Kaleidoscope World

Wednesday, January 19th, 2022 | Hocken Collections | 1 Comment

Post researched and written by Amanda Mills. Curator Music and AV, and Katherine Milburn, Curator Ephemera.

Kaleidoscope World: 40 Years of Flying Nun in Dunedin explores the Flying Nun scene in Dunedin – from the early origins with The Enemy through to the contemporary local music scene which looks beyond Flying Nun. The exhibition pulls material from across the Hocken’s rich collections as well as some iconic and visually arresting loans from people central to the music scene, while also featuring a commissioned artwork by Robert Scott (The Clean, The Bats). This blog post highlights three works featured in the exhibition.

The central exhibition image is the collage of a one-eyed cherub holding a record, created by Ian Dalziel for the tenth anniversary of Flying Nun Records in 1991. Dalziel used the collage for the commemorative card set, taking original images of a cherub, hair, and an eyeball from the 1978 Harters Picture Archive for Collage and Illustration, compiled by Jim Harter, and the image of a record from a magazine ad. The collage was again used on a 1991 New Year’s Eve Flying Nun gig poster at Christchurch’s Dux de Luxe, this time adding solar and lunar elements designed by Alec Bathgate (The Enemy, Toy Love, Tall Dwarfs). The cherub has become an iconic image associated with Flying Nun – it was used to heavily promote the label’s 25th anniversary and has more recently been re-imagined as a t-shirt motif.

Ian Dalziel, (b.1957), The Original Collage, 1991, collage and ink on paper, 135 x 135mm, Hocken Collections Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago, V2015.14.1. Given by Warwick Eade, 2015. Part of the artwork Commissioned for Flying Nun Records, on the occasion of their 10th anniversary. Permission to use kindly granted by Ian Dalziel and Flying Nun Records.

Conceived by Stephen Hall-Jones, Social Activities Manager for the Otago University Students’ Association, and strikingly brought to life on a poster by artist Robert Scott, ‘mutant hillbillies’ was a memorable and successful 1990 Orientation theme. With his friend Michael Tull, Hall-Jones introduced the full story in a calendar where each page depicted a hillbilly family member. (The Hocken would be very grateful for a donation of this calendar should anyone have one spare.) The poster advertised a 12-night programme of events described by Critic as ‘…a veritable feast for those people who are into New Zealand music’. Robert Scott was not only the poster artist that year, but he also performed as a member of two of the drawcard bands: The Clean and The Bats.

‘Mutant Hillbilly Orientation 1990’ Dunedin: Otago University Students’ Association, 1990. Eph-0069-LG-D-03/01 Posters collection, Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago. Permission to use kindly granted by OUSA.

For Flying Nun’s 15th anniversary in 1996, the label commissioned five musicians signed to the label (who were also visual artists) to create a limited-edition artwork, an etching on a 7” vinyl disc with an accompanying label on the reverse side of the disc. These discs featured no music and were designed purely as collectable promotional items. There was no specific brief, and each artist – Alec Bathgate, Chris Knox, Sean O’Reilly, David Mitchell, and Hamish Kilgour – created an etching from their imaginations, which were quirky, abstract, or lurid. Alec Bathgate created a whimsical illustration, a guitar playing figure seemingly hovering over volcanos, with the Auckland cityscape behind it. Bathgate remembers there being nothing meaningful in the illustration, as he recalls “I was just asked to contribute something and came up with that!”

Alec Bathgate. “Flying Nun Records 1981-1996: 15th anniversary label and etching.” Flying Nun Records, 1996. Hocken music collections Rec-S 3091. Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago. Permission to use kindly granted by Flying Nun Records and Alec Bathgate.

Keen to see and hear more? Come and visit Kaleidoscope World: 40 Years of Flying Nun in Dunedin at Hocken Collections, open until 19 March 2022. Open to the public, Monday to Saturday from 10am-5pm. 90 Anzac Ave, Dunedin, (03) 479-8868, or www.otago.ac.nz/hocken

A Tale of Adventure – from the archives of photographer George Chance (1885-1963)

Tuesday, December 14th, 2021 | Hocken Collections | No Comments

Post researched and written by Anna Petersen, Curator Photographs

Figure 1 Barranquila, Colombia, South America, 1906. P1991-023/01-2222

The Hocken holds the definitive archive of works by English-born photographer, George Chance (1885-1963).  The collection encompasses all aspects of his output from original prints, negatives, and colour slides, to proofs, albums, correspondence, sound recordings, written notes and published reproductions in the form of newspaper and journal illustrations and calendars.

Photograph historian, William Main, drew extensively on this resource when compiling a chronology of Chance’s life and researching his catalogue essay for the Dunedin Public Art Gallery exhibition George Chance: Photographer in 1986.  That touring exhibition catalogue remains the main publication on Chance’s work and his influence on New Zealand photography, though others have also contributed to the literature since then.[i]

This blog serves to illustrate and probe a little deeper into one particular chapter of Chance’s life that Main only mentions in passing.  Pieced together primarily from Chance’s own written and recorded accounts, spoken with his fruity London accent, the surprising tale reveals something of Chance’s adventuresome spirit before he ever reached New Zealand and draws attention to images of more international interest that are housed in the Hocken Photographs Collection.[ii]

The story began in December 1905.  Young ‘Chancey’, as his friends called him, was working in Regent Street at the time, for the prominent London Stereoscopic and Photographic Company.  He held the position of demonstrator/instructor, showing how the latest cameras and photographic equipment operated to all manner of aristocrats, explorers and famous people.

