand newspaper databases do not cover the year of the Wahine sinking, the New Zealand Collection has a Local History Collection that is a collection of newspaper and magazine clippings. The clippings are organised in a searchable database called the Wellington Local History Vertical Files and by asking at the 2nd floor desk using the file names you find you will be rewarded with envelopes full of newspaper clippings. We also have the Evening Post Clippings Collection, 1927 – 1977 and a search of this database will provide a large collection of clippings both about the disaster and the inquiry that followed.

There is an overseas newspaper database that does cover this timeframe and by searching the Times Digital Archive from the library databases I was able to read the report on the Wahine disaster on the front page of The Times newspaper and see pictures on page 12 from the 11th April 1968. Once you have logged into the database with your library card, you can read this here

Our library webpages also have a page about the Wahine disaster which includes a list of the resources available from our library catalogue. One of the resources is an educational kit from Newspapers in Education that has a number of A2 pages featuring some of the newspapers stories from the time of the shipwreck.

A very moving documentary about the Wahine disaster screens at the Museum of Wellington City and Sea every 30 mins and there is a collection of YouTube video showing film footage from the Wahine disaster which can be viewed here.

The Emmanuel Makarios book The Wahine Disaster featured below has been a useful resource for this blog post.

Syndetics book coverThe Wahine disaster : a tragedy remembered / Emmanuel Makarios.
“A study of one of the worst maritime disasters in New Zealand history. Drawing on oral history and archival records it provides a vivid account of the events of 10 April 1968”–Inside cover.

The New Zealand Collection Presents: This Week in History 29th March – 4th April

As usual this week’s selected topic comes from the Today in History page at The New Zealand Collection is located on the second floor of The Central Library. Each week we feature topics in the This Week in History display in the NZ Collection and using available databases and the library collections to illustrate and provide additional information.

2nd April 1916 – The Arrest of Rua Kēnana

Rua called himself the Mihāia (Messiah) and claimed to be the successor whose coming had been predicted by the prophet Te Kooti a generation earlier. By 1907 there were around 600 followers who had joined him and were living at Maungapōhatu, a model community that he had founded on non-violent principles.

Photo Credit: McDonald, James Ingram, 1865-1935. Rua Kenana. Ref: 1/2-019618-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Rua aimed to blend the best of Pākehā practices with Māori customs. He established a farming co-operative and a savings bank, and promised his people that their land and their mana would be returned. See below an image a bank book from the Maungapōhatu Bank.

Rua Kēnana Bankbook
Photo Credit:Rua Kenana Hepetipa, 1868?-1937. Kenana, Rua Hepetipa 1869-1937 : Peeke takoranga moni I raro i te mana O Rua Hepeti Maungapohatu. Ref: MSX-3427. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Many Pākehā saw the Maungapōhatu community as subversive and Rua as a disruptive influence. Māori politicians like Māui Pōmare and Āpirana Ngata believed that traditional tohunga (spiritual leaders) such as Rua held back Māori progress.  Rua was summonsed to appear before the local magistrate on 19 January 1916. He excused himself on the grounds that it was harvest time but stated that he would attend the court session scheduled for February. This was viewed as contempt and a new warrant was issued for his arrest. John Cullen, the commissioner of police, began preparations for an armed police expedition to Maungapōhatu. Read an article here from Papers Past published in February of 1916 from The Star to see how Rua was perceived in the Pākehā press

Bourne, George, 1875-1924. Rua Kenana Hepetipa’s wooden circular courthouse and meeting house at Maungapohatu. Ref: 1/2-002915-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

On Sunday 2 April 1916, 57 armed police invaded the remote Ngāi Tūhoe settlement of Maungapōhatu in the Urewera Ranges. They had been sent to arrest the prophet Rua Kēnana.

Photo Credit: Police approaching Maungapohatu, to arrest Rua Kenana. Ref: 1/2-028071-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Rua was standing unarmed on the marae waiting to greet the approaching police when a shot was fired. In the following exchange of gunfire two of the Maungapōhatu residents were killed, including Rua’s son Toko. Senior police officers claimed they had walked into a planned ambush, but the evidence suggests it was the police who fired first. Rua and others were arrested on a number of charges ranging from resisting arrest to treason. They were taken to Auckland for trial. Rua was sentenced to 12 months’ hard labour followed by 18 months’ imprisonment.

