Wāhine, whakairo, whakaora reo.

Here are two beautifully illustrated volumes of art – one reveals an all-embracing Polynesian concept of atua with the underpinning spiritual world, the other describes the whakapapa of Ngāti Porou carvings.
On a different note – there’s a huge landscaping of the history of New Zealand women.

Language endangerment in the 21st century : globalisation, technology and new media : proceedings of the Conference FEL XVI, 12-15 September 2012, AUT University, Auckland, Aotearoa/New Zealand / editors Tania Kaʻai … [et al.]
Presenters include: Tania Kaʻai, Muiris Ó Laoire & Nicholas Ostler — Tīmoti Kāretu — Hinematau McNeill — Rachael Kaʻai-Mahuta — Hana O’Regan — Ruth Lysaght — Michael Walsh — John Moorfield — Peter Keegan, Catherine Watson, Jeanette King, Margaret Maclagan & Ray Harlow — Katerina Naitoro — Tania Kaʻai & Dean Mahuta — Elisa Duder — Paora Mato, Te Taka Keegan, Daniel Cunliffe, Tara Dalley — Lidu Gong — Paora Mato — Kevin Scannell.

He W’akaputanga Mai o te Rangatiratanga : a proclamation.
“This publication represents a culmination of material made available, or created for the Hokianga Maori artists group exhibition ; He Wakaputanga Mai o te Rangatiranga – A proclamation. The exhibition was organised and first presented by black space gallery in Kohukohu, February 1-28, 2014… [Includes] “educational information alongside works and thoughts of Hokianga Maori artists: Maureen Lander ; Toi Te Rito Maihi, Heiwari Johnson, claire Kaahu White, Michelle Morunga, Bev Wilson, Urikore Ngakuru, Heather Randerson, Henare Rawiri, Emere Te Paea Robson, John Morunga, Stacey Noel, Maki Herbert.”

Syndetics book coverA history of New Zealand women / Barbara Brookes.
“This major new history of New Zealand ¿ written from the perspective of the women who have lived here ¿ will be released on Monday 15 February, launching at a conference held in honour of the author (leading New Zealand historian Barbara Brookes) at Otago University.” (Syndetics summary)
Incomplete contents: Origins, traditions and ‘civilisation’ before, 1814 — A civilising mission, 1814-1856 — Settling pākehā families unsettling whānau, 1850s-1860s — War, gold and dispossession, 1860s-1880s — The quest for citizenship, 1885-1890s — New expectations for a new century, 1900-1919 — Motherhood, mortality and a voice for women in the interwar years, 1919-1940 — The ‘modern woman’ of the interwar years, 1919-1940 — On the home front, 1939-1951 — Suburbia, 1950s-1960s — Decade of discovery, 1967-1977 — Into the corridors of power, 1977-1986 — Reckoning with women, 1984-1990s — Shaping the new millennium, 2000-2015.

Syndetics book coverAtua : sacred gods from Polynesia / Michael Gunn.The Polynesian concept of atua — of gods, figurative objects and associated beliefs — developed over thousands of years and spread throughout the region… Across central and eastern Polynesia, from the Cook, Austral, Society and Marquesas islands, the Tuamotu Archipelago, Tahiti, Rapa Nui, the Hawaiian Islands and Aotearoa New Zealand, unique, yet coherent, societies developed. With that a complex and sustaining spiritual world came into being… Among the atua were the deified spirits of human ancestors, particularly those famous for their invincibility, political strength or navigation skill. Polynesians created, revered and communicated with their atua in a relationship of profound intimacy. This way of life suffered a violent rupture with the arrival of Christianity in the 18th century…. ” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA whakapapa of tradition : 100 years of Ngāti Porou carving, 1830-1930 / Ngarino Ellis ; with new photography by Natalie Robertson.
“From the emergence of the chapel and the wharenui in the nineteenth century to the rejuvenation of carving by Apirana Ngata in the 1920s, Maori carving went through a rapid evolution from 1830 to 1930. Focusing on thirty meeting houses, Ngarino Ellis tells the story of Ngati Porou carving and a profound transformation in Maori art. Beginning around 1830, three previously dominant art traditions – waka taua (war canoes), pataka (decorated storehouses) and whare rangatira (chief’s houses) – declined and were replaced by whare karakia (churches), whare whakairo (decorated meeting houses) and wharekai (dining halls)… Iwirakau is credited for reinvigorating the art of carving in the Waiapu region. The six major carvers of his school went on to create more than thirty important meeting houses and other structures. During this transformational period, carvers and patrons re-negotiated key concepts such as tikanga (tradition), tapu (sacredness) and mana (power, authority) – embedding them within the new architectural forms whilst preserving rituals surrounding the creation and use of buildings… This book is both a major study of Ngati Porou carving and an attempt to make sense of Maori art history. ” (Syndetics summary)

Te matau a Māui : fishhooks, fishing and fisheries in New Zealand / Chris Paulin with Mark Fenwick.
“”Te Matau a Maui discusses the form and function of the traditional Maori fishhook, customary fishing, and development of commercial fishing in New Zealand since European settlement (including the adoption of the rotating hook design as a re-discovery of the innovative and highly effective Maori hook design by present day commercial long-line fisheries), and changes in Maori lifestyle associated with the increasing availability of European agricultural cultivars and domestic animals in the nineteenth century, and urbanisation in the twentieth century that led to a decline in Maori fishing activity and the loss of indigenous knowledge”–Publisher information.” (Syndetics summary)

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 nzhistory.net.nz. 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. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22775328

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. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22327912

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. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22467631

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 mygateway.info 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.