Figure 2 Regent Street, 1907. Album 544, P2007-014/1-040a

One day a very tall man with a beard walked in and pledged to buy a complete set of movie and still cameras if the firm provided a man to accompany him on a trip and act as photographer and secretary.  It promised to be a valuable commission so ‘Marmalade’ the salesman, offered ‘Chancey’ £5 to apply for the job.  Chance obviously felt up for the challenge because that Monday he went along for an interview with the mysterious customer, who turned out to be the eccentric English hunter and adventurer, John Talbot Clifton (1868-1928).  Talbot Clifton reputably made a habit of sampling the wild animals he came across (including a mammoth found in the Arctic permafrost).[iii]

Figure 3 John Talbot Clifton, 1905. P1991-023/01-0499

Talbot Clifton thought George looked a bit young, but George (who was only 19 at the time), reassured him that he wasn’t as young as he looked and he got the 15-month contract, on condition that he got himself a tropical kit and made the ship by Saturday.  His father wasn’t too thrilled, and nor were his employers, but George managed to wrangle it and soon found himself in charge of about 30 parcels of guns and supplies, boarding the SS Atrata at Southampton on Christmas Eve.  It wasn’t until several days into the voyage that he learned that they were bound for Cocos Island, situated in the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of Costa Rica.  They were on a quest in search of lost Spanish gold. As one of several newspaper articles on the subject pasted into the back of Chance’s diary states, there were two alleged buried hoards on the island: ‘one, a pirate treasure, is valued at between six and twelve millions sterling, and the other – known as “Keatings treasure” – is said to be worth three millions’.[iv]

Figure 4 Map of the voyage, n.d. Lantern slide, P1991-023/03-032

After a rough trip across the Atlantic, the party made a number of stops in quick succession along the upper coast of South America; the first at Barbados on 4 January, where Chance got a photograph of himself in Georgetown, apparently dressed for the part.

Figure 5 George Chance in Georgetown, Barbados, 1906. Photographer unknown, P1991-023/01-0582

Moving on via Trinidad to Venuzuela, Chance was let off at the country’s main port of La Guaira on 7 January for four hours and told to get some native studies.  What his boss neglected to mention was just how politically unstable the region of Central America was during this period and as Chance recalled, he did not venture further than the pier.

A third stop-off in Colombia proved more fruitful from a photographic point of view (figures 1 and 6).  Chance recorded in his diary how he ‘Wandered about the streets [of Barranquilla] + admired the peculiar thatched houses.  Streets were very quiet + nearly all shops closed as folk we[re] having afternoon snooze.  Got some interesting photos…’.[v]  There the danger seemed to lie in Savanilla Bay where they observed five wrecks.

Figure 6 Natives and home in Colombia, South America, 1906. P1991-023-2344

The next day at Colon, Chance took some rather boring snaps if those in the Hocken Collections are anything to go by.  As he noted in his diary ‘Colon looks an awfully desolate + dreary place, had a big fire there recently so that best part of town is in ruins’.[vi]  From Colon they took a train to Panama, where they found another large fire still raging and Chance almost got his camera saturated with water by a fireman’s hose.  The real danger, however, was of a different nature as deaths from Yellow Fever saw work on the canal come to a halt.  Still, they had to wait around for the President of Ecuador, General Leonidas Plaza Guierres, to join them on the ship before sailing south to Quayaquil.

Talbot Clifton and his advisors had chosen Quayaquil in Ecuador as the supply base for the expedition to Cocos Island because of the prevailing winds, but the city would prove another hot bed of political unrest.  In an account later published in the Otago Daily Times in 1932, Chance related all the details of his conversation with General Guierres on board ship, which indicated that the leader had no real idea of the gravity of the situation.  Far from saving the day and having his troops photographed by Chance as planned, he was welcomed at Quayaquil by a horde of revolutionaries led by Eloy Alfaro and the President narrowly escaped about a week later with his life.[vii]

Figure 7 Crowd of citizens from Guayaquil meeting the boat loads of revolutionists arriving to join in the revolution, January 1906. P1991-023/01-2353

Figure 8 Revolutionists arriving by boats at Guayaquil, Ecuador, January 1906. P1991-023/01-2349

 

Exactly how much at risk the expedition party ever was at during the revolution is a little hard to gauge.   Chance wrote in a letter to his parents on 19 January from the Gran Hotel Paris:

Our ship arrived here yesterday morning.  The town is not on the sea coast as I at first thought but some miles up a very wide river, it is one of the finest towns on the whole of the S. America coast + we have put up at the very best hotel.  Mr C. has two rooms + I have a nice room to myself overlooking the river.  This is the order of the day.  Coffee is served from 7am to 9.  Breakfast 10.30 to 12.30 Dinner 5.30 up to 8.0[.]  Some of the dishes are rather curious + want getting used to but I make a point of eating plain food + plenty of fruit + this I find agrees with me very well.[viii]

We know that Chance did not want his family worrying and tensions did escalate.  The letter is unfinished and his diary entry for the same day reads ‘For hours bullets were passing our windows + striking the tin roofs…’.[ix]

There was definitely some fierce street fighting during the night when at least 150 people lost their lives and Chance undoubtedly had one or two nasty frights during his stay at Guayaquil.  Inscribed photographs provide evidence of some of the worst scenes that Chance encountered when he eventually ventured out of his room with his new friend, Captain Voss.  He noted on the back of the photograph in figure 9:

Bullet holes on plaster.  Capt. Voss is the centre right figure[.] In this native square were many dead bodies mostly the result of hand to hand fighting with knives – I was violently sick at the sight + because of any native reaction when I might have been knifed on the spot I did not attempt further photographs – 200 were killed that night. 