Rua was taken to Auckland and charged with treason. Read here the judges summing up at the end of the trial. A jury found him not guilty, but Judge F.R. Chapman found him guilty of ‘morally’ resisting arrest. He lectured Rua that as a member of a race ‘still in tutelage’ he must learn that the arm of the law reached into ‘every corner’. Eight of the jury petitioned Parliament to have the sentence reduced.

Rua was released from jail in April 1918. The community at Maungapōhatu fell on hard times and by the early 1930s many had left in search of work.

Maungapōhatu, city in the mist. Photo by George Bourne. Auckland Institute and Museum

Rua went to live at Matahī, a community he had founded in 1910 on the Waimana River in eastern Bay of Plenty. He died there on 20 February 1937.

The Māori Collection alongside the New Zealand Collection holds a number of books about Rua Kēnana, the Tūhoe people and their land in the Urewera.  The title featured first also looks at connections with the 1916 raid on Maungapōhatu and the 2007 raids on Tūhoe activists and urban anarchist supporters.

Syndetics book coverThe prophet and the policeman : the story of Rua Kenana and John Cullen / Mark Derby.
“In April 1916, John Cullen, the Commissioner of the New Zealand Police Force, personally led a raid on the Tuhoe prophet Rua Kenana’s spiritual community at Maungapohatu, deep in the Urewera mountains. The raid, which was based on trumped-up charges, left two of Rua’s followers dead and a number of others wounded, and is often described as the last battle of the New Zealand Wars. The outcome of this raid was disastrous for race relations in this country and a historic low point for the New Zealand police. This book is an account of this dramatic, tragic and profoundly symbolic event in our history, told by recounting the life stories of its two principal antagonists. John Cullen was a farm labourer born in rural Ireland, who rose through the ranks to head the police force and was famously viotent, devious and authoritarian. Rua was notably gentle and inspirational, although often mysterious and contradictory. This is a highly readable, potent and fascinating book of New Zealand history. The two subjects of this dual biography represent two poles of the national character: the archetypal Pakeha no-nonsense conservative who was quite prepared to break the law to serve the interests of the section of society he represented, and the semi-mythical Maori spiritual leader, steeped in mysterious charisma and pre-scientific beliefs. The 2007 anti-terrorist raids on Tuhoe activists and the urban anarchist supporters have given the 1916 Maungapohatu raid a contemporary resonance: a connection that is explored in the conclusion of this book.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMihaia : the prophet Rua Kenana and his community at Maungapohatu / Judith Binney, Gillian Chaplin, Craig Wallace.
“Rua Kenana was one of many Maori prophetic leaders of the 19th and 20th centuries. He called himself Te Mihaia hou, the new messiah, and was the leader of a section of the Tuhoe at a time when their land, the Urewera country, was threatened by possible prospecting and milling. Withdrawing to Maungapohatu, in the heart of Urewera, he established a community. This work is a history of Rua and his people, of the destruction of the community, by the government during World War I, and the struggle to start all over again.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBeyond betrayal : trouble in the promised land – restoring the mission to Māori / Keith Newman.
“Beyond Betrayal delves into New Zealand’s pioneering history, and asks why such promising partnerships descended into decades of distrust. After the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, a succession of governors resisted missionary advice, despite their local knowledge and peacemaking skills, and influenced a raft of misunderstandings that provoked violent outbreaks across the country. The rise of Maori prophetic movements, and an intense desire for Maori to have a unified political voice, saw allegiances split between those supporting the government and those frustrated at failed Treaty promises. The pressure to surrender tribal lands had the same impact – a shattered economy and a dispossessed people. The thrilling follow-up to Keith Newman’s bestselling Bible & Treaty, Beyond Betrayal looks behind the events that led to the first Maori land protests, and follows the unfolding drama through the stories of the early missionaries and Maori heroes of the faith. These dramatic and heartrending tales of injustice, sacrifice and redemption form an important and often misunderstood backdrop to the wider New Zealand story – one of the most turbulent periods in our history, told with skill, sensitivity and heart.”–Back cover.

Syndetics book coverStories without end : essays 1975-2010 / Judith Binney.
“Judith Binney’s work spans nearly forty years of historical endeavour that began with the award-winning biography of the missionary Thomas Kendall, The Legacy of Guilt (1968). Her magisterial publication of 2009, Encircled Lands, is the culmination of many years’ work on the history of the Urewera – a great scholarly enterprise that began with a visit to Maungapohatu in the late 1970s. The questions that presented themselves, in that place about that history, led to what Judith Binney has called ‘the unanticipated trilogy’: Mihaia (the biography of Rua Kenana); Nga Morehu (oral histories of women connected to the Ringatu church); and prize-winning biography of Te Kooti, Redemption Songs. Around this central core of remarkable books stands a ring of essays, exploring sidepaths, offering other stories, presenting glimpses tangential to her historical narratives. The people of these ‘stories without end’ are those we meet in the books: Rua and Te Kooti, their wives and their descendants; the leaders of the Urewera; the schoolteachers from Maungapohatu; those early missionaries; the government men. Oral history brings its particular resonance to some essays; a discourse on symbols and maps lends insight to another; taking this very specific history, located in the Urewera, to readers outside New Zealand gives a new slant. The stories in this collection are just that: narratives that flow one into another, filling out histories, bringing people out of the shadows, bringing scholarship to life. They are ‘stories without end’, from a writer who is also one of New Zealand’s greatest scholars.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTūhoe : portrait of a nation / text by Kennedy Warne ; photographs by Peter James Quinn.
“Tūhoe: Portrait of a Nation explores the relationship between Tūhoe and Te Urewera, the people and the land. It is the result of a multi-year project by acclaimed documentary photographer Peter James Quinn and Kennedy Warne, founding editor of New Zealand Geographic. The two journalists circled the ‘encircled lands’ – the tribal domain that stretches from the forest fortress of Lake Waikaremoana to the coastal valleys of the Bay of Plenty – and collected the stories of Tūhoe. From tribal leaders to possum hunters, traditional healers to tourism operators, Tūhoe shared their words, their culture and their lives. At once an exquisite photographic showcase – incorporating dramatic landscapes, documentary-style reportage and portraiture – and the most up-to-date retelling of Tūhoe history, here is a portrait of an iwi and its encounter with a unique and treasured land. Listening to the past through the voices of today, the book asks, and answers, the question: What does it mean to be Tūhoe?”–Publisher information.

Syndetics book coverTe Manawa o Tuhoe : the heart of Tuhoe / photographs by Terry o’Connor ; introduction by Hirini Melbourne.
A collection of black and white images.

The New Zealand Collection presents: This Week in History 15th – 21st March

“I eat my peas with honey.
I’ve done it all my life.
It makes the peas taste funny.
But it keeps them on the knife.”

This Ogden Nash quote is a clue to the ‘This Week in History’ topic. As usual this week’s selected topic comes from the Today in History page at The New Zealand Collection is located on the second floor of The Central Library. Each week we feature topics in the This Week in History display in the NZ Collection.

On the 19 March 1839 Honey bees were first brought to NZ
Mary Bumby landed at the Wesleyan Mission Station at Mangungu, Hokianga, in March 1839, she brought two hives of honey bees from Sydney (where they had been established since 1822). New Zealand had native species of bees, but they were not suitable for producing honey. Mary Bumby was born at Thirsk, Yorkshire, in 1811 and she sailed for New Zealand aboard the James in September 1838. Mary kept a diary and she wrote about her first impressions of New Zealand from when she left her Yorkshire home until she became to busy when her first child was born three years later. Sadly Mary Bumby died at sea on a return voyage to England in March 1862.