 

Figure 9 After the revolution, 1906. P1991-023/01-2354

Captain John Voss was another colourful character who had already acquired fame by this time for a journey he made around the world in a dug-out canoe called the Tilikum and joined the party in Quayaquil with the job of leading the treasure hunt.[x]

Sadly the treasure-hunting aspect of the adventure ended in disappointment.  Chance tells of how they purchased a 50 ton barque at Quayaquil and sailed to Cocos Island (also famous for its shark-infested waters).[xi]   They stayed only a very short time and had to abandon any further plans because of the fighting and rampant fever.  In other words, the Talbot Clifton expedition, became just another of the many failed attempts to locate gold on the island over the years, though the place continues to capture people’s imaginations in fictional accounts, from Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island to Michael Crighton’s Jurassic Park.[xii]

Back in Quayaquil, things literally began to fall apart.  Chance was developing some photographs when an earthquake struck and the front of his room fell down into the street.  According to Violet Talbot, who later wrote in an account of her husband’s life after his death (en route to Timbuktu!), ‘news came that the Chilean Government would not allow any more expeditions to Los Cocos.  Talbot had to pay off his men who were glad to be freed, for they had had their fill of danger.  The outbreak of yellow fever and the revolution were followed by more earthquakes’.[xiii]

Clifton Talbot decided to do a little exploring instead, hoping amongst other things, to find the source of the Amazon.  According to Chance, he was not allowed to follow because he was under 21, so he decided to do a little exploring of his own. Chance did not leave precise details of this part of the journey but he suffered intermittent fevers from malaria that he had contracted in Barbados and ended up in the canal zone where he stayed for several months before returning to England.

Chance was welcomed back into his old job in London, now the company’s expert in the specialised field of tropical photography. (They had tried photographing wild animals at night in Central America with the aid of a primitive kind of flash powder, but Chance didn’t like it much and it was more exciting than successful. Apart from anything else ‘there were some nasty little snakes, which looked like branches of trees, which if they bit you, well, it was good night’).[xiv]  Most notably, Winston Churchill would come for several afternoon lessons in preparation for his tour of East Africa in 1907.  This contact caused Chance to fear for his position, as Winston forgot to roll on his films and when given the job of developing the precious negatives, Chance had to front up with 200 blanks.

Chance was always ambitious and eighteen months later, he put aside photography for a while and trained to be an optician – a profession that would eventually lead to a job on the other side of the world in Dunedin in 1909.  On leaving the British Stereoscopic Company, the General Manager commended Mr George Chance, Junior for being a ‘good salesman attentive to his duties, punctual and excellent manners and address’ and that he had ‘assisted in various outdoor expeditions requiring smartness and ability’.[xv]  I dare say, not all of the outdoor expeditions were quite as dangerous and exciting as the Cocos Island mission.

Although the expedition to Central America failed to produce the great riches the Talbot Clifton party had dreamed about, Chance did manage to save £300 while he was away, which left him a young man of means, with a fine story to dine out on for the rest of his life.  In a way, the surviving photographs are the real treasure, available now to everyone in the Hocken Collections, thanks to the generosity of the Chance family.

 

References

[i] See Linda Tyler, George Chance: Improving on Nature, exhibition catalogue, Gus Fisher Gallery, University of Auckland, 2006 and David Eggleton, Into the Light: A History of New Zealand Photography, Nelson, 2006, pp. 49-50.

[ii] Thank you to David Murray for providing copies of the sound recordings in Hocken Archives, MS-5119 and to Sarah Fairhurst for her suggestions.  All figures taken by George Chance, unless otherwise stated.

[iii] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Talbot_Clifton (accessed 29/11/2021).

[iv] ‘Island’s Vast Treasures. Admiral Palliser and New Cocos Expedition. Doomed to Failure’, Daily Express, 2 April 1906.

[v] George Chance, Diary, 9 January 1906, MS 3158/142.

[vi] Ibid., 10 January 1906.

[vii] ‘General Guierrez Ups and Downs of a President’s Life: Dunedin man recalls revolution in Ecuador’, Evening Star, 21 September 1932.

[viii] George Chance, Letter to parents, 19 January 1905 [sic], MS-3176/005.

[ix]Diary, 19 January 1906.

[x] See J.M. MacFarlane and L.J. Salmon, Around the World in a Dugout Canoe: The Untold Story of Captain John Voss, Canada, 2020 for Voss’s own account of the conflict at Guayaquil, as well as details of Voss’s previous trip to Cocos Island and other photographs relating to the Talbot Clifton expedition –  which include George Chance (though wrongly identified).

[xi] See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cocos_Island (accessed 29/11/2021).

[xii] Ibid.

[xiii] V. Clifton, The Book of Talbot, London, 1933, p.280.

[xiv] Chance reel 4, 26.49-55, MS-5119.  No examples of these animal photographs are included in the Hocken Collections.

[xv] Letter of commendation, 23 October 1907, MS-3158/142.

Michael Trumic: A well urned career

Wednesday, November 17th, 2021 | Hocken Collections | No Comments

Post researched and written by Jen Jeffery, Collections Assistant – Archives

Mirko (Michael) Trumic was born in Yugoslavia in 1928 and moved to Dunedin as a refugee in 1950 post-war. Trumic commented that Dunedin was ‘Not quite the tropical Gauginesque milieu [he] had imagined.’[1] Trumic had spent two years prior as a medical student before he and his fiancée fled to New Zealand to escape from war-torn Europe. Once in Dunedin, Trumic began to make friends with other European refugees, including painter Rudi Gopas. Trumic recalls that Gopas had a small studio in central Dunedin and the pair used to meet there every weekend. Trumic added that the men used to drive around Dunedin; Trumic would take photographs whilst Gopas would draw. It was Gopas who pushed Trumic to start drawing.[2] Gopas encouraged Trumic to pursue the arts, and their relationship transitioned into that of student and teacher.[3]

Michael Trumic throwing on the pottery wheel, n.d. (MS-5122/004)

Both men moved to Christchurch where they joined a lively arts and intellectual circle, as Gopas became a lecturer at the School of Fine Arts in Ilam. Trumic found himself in Yvonne Rust’s design studio and discovered clay. Trumic had the realisation that he was a three-dimensional person rather than two-dimensional. Gopas was not impressed.[4] Trumic recalls an interaction with Rust at her studio. Trumic sat at the wheel whilst Rust was trying to convince him that this was not his first time on the wheel – as Trumic remembers Rust exclaiming after he his first attempt “You must have [thrown clay before] – you made a beaut cylinder in one go!”[5] At the same time as Trumic was introduced to clay, he was working at a steel factory, where he would sculpt small abstract art pieces from polished steel. In a few years, Trumic became a full time potter, a first for Canterbury.[6]

Michael Trumic throwing on the pottery wheel, 1989. (MS-5122/073)

In 1960 Trumic established an art gallery “Several Arts”. The name portrayed Trumic’s stance on art, by simply allowing the work he admired to be displayed. This outlook made Several Arts a unique gallery of its time. Several Arts also served as a place where artists around Canterbury could gather and allowed younger artists with little experience to exhibit their works. Whilst the gallery kept Trumic occupied during the day, the evenings and weekends allowed Trumic to potter away. For ten years under Trumic’s supervision the gallery was incredibly successful, and become renowned across New Zealand and Australia.

Michael Trumic’s Pottery, n.d. (MS-5122/004)

After the success of the Several Arts, Trumic began voyaging around the South Island and teaching workshops on all things clay. This included regular ceramic classes in Christchurch for interested potters, which evolved into part-time teaching at Christchurch Teachers’ College and occasionally for universities when they demanded additional guidance.[7] In 1972 Trumic was asked to travel to Sydney for a Ceramic Study Group and workshop, to talk to artists and their teachers. Trumic was then invited to the Art School in Canberra, as a demonstrator and speaker to senior art students.

Michael Trumic’s students at Otago Polytechnic, 1990. (MS-5122/057)

In 1975 Trumic was asked by the Otago Polytechnic School of Fine Arts to teach part-time. Within a few years the part-time position grew into full-time, and eventually Trumic established the Diploma in Ceramics, Sculpture and three-dimensional design. Trumic’s students remember him fondly, however he had a strong presence, and was known to “rub people up the wrong way.” Nelson ceramic sculptor Christine Boswijk adds that Trumic was “a hard taskmaster….He taught with his belly. He was unmerciful. He took that risk to make you an artist.” [8] It was well known that Trumic could bring students to tears, but in the same breath lift them up again. In 1989, Trumic was awarded with an Honorary Diploma in Fine Arts with Honours from Otago Polytechnic in recognition for his services to ceramic education in New Zealand. This was the first Diploma of its kind presented in New Zealand. After nearly 20 years of service, Trumic resigned from teaching in 1992.

Michael Trumic’s Honorary Diploma, 1989. (MS-5122/073)

Trumic lived with his wife Wendy Wadworth, who in her own right was an accomplished artist. They moved to Loburn in Canterbury where Trumic continued to ‘potter away’ in his studio until his passing in 2012, aged 84.

Michael Trumic assisting in the building of a kiln, 1990. (MS-5122/057)

Trumic’s ceramics can be found in various galleries and museums around New Zealand including the Otago Museum and Canterbury Museum


Achievements of Trumic

  • Foundational member of the New Zealand Society of Potters
  • Foundational member of the New Zealand Professional Potters Guild
  • Early member of the Canterbury Society of Arts
  • Full member of “The Group”
  • Recipient of three Queen Elizabeth II Art Council Grants

[1] Moyra Elliot, “Michael Trumic 1928-2012,” Cone Ten and Descending…, last modified 13 April 2012, https://conetenanddescending.wordpress.com/2012/04/13/michael-trumic-1928-2012/

[2]Rosa Shiels, “Clay and Fire,” New Zealand Potters, retrieved 30 May 2012, http://www.nzpotters.come/FeatureArticles/MichaelTrumic.cfm?article=MichaelTrumic

[3] Brief C.V of Michael Trumic, n.d., MS-5122/078, Hocken Library, University of Otago, Dunedin.

[4] Rosa Shiels, “Clay and Fire,” New Zealand Potters, retrieved 30 May 2012, http://www.nzpotters.come/FeatureArticles/MichaelTrumic.cfm?article=MichaelTrumic

[5] Rosa Shiels, “Clay and Fire,” New Zealand Potters, retrieved 30 May 2012, http://www.nzpotters.come/FeatureArticles/MichaelTrumic.cfm?article=MichaelTrumic

[6] Brief C.V of Michael Trumic, n.d., MS-5122/078, Hocken Library, University of Otago, Dunedin.