There are some really interesting books about bees in the New Zealand collection but unfortunately some of the older publications do not have much information about them in the catalogue. We have a 1976 reprint of A MANUAL FOR NEW ZEALAND BEE KEEPERS that was first published in 1848 and starts with the following introduction “The following manual is intended for the use of all persons in this island who wish to keep bees, but do not like to do so, because they feel they know not where to apply for instruction.” We also have a New Zealand Department of Agriculture Bulletin titled BEEKEEPING from 1926. This one has a section on “Beekeeping for Ladies” and I guess it’s heartening to think that in 1926 the bulletin states “That there is nothing connected with bee-farming that a young women cannot accomplish”. Pictured below is a women who perhaps decided beekeeping was for her, although I’m not sure why the people either side of her have been shaded out.

women with honeycombs
Outdoors on rough ground with trees behind, an unidentified woman holding three honeycombs covered in bees, probably Christchurch region. Maclay, Adam Henry Pearson, 1873-1955 :Negatives. Ref: 1/2-163842-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

The NZ Collection also holds the 1961 edition of the Department of Agriculture bulletin No.267 BEEKEEPING IN NEW ZEALAND.
Beekeeping was an important factor in the National economy and was supported by the government who in 1905 announced it’s intention to increase the number of hives at Ruakura Apiary and for it to be run as an experimental station to keep apiarists up to date. Downloaded from Papers Past was this report from the The New Zealand Herald on the 5th September 1905.

Bee Industry

The collection holds several editions of this next book and this is the 2011 fourth edition which has been updated with information on the varroa mite and it’s effects on New Zealand beekeeping.

Syndetics book coverPractical beekeeping in New Zealand / Andrew Matheson and Murray Reid.
“For more than 25 years Practical Beekeeping in New Zealand has been the bible for New Zealand beekeepers. The only comprehensive guide to keeping bees in New Zealand, it provides both amateur and professional beekeepers with details on honey bee management throughout the year, advice on handling hive products and information about many other beekeeping subjects. As well as being a guide to beekeepers, Practical Beekeeping in New Zealand appeals to those interested in apiculture and deciding whether to keep bees, and horticulturalists and farmers find it of particular interest for crop pollination. Given New Zealand’s reputation in world beekeeping the book has also been keenly sought after by beekeepers overseas.Three editions of the book have been published since 1984. It has now been comprehensively updated to incorporate the latest information available, particularly on new approaches to beekeeping now the parasitic varroa mite has become established in New Zealand and changed the face of beekeeping forever.” (Syndetics summary)

This one is about the history of gardening in New Zealand so isn’t really about bees but bees need gardens and gardens need bees so I wanted to feature it and anyway it’s such a beautiful book. The other thing to note is that the authors name is Bee so I can claim that as a connection as well.

Syndetics book coverA history of gardening in New Zealand / Bee Dawson.
“An Englishman’s home is his castle, but for the first European settlers who came to New Zealand, their first priority was to create a productive and, later, ornamental garden. Bee Dawson traces the development of gardening in New Zealand, from the Maori gardens of pre – and early contact times through the optimistic efforts of missionaries and the other early settlers, the magnificence and productivity of the Victorians and Edwardians and the Dig for Victory campaigns of the 1940s. Illustrated throughout with historic photographs, paintings and ephemera, Dawson’s lively writing style brings to life the successes and failures and the sense of achivement felt by New Zealand gardeners through the years, as they coaxed plenty and beauty from a new earth. This book is both beautiful to look at and a delight to read.” (Syndetics summary)

The last two books are not in the New Zealand Collection but you can find them on the ground floor in the fiction collection. These are two great stories set in such very different times and places but the thing they have in common is that they both feature the life of bees as a back drop or as a parallel to the human stories. They are both great ‘bee’ inspired reads.