[7] Brief C.V of Michael Trumic, n.d., MS-5122/078, Hocken Library, University of Otago, Dunedin.

[8] Rosa Shiels, “Clay and Fire,” New Zealand Potters, retrieved 30 May 2012, http://www.nzpotters.come/FeatureArticles/MichaelTrumic.cfm?article=MichaelTrumic

References:

Elliot, Moyra. “Michael Trumic 1928-2012.” Cone Ten and Descending…. Last modified 13 April 2012. https://conetenanddescending.wordpress.com/2012/04/13/michael-trumic-1928-2012/

Shiels, Rosa. “Clay and Fire.” New Zealand Potters. Retrieved 13 April 2012. http://www.nzpotters.come/FeatureArticles/MichaelTrumic.cfm?article=MichaelTrumic

Trumic, Michael. Brief C.V. MS-5122/078. Hocken Library, University of Otago, Dunedin.

One hundred years ago today: Prof Jack’s public radio broadcast

Wednesday, November 17th, 2021 | Hocken Collections | No Comments

Post researched and written by David Murray, Archivist

The University of Otago’s own Professor Robert Jack made the first public radio broadcast in New Zealand one hundred years ago today, on 17 November 1921. Jim Sullivan records that he “continued the transmissions two nights a week and the programmes – a mixture of announcements, live music, and gramophone records – were heard in all parts of the country and even on a ship near the Australian coast.”

Robert Jack is seated at the centre in this photograph of the university’s Physics Department staff and senior students, taken in 1926.

Professor Jack’s colleague Agnes Blackie (seated on the left in the photo) described him: “In everything, Dr Jack’s aim was perfection. This showed itself in many ways: the laboratory place-cards that he printed so beautifully by hand, the finely-written lists, the tidiness of the department. His standard for himself was also his standard for his students and woe-betide them if through carelessness, they fell short of it. Dr Jack’s insistence on punctuality has become legendary: ‘You’re late, Mr Smith.’ ‘No I don’t think so; the clock is just striking,’ ‘Well, you’re nearly late!’ Yet he could easily be disarmed by the right approach as in the case of the student who when asked fiercely whether had had any excuses for lateness replied, ‘Plenty, Doctor, but no reasons.'”

“Dr Jack was a splendid lecturer, illustrating his lectures with experiments skillfully demonstrated and enjoyed as much by the lecturer as by the students. His popular lectures for the public of Dunedin were great occasions: lecture-room packed, lecture-bench crowded with apparatus and the audience lifted out of themselves by the lecturer’s own enthusiasm.”

“To a very sensitive nature was added the strain of nerves stretched taut by serious overworking. It was, however, only a very blind student who did not see through the protective barrier of sternness to the warmly human man behind.” (ref: MS-4443/051).

The photograph is signed on the back by: R. Jack, Agnes R. Blackie (seated on the left), Robert R. Nimmo (seated next to Jack), Helen C. Thomson, Phyllis J. Sutton, Evelyn A. Franklin, Allan G. Harrington, James K. Horn, William M. Somerville, Harold M. Taylor, Doris M.A. Wheatley (ref: MS-3846 Box 2).

From Huia to Hocken – the story of our building

Monday, November 15th, 2021 | Hocken Collections | No Comments

This post was originally written by David Murray, Archivist, for his Built in Dunedin blog in 2019. It is republished and slightly re-edited here to mark the Ōtepoti Dunedin Heritage Festival 2021, which has a particular focus on built heritage. 

The building as it appeared when new in 1954. Image courtesy of Naylor Love

The 1950s Streamline Moderne building that is home to the Hocken Collections was originally built as a dairy factory and offices. The Dunedin-based Co-operative Dairy Co. of Otago produced Huia brand butter and cheese for 75 years, and from this site for over 40. The company disappeared in the dairy mergers of the late 1990s, and their premises became the University of Otago’s new Hocken Library in 1998.

Outwardly, the building perhaps looks older than its years, although it was internally and practically up-to-date when new. It is a late example of a style of architecture introduced to Dunedin in the mid-1930s. Plans were ready in 1947, but there were numerous delays in securing permits and consents, followed by a long construction period of three years. The factory finally opened in 1954.

I’m getting ahead of myself though. First some earlier history of the dairy company…

Dunedin has a long a long association with the dairy industry. New Zealand’s first co-operative dairy factory opened on the Otago Peninsula in 1871, when the eight shareholders of John Matheson & Co. established the Peninsula Cheese Factory at Matheson’s Springfield property. The development of infrastructure and technology saw rapid growth in the industry from the 1880s, when further factories were built around the country. Improved transport networks, refrigeration in both factories and transportation, cream separators, new testing methods, and selective breeding all contributed to the rapid growth of an export industry in the decades that followed. Combined exports of butter and cheese grew from 5,000 tonnes in 1881, to 300,000 tonnes in 1901.

The Co-operative Dairy Co. of Otago formed in Dunedin in 1922. At that time, 564 dairy companies operated around the country, 88% of them co-operatives within a highly regulated industry. The new company claimed it was owned entirely by those who supplied cream, with ‘absolutely no dry shareholders’. 284 individuals operating home separators took 68% of the initial share allocation, while eight small Otago factories (Momona, Mosgiel, Milton, Goodwood, Waikouaiti, Merton, Omimi, and Maungatua) took the remaining 32%. The new company purchased the business of the Dunedin Dairy Co., taking over their newly-built premises opposite the railway station in June 1923. In doing so, it acquired the Huia brand, under which Dunedin Dairy had marketed butter since 1920. By the 1927/28 season the new co-op produced 800 tonnes of butter, the second largest output by a South Island factory.