Syndetics book coverThe beekeeper’s pupil Sara George.
“In 1766, at the age of 15, Francois Huber learns that he is going blind. As the darkness descends, he sets his mind on an extraordinary scientific inquiry into the violent and sexually competitive world of the bee. He teaches his manservant to observe in his place and together they document their astonishing findings, with extraordinary obsessiveness and insight. Set against a backdrop of the scientific and intellectual idealism of the Enlightenment, Sara George’s fascinating new novel is a story of passion, knowledge, and human limitations.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe secret life of bees / Sue Monk Kidd.
“Lily has grown up believing she accidentally killed her mother when she was four. She not only has her own memory of holding the gun, but her father’s account of the event. Now fourteen, she yearns for her mother, and for forgiveness. Living on a peach farm in South Carolina with her father, she has only one friend: Rosaleen, a black servant whose sharp exterior hides a tender heart. South Carolina in the sixties is a place where segregation is still considered a cause worth fighting for. When racial tension explodes one summer afternoon, and Rosaleen is arrested and beaten, Lily is compelled to act. Fugitives from justice and from Lily’s harsh and unyielding father, they follow a trail left by the woman who died ten years before. Finding sanctuary in the home of three beekeeping sisters, Lily starts a journey as much about her understanding of the world, as about the mystery surrounding her mother.” (Syndetics summary)

The New Zealand Collection Presents: This week in History: March 8th – 14th

Do you know where Kororāreka is? This week in history has the answer. Each week we feature topics that make up the This Week in History display in the NZ Collection. In this blog we also suggest other collections and resources that can be accessed via the internet or at the Central Library to find out more about each topic. As usual this week’s selected topic comes from the Today in History page at

11 March 1845 The fall of Kororāreka.
Kororāreka, also known as Russell, and situated in the Bay of Islands, was a major trading centre and the fifth largest town in New Zealand. The township witnessed many significant historical events. Many of these events featured the Māori chief Hone Heke who, famously and dramatically expressed his dissatisfaction with the effects of European colonisation by chopping down the flagstaff on the hill above Kororāreka a number of times.

Hone Heke
Image retrieved from: McCormick, Arthur David, 1860-1943. McCormick, Arthur David, 1860-1943 :Heke fells the flagstaff at Kororareka. (Page 109). [1908]. McCormick, Arthur David 1860-1943 :[Illustrations from “New Zealand; romance of empire”, by Reginald Horsley…with twelve reproductions in colour from drawings by A.D. McCormick, R.I. London, T.C. & E.C. Jack, 1908].. Ref: A-004-037. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Early on the morning of 11 March 1845 a Māori force attacked Kororāreka. Hōne Heke and Kawiti were key figures in the attacking forces. (Biographical information has been linked from the Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand website.)

Heke and Kawiti
Full length standing portraits of Hone Heke, his wife and Kawiti. Heke and Kawiti are in Maori clothing, Hariata in European. Hariata has an arm around Heke’s shoulder, while Heke is holding a musket and Kawiti, a taiaha.
Image retrieved from Merrett, Joseph Jenner, 1815-1854. [Merrett, Joseph Jenner] 1815-1854 :The warrior chieftains of New Zealand. Harriett, Heki’s wife – Heki – Kawiti. Drawn by Jos.h J. Merrett. Drawn on stone by W. Nicholas. Sydney, W[illia]m Ford [1846]. Ref: C-010-013. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Their opponents included another Ngāpuhi leader, Tāmati Wāka Nene. There were a number of motives behind the battle. Heke wanted the Māori-language version of the Treaty of Waitangi to be honoured, Māori independence preserved and more authority from increasing government interference. Heke did not want settlers harmed and most of the townspeople were evacuated to the ships anchored in the harbour the Victoria and the Active to be safe from the battle. The British ships sailed for Auckland on 12 March, effectively surrendering Kororāreka to Heke and Kawiti.

1839: View from the sea, looking towards the houses of Russell along the beach, the pa in the centre and canoes drawn up at the waterfront. Image retrieved from [Taylor, Richard], 1805-1873 :Kororareka. 1839.. Taylor, Richard, 1805-1873 :Sketchbook. 1835-1860.. Ref: E-296-q-171-1. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Here are some of the books about Kororāreka and people that made history there that can be found in ‘The New Zealand Collection’ at Central Library.

Syndetics book coverHell-hole of the Pacific / Richard Wolfe.
“No settlement in New Zealand can claim a past as colourful and chequered as that of Kororareka, in the Bay of Islands, later to become Russell. In the 1830s it was such a wild place that it earned the name ‘hell-hole of the Pacific’. Whalers, sealers, escaped convicts, seamen, and adventurers descended on the little Maori village. Drunkenness, debauchery, grog shops, and the oldest profession proliferated. It rivaled similar settlements around the Pacific, such as Sydney, San Francisco, and Hawaii. Richard Wolfe’s new book reminds us that early periods of European settlement were often a torrid and eventful time. Includes a photo insert and maps of the area.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe French place in the Bay of Islands : essays from Pompallier’s printery = Te urunga mai o te iwi Wīwī / edited by Kate Martin & Brad Mercer.
“The stunning new book The French Place in the Bay of Islands presents very human stories of conflict, ambition, struggle, success and failure, shedding new light on Maori-Pakeha relations at the time of Treaty-making at Waitangi and of the founding of the last nation in the world, New Zealand. These are stories centered on the enduring French and Catholic influence in the Bay of Islands, specifically the work of Bishop Pompallier and of the Marist missionaries whose South Seas headquarters and printery were then in Kororareka Russell. Kororareka’s sensational reputation as a “hellhole of vice” has long tended to mask another, more compelling narrative. Illustrating some of the commercial, religious and political rivalry amongst Maori hapu and between Western nations at the time, this book highlights that narrative and makes persuasive reading for all.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHone Heke : Nga Puhi warrior / Paul Moon. Paul Moon’s latest biography is a captivating account of the life of the Ngā Puhi warrior chief Hone Heke. It is set against a background of political turmoil and ethnic tension, and at almost every turn, the reader will be surprised by the remarkable events and circumstances that engulfed New Zealand in the mid 1840’s. (Summary abridged from back cover)

Syndetics book coverSpeeches that shaped New Zealand : 1814-1956 / Hugh Templeton, Ian Templeton & Josh Easby.
“”A collection of historically significant speeches by those who helped lead the development of New Zealand as a nation between 1814 and 1956″–Publisher’s information.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe meeting place : Māori and Pākehā encounters, 1642-1840 / Vincent O’Malley.
“An account focusing on the encounters between the Maori and Pakeha–or European settlers–and the process of mutual discovery from 1642 to around 1840, this New Zealand history book argues that both groups inhabited a middle ground in which neither could dictate the political, economic, or cultural rules of engagement. By looking at economic, religious, political, and sexual encounters, it offers a strikingly different picture to traditional accounts of imperial Pakeha power over a static, resistant Maori society. With fresh insights, this book examines why mostly beneficial interactions between these two cultures began to merge and the reasons for their subsequent demise after 1840.” (Syndetics summary)

The New Zealand Collection Presents: This week in History: March 1st – 7th

This week in history takes us to Opotiki in 1865 where Rev Carl Völkner was hanged. We also find out that in 1947 The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra held their debut concert in Wellington and in 1960 Barry Crump’s A Good Keen Man was published. The New Zealand Collection is located on the second floor of The Central Library. Each week we feature a number of topics that make up the This Week in History display in the NZ Collection. In this blog we also suggest other collections and resources that can be accessed via the internet or at the Central Library to find out more about each topic. As usual this week’s selected topics come from the Today in History page at

On the 2nd March 1865 Carl Sylvius Völkner, was hung at Ōpōtiki.
Followers of the Pai Marire religion were blamed for his death. Völkner was suspected of spying for the Government. Following his death the government responded with military reprisals and his killers were hunted down. Local people from Eastern Bay of Plenty tribes were arrested and some executed and large areas of land were confiscated from the tribes. The New Zealand Collection has recently added a new book about Volkner ‘Journey to a hanging’ by Peter Wells.