The original building served the company for thirty years, but by the 1940s it was cramped and behind the standard demanded by regulators. The company bought out the butter business of the Taieri & Peninsula Milk Supply Co. in 1942, taking on its Oamaru factory, but it still sought to expand its Dunedin operation on a larger and more accessible site.

An area of reclaimed Otago Harbour Board land included a vacant and appealing site near the railway line on the east side of Anzac Avenue. The avenue had been built in 1925, in time to link the railway station with the New Zealand and South Seas Exhibition at the newly reclaimed Lake Logan. The idea of such a road been put forward by Harbour Board member John Loudon as early as 1922, before the exhibition was formally proposed. The development or reclamation of the lake had been anticipated for some years, and a new road would also improve connection with West Harbour. It was the exhibition, however, that brought the impetus needed to make what was then referred to as the ‘highway’ a reality. Exhibition architect Edmund Anscombe played a central role in the planning, proposing parks, reserves, and housing for the area to the east of the avenue, but it remained largely undeveloped through the depression years and up to the war.

A late 1920s photograph shows young trees lining the avenue, but by 1933 some had died and others were stunted. Most of the present elms were planted between 1934 and 1938, by school pupils participating in Arbour Day activities.

Detail from c.1902, from ‘Dunedin from Logans Point’ by Muir & Moodie. The future site of the co-op building is under water, next to the shoreline at the far left centre of the image. Ref: Te Papa PA.000184.

Anzac Avenue as it appeared about 1928, meeting Union Street and the southern edge of Logan Park. The future factory site is the furthest of the vacant land on the left. Ref: ‘Dunedin, New Zealand no. 872’, Alexander Turnbull Library Pan-0017-F.

An aerial view from April 1947, showing the vacant site at the centre of the image. Ref: Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library WA-06920-F (cropped detail).

The new Dunedin North Intermediate School opened at the corner of Albany Street and Anzac Avenue in 1934. In 1944, a rehabilitation centre for disabled servicemen opened. Most of the other new land was put to industrial use. Dominion Industries built a linseed oil operation, Shaw Savill Albion a wool and grain store, J. Mill & Co. another wool store, and stationers Williamson Jeffery a factory and head office. On the north side of Leith, a new milk treatment station opened in 1948.

The dairy co-op secured a leasehold section from the Harbour Board in October 1945. Allan Cave, a North Island architect with extensive experience of dairy buildings, prepared preliminary sketch plans and a well was bored on the site in April 1946. Two months later, the district building commissioner deferred issuing a permit, due to the post-war building restrictions and a shortage of cement and labour.

In September 1946, Cave recommended switching to a local architect, and the company appointed L.W.S. Lowther in his place. Lowther immediately began work on plans and specifications, completed in February 1947.

Launcelot William Stratton (Lance) Lowther, architect. Image courtesy of Barbara Parry.

Born in Llanelli, Wales, to a New Zealand-born father, Lance Lowther had worked as assistant to Henry McDowell Smith before taking up private practice in 1945. He had at least a hand in many streamlined designs that came out of Smith’s office in the late 1930s, including the Law Court Hotel and two blocks of flats on View Street. In a more traditional aesthetic, he had a significant and it has been claimed leading design role (under Smith’s name) for the new St Peter’s Anglican Church at Queenstown. Early houses by Lowther include a Moderne/Art Deco design at the corner of Taieri Road and Wairoa Street. He later worked in private partnership with former Otago Education Board architect Clifford Muir.

Huia advertisement from the Otago Daily Times, 27 May 1949 p.7. Papers Past, National Library of New Zealand.

The construction history of the factory highlights the challenges faced in post-war building. In addition to a council permit, plans had to be approved by both the Department of Agriculture and the Harbour Board, both of which asked for changes. Finance also proved difficult, as although commercial banks were happy to lend, the Reserve Bank could exercise its power to stop advances of more than £60,000 for building work. Building firms were stretched and unenthusiastic to tender for the contract, but Love Construction gave a price from the quantities. They were given the go-ahead in August 1947, before the building controller again deferred issuing a permit. Despite repeated efforts it was not until February 1951 that a permit was finally issued. Drawings held in the Hocken are undated, but the work finally begun in March 1951 was probably mostly carried out according to the 1947 plans.

Michael Findlay has described the building as ‘constructed from steel reinforced concrete with steel roof trusses enabling wide spans and unobstructed floors. The wall and floor surfaces had rounded internal corners for hygiene and the design was efficient and modern, a great step up from their earlier Dunedin factory’. The Moderne exterior is characterised by clean lines and simplicity. It might also be described as Art Deco, as it fits some definitions of that style. Embellishment is minimal, consisting mostly of raised banding or string courses. Glass bricks are a feature of the west elevation, and allowed a filtered light into the factory.

The original plans show a large butter and smaller cheese manufacturing area, and a big garage space at the rear with access from Anzac Avenue. There was also stores, freezers, a box and pallet area opening to the cart dock on Parry Street, dressing rooms, and a dining room. Unusually, a bicycle parking area was placed internally in the south-west corner. Office activities took place upstairs, where there was a public counter, large general office, manager’s and secretary’s offices, strong room, another dining room, and a generously sized and wood-panelled board room.