Syndetics book coverJourney to a hanging / Peter Wells.
“In 1865, Rev Carl Sylvius Völkner was hanged, his head cut off, his eyes eaten and his blood drunk from his church chalice. One name – Kereopa Te Rau (Kaiwhatu: The Eye-eater) – became synonymous with the murder. In 1871 he was captured, tried and sentenced to death. But then something remarkable happened. Sister Aubert and William Colenso – two of the greatest minds in colonial New Zealand – came to his defence. Regardless, Kereopa Te Rau was hanged in Napier Prison. But even a century and a half later, the events have not been laid to rest. Questions continue to emerge: Was it just? Was it right? Was Kereopa Te Rau even behind the murder? And who was Völkner – was he a spy or an innocent?” (Back cover)

Syndetics book coverBeyond the imperial frontier : the contest for colonial New Zealand / Vincent O’Malley.
“An exploration of the different ways Māori and Pākehā ‘fronted’ one another – the zones of contact and encounter – across the nineteenth century. Beginning with a pre-1840 era marked by significant cooperation, Vincent O’Malley details the emergence of a more competitive and conflicted post-Treaty world.” (Publisher information)

Online databases available on the library website can also be used to access information on this topic such as the National Library site where you can view pictures, documents and maps relevant to this subject.

Retrieved from:Kinder, John, 1819-1903. Kinder, John 1819-1903 :Carl Sylvius Volkner. Ref: 1/2-059698-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Kereopa Te Rau was captured in the Urewera in November 1871. He had been wanted by by the colonial authorities for his part in the killing of the Reverend Carl Völkner. He was brought to Napier by steamer and handed over to the police on November 28. From the Papers Past database you can read his defense as reported in the Colonist in 1872.

Kereopa Te Rau. Carnell, Samuel 1832-1920 :Maori portrait negatives. Ref: 1/4-022022-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

The 6th March saw the 1947 debut performance of the NZ Symphony Orchestra.
Due to the success of the 1940 Centennial Celebrations with the performances of the Centennial Festival Orchestra the government was encouraged to form a National Orchestra. Delayed by the Second World War it wasn’t until 1947 that the idea of having a permanent National Orchestra came to fruition. In 1946 first rehearsals were held and and Andersen Tyrer was appointed conductor and Vincent Aspey orchestra leader. The debut concert was held in Wellington’s Town Hall. Wellington Libraries hold over 100 titles in a large collection of the orchestra’s music and there are a number of books that celebrate the orchestra’s anniversaries.

Syndetics book coverBravo! : the NZSO at 50 / Joy Tonks.
Joy Tonks, the NZSO’s historian, archivist and former personnel manager, has written a lively account of the human side of the orchestra’s life on and off stage. Chapters cover the players, the maestros, the concertmasters, the guest artists and overseas tours.(adapted from front cover)

On the 3rd March in 1960 Barry Crump’s novel A Good Keen Man was published.
Barry Crump had a reputation as the iconic ‘Kiwi bloke’. He had survived a violent childhood and was criticised for how he treated his wives and his children. He told his stories with humour and highlighted rural New Zealand in more than 20 books. Crump was often referred to as a ‘man’s man’ who could tell a great yarn. We hold a number of biographies and a large collection of his fiction writing

Barry Crump Collection
Barry Crump’s books from the NZ Collection

Syndetics book coverIn endless fear : a true story / Colin Crump.
“Autobiography by Colin Crump, brother of well-known novelist, Barry Crump, in which he writes about the abusive childhood he shared with Barry and their other siblings. Text is supplemented with family photographs.” (Syndetics summary)

A life in loose strides : the story of Barry Crump / Colin Hogg.
“Barry Crump’s life was the best story he ever wrote. This iconic, hardcase Kiwi impressed a whole nation with his oversized personality. ‘A Life in Loose Strides’ throw’s Crump’s wild, wayward and extraordinary life and works back onto the page, getting inside a man who learned to hide behind his own myth.” (adapted from back cover)

The New Zealand Collection Presents: This week in History: February 22nd – 28th

This week we take time to remember the 4 year anniversary of the 2011 Christchurch earthquake. We also highlight two other events that occurred this week in history dating back to 1902 when the Wellington Cable Car opened for business. This week’s selected topics come from the Today in History page at On display in the New Zealand Reference Collection are books that can provide more information on the events featured in ‘This Week in History’.

From 2011: The Christchurch Earthquake
On Tuesday 22 February 2011 at 12.51 p.m. Christchurch was shaken by a magnitude 6.3 earthquake. 185 people were killed and hundreds injured. The earthquake was centered near Lyttelton and just 10 km away from Christchurch’s central business district. Many books have since been published about the earthquake, the damage and the human response.

Syndetics book coverChristchurch 22.2 : beyond the cordon / through the eyes of the New Zealand Police photographers.
“At 12:51pm on Tuesday, 22 February 2011 a 6.3 magnitude earthquake shook Christchurch. It proved to be one of the worst natural disasters New Zealand has ever experienced. The earthquake devastated central Christchurch and many suburbs. A national State of Emergency was declared and the Christchurch Police immediately began Operation Earthquake. Police Forensic photographers began the grim task of documenting the disaster and its effects. This book is a collection of 256 of their photographs.” (Abridged from inside cover)

Syndetics book coverEarthquake : Christchurch, New Zealand, 22 February 2011 / text by Chris Moore and Press Journalists ; images by Press and Fairfax photographers ; picture research by Jude Tewnion.
“This book tracks the immediate effects of the quake and its aftermath as well as looking at the science behind the quakes.” (Abridged from back cover)

From 1951: Troops were deployed in the 1951 waterfront dispute
The waterfront dispute of 1951 was the biggest industrial confrontation in New Zealand’s history. It went on for five months, from 15 February to 15 July. Sid Holland’s National government declared a state of emergency on 21 February. On the 27th, troops were sent onto the Auckland and Wellington wharves to load and unload ships.

History students can come and search the database of “Evening Post” newspaper clipping files we hold to search for primary sources for assignments or can refer to books such as the following about the waterfront dispute.

Syndetics book coverThe big blue : snapshots of the 1951 waterfront lockout / edited by David Grant.
“In working-class parlance a ‘blue’ was the colloquial term for an industrial disruption – a strike or a lockout. The 1951 waterfront lockout was, up until that time, the biggest ‘blue’ of them all and still holds attention today as a seminal event in New Zealand’s industrial and political history.” (Abridged from back cover)

Never a white flag : the memoirs of Jock Barnes / edited by Tom Bramble.
“Jock Barnes’ name was once known by everyone in New Zealand as the leader of the Waterside Workers’ Union. His memoirs cover the period from 1935 to the 1951 lockout of watersiders and the destruction of the Union. He writes of the events of those times, and the personalities he knew. Illustrated with historical photographs; includes an introduction by the editor, Tom Bramble.” (Syndetics summary)

From 1902: Wellington’s Kelburn Cable Car Opens
Wellingtonians were eager to try out the new cable car that connected Lambton Quay and Kelburn when it was opened in February 1902. Its development opened up the Kelburn area for housing and is a popular Wellington tourist attraction. As well as books we have some old postcards featuring the Kelburn Cable Car from the Postcard Collection.

Syndetics book coverHold very tight please! : the cable cars of New Zealand / Don McAra.
“In beautifully detailed and meticulously researched paintings. and a delightfully nostalgic text, artist Don McAra brings alive New Zealand’s original cable cars and the post-Second World War world they inhabited. In Wellington the Kelburn cable car was, and still is, integral to city life.” (inside cover)

The Kelburn cable car : Wellington – New Zealand / Graham Stewart
“Like San Francisco, the Wellington Cable Car climbs right up to the sky, from under the city high rise buildings through tunnels and over viaducts to the residential suburb of Kelburn.” (inside cover)

Kelburn Kiosk and Cable Car

Kelburne Tea Kiosk, Wellington, N.Z. [postcard].
Hand-tinted photograph of the Kelburn (then Kelburne) Kiosk on Upland Road, with a cable car, passengers, and Karori hills in the background.

Kelburn Tea Kiosk

Kelburne Tea Kiosk, Wellington, N.Z. [postcard].
Photograph of the Kelburn (then Kelburne) Kiosk on Upland Road, with a cable car, passengers, and Karori hills in the background.

Kelburn Cable Car

Kelburne Cable Tram, Wellington [postcard].
Shows a cable car climbing up to Kelburn (then Kelburne), with the harbour in the background.

Cable car in scroll shape

[Kelburn Kiosk and cable car] [postcard].
Photograph (in scroll shape) of the Kelburn Kiosk on Upland Road, with a cable car, passengers, and Karori hills in the background.