Rosemarie Patterson’s excellent history of Naylor Love, A Bob Both Ways, provides some insight into experiences on the building site through the recollections of foreman Duncan McKenzie. He remembered laying the foundations on the swampy reclaimed site in the winter of 1951: ‘It was just an absolute bog. We were building a kind of floating foundation, big pads right across. 8 feet wide and 18 inches deep. Alex Ross, manager at the time, put an ad in the paper for labourers’. Because of the strike there were many men looking for work. ‘He started sending them to me, and they just kept on coming. But in those days we worked in the rain, and wharfies weren’t used to working in the rain, so most of them left on those wet days. A few stayed on, three or four who didn’t get their jobs back on the wharf.’

The project employed many new Dutch migrants. Conditions in Europe and a shortage of workers saw significant Dutch immigration after the Second World War, with over 10,000 arriving in the three years from July 1951 to June 1954. Most were single, non-English speaking men from a working class background, including carpenters and skilled labourers. McKenzie used one of his steelworkers, a good English speaker who had been a corporal in the Dutch Army in Indonesia, as an interpreter. McKenzie remembered they ‘had to learn to do things differently, especially the concrete work which all had to be boxed. They were not used to doing that.’

McKenzie also recalled Love’s purchasing their first skilsaw in time for the laying of the upstairs floor. ‘It was big 6 x ¼ inch flooring, and they brought it over for us to cut the flooring with. And everybody’s eyes nearly popped out. Len Griffin, the supervisor who used to go round the jobs, every so often for some particular job would come and borrow our skilsaw! The company’s only skilsaw! It was the same with dumpy levels. Being a big job, I always had one there, but there was always someone coming and borrowing it. We didn’t have one for a job, we had one for a lot of jobs.’

‘We didn’t have cranes. We had electric hoists. You’d fill the barrows, generally on the ground, and take them up on a hoist, and wheel the concrete round to wherever you wanted it, and pour it, and take it back down again. It got a bit more complicated later on. We’d take a skip on the hoist and put it in a hopper on the top. And you’d fill your barrow out of that. All the concrete was done by barrow. You had to have scaffold ramps up every lift. Every four feet you’d probably put a pour. So the scaffold had to be built at the right height to swing the barrow and tip the concrete in. We had pre-mix concrete there, but before that – while I worked on the Nurses’ Home in Cumberland Street – all the concrete was mixed on site.’

When construction began, co-op management optimistically hoped it would be able to have its machinery in by April 1952, but there were more delays, including sourcing the roofing material and steel girders. In March 1953, the manager reported a shortage of carpenters. The building neared completion the following summer, but it was practically impossible to move in during the dairying season. In April 1954, building work was complete with the exception of some painting and plastering. Plant was moved from the old premises, and by the end of August all departments had moved in. The final build cost was £150,000.

Butter churners. Campbell Photography. Hocken Collections – Uare Taoka o Hākena P1998-167-006.

Loading finished products. Campbell Photography. Hocken Collections – Uare Taoka o Hākena P1998-167-004.

The building officially opened some eight years after the first consent permit was sought. Keith Holyoake, Minister of Agriculture and future Prime Minister, performed the honours before a crowd of 450 people on 2 November 1954. Referring to the end of the bulk purchasing agreement with the United Kingdom, he said: ‘This is a new era and a really challenging time as far as the primary producer is concerned’. In a peculiar call to arms for securing market share he said ‘we now have to fight the battle with the British housewife’.

The company had 55 staff in its Dunedin and Oamaru factories in 1954. Its products over the years included butter, process cheese, savoury sandwich paste, and reconstituted cream. A subtle name rearrangement occurred in 1976, when the Co-operative Dairy Company of Otago became the Otago Co-operative Dairy Company. In the 1980s the Dunedin factory was producing over 3,500 tonnes of butter annually.

Cheese continued to be made on the site, with a specialty cheese unit established in 1985/86. The company had large shareholdings in the Otago Cheese Co., and in Mainland Products Ltd, which had some operations at Anzac Avenue. In 1989/90 butter reworking ceased after the Dairy Board decided it could satisfy the Otago and Southland markets with patted butter ex-churn from Westland. In the same year, Mainland’s processing plant moved to Eltham, reducing manufacturing operations at Anzac Avenue to creamery and whey butter, and specialty cheese. A Cheese Shop fronting Parry Street opened in 1990, with some products continuing to be marketed under the Huia brand. Adjoining chicken and sausage shops also operated for a time but were less successful. The company performed well for its shareholders, but the Anzac Avenue site was becoming surplus to requirements.

Reconstituted cream point of sale advertisement. Ref: Otago Co-operative Dairy Company records, Hocken Collections – Uare Taoka o Hākena 84-159/003.

The building as it appeared in 1997, when vacated by the dairy company. Ref: Hocken Collections – Uare Taoka o Hākena MS-4069/070.

The University of Otago purchased the building in 1996, for redevelopment as a new Hocken Library. The library had been established in 1910 to care for and provide access to Dr Thomas Morland Hocken’s public gift of his collection of books, pamphlets, newspapers, maps, paintings, and manuscripts relating to Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific. It opened in a purpose-built wing of the Otago Museum and was a much expanded collection by the time it left that site in 1979. By the 1990s the collections were split between the Hocken (now Richardson) Building and a former vehicle testing station in Leith Street. The dairy co-op site brought the library, archive, and gallery together in a secure, environmentally controlled facility, and allowed much improved public access. The architects for the redevelopment were Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates in collaboration with Works Consultancy Services, and the project was managed by Octa Associates Ltd. The main contractor was Lund South, the contract being worth $5.4 million.

The University took possession on 30 June 1997 and the work was carried out over most of 1998. The interior was more or less gutted, with the reorganised space including a large foyer, gallery, public reference area, reading rooms, public tea room, staff areas, and stacks. Preserved internal features included steel trusses and exposed timber joists. Two doors with frosted-glass decoration (moved from the entrance) each feature a pair of huia, as used in the co-op’s branding. The building retains the sympathetic colour scheme given to it at this time, of yellow-creams and gold, with grey-green metal joinery. One of the more obvious external changes was the replacement of steel-framed windows with aluminium ones.

Officially opened by Governor General Sir Michael Hardie Boys on 2 December 1998, the refurbished building was the university’s major Otago sesquicentennial project. Other funding came from the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board, the Community Trust of Otago, and the Alexander McMillan Trust. The external funding was over $2.3 million of the $5.4 million cost.  It is currently home to over 11 shelf kilometres of archives, 200,000 books, 17,000 pictures, and 2 million photographs.

We’ve now been in the building for over 20 years. Changes in recent years have included consolidating two reading rooms into one, to allow a workroom for the expanded Researcher Services team. Also the conversion of the public tea room into a researcher lounger, tea and coffee is still available for a small koha.

The main stacks are of course also climate controlled, kept at 16 to 20 degrees Celsius, with a relative humidity of 40-45%. Over the past twenty years we have installed more and more mobile ranges of shelving, as well as removing internal partitions, as we increasingly push the limits of storage capacity. A two-degree vault has been attached to the building since 2010, providing the ideal climate control for film and colour transparencies and some other material. This is in addition to the original twelve-degree vault, which holds material including video tape and audio cassette recordings, and glass plates and lantern slides. Essential to both, as well as the temperature control, is lower humidity than you would find in a more conventional refrigeration unit.

The Hocken Library, in case there is confusion, remains the official name for the building, while the institution within is the Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, a branch of the University of Otago Library.

The building during its transformation into the Hocken Library in 1998. Hocken Collections – Uare Taoka o Hākena MS-4069/070.

After selling its building, the Otago Co-operative Dairy Co. did not continue as an independent entity for long. The profitable business made a record payout to shareholders in 1996 but mergers across the industry meant there would only be four co-operatives nationwide by the end of the 1990s, and a further mega-merger would follow. In 1997, Otago merged into Kiwi Co-operative Dairies. One farmer who welcomed the news commented: ‘Otago is sitting as a small company doing well and wondering where it will end up’. In 2001, Kiwi in turn merged with the New Zealand Dairy Group and the New Zealand Dairy Board to form the country’s largest company, Fonterra. The Anzac Avenue building is now one of few tangible reminders of the old business.

The Hocken Library in 2019.

Newspaper references:
Lyttelton Times 16 October 1873 p.3 (‘A Cheese Factory in Otago’, copied from Otago Guardian); Evening Star 29 April 1920 p.6 (advertisement for Huia butter), 8 September 1922 p.2 (formation of company), 25 November 1922 p.4 (Loudon’s proposal), 17 May 1923 p.9 (proposed highway), 7 July 1923 p.4 (housing proposal), 14 November 1924 p.2 (‘Highway proposal’), 11 May 1928 p.5 (trees and verges), 29 April 1933 p.23 (dead trees), 2 August 1934 p.12 (elms, with photograph), 5 August 1936 p.14 (elms), 9 August 1937 p.11 (elms) , 10 August 1938 p.15 (elms), 16 September 1938 p.7 (replacing damaged trees); Otago Daily Times 12 October 1922 p.5 (notice of establishment), 22 October 1923 p.9 (‘famous Huia butter’), 19 June 1928 p.18 (company history and purchase of Dunedin Dairy Co.), 9 March 1934 p.6 (dead and stunted trees), 30 September 1942 p.6 (‘Butter business purchased’), 5 August 1947 p.6 (‘New factory to be built’). 3 November 1954 p.10 (‘New £140,000 dairy facory opened by Mr K.J. Holyoake), 21 March 1996 p.1 (‘Dairy factory to become Hocken Library’), 31 July 1996 p.16 (‘Otago Dairy Co-op makes record pay-out to suppliers’), 30 October 1997 p.3 (‘Otago-Kiwi dairy merger nets suppliers a windfall’ and ‘Dairy merger welcomed by farmers’)

Books:
Ledgerwood, Norman. Southern Architects: A History of the Southern Branch, New Zealand Institute of Architects (Dunedin: Southern Branch, New Zealand Institute of Architects, 2009) p.126.
Patterson, Rosemarie. A Bob Both Ways: Celebrating 100 Years of Naylor Love (Dunedn: Advertising and Art, 2010), p.90.
Philpott, H.G. A History of the New Zealand Dairy Industry 1840-1935 (Wellington: Government Printer, 1937), pp.375-406 (statistics).

Web resources:
Petchey, Peter. ‘La Crème de la Crème‘, Friends of the Hocken Bulletin no.26 (November 1998), https://www.otago.ac.nz/library/hocken/otago038951.html#bulletins (accessed 24 October 2019).
Stringleman, Hugh and Frank Scrimgeour, ‘Dairying and Dairy Products‘, Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/dairying-and-dairy-products (accessed 24 October 2019).
Yska, Redmer, ‘Dutch – Migration After 1945‘, Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/dutch/page-2 (accessed 24 October 2019).
Zam, Darian, ‘When Lactose Goes‘, Longwhitekid, https://longwhitekid.wordpress.com/2011/05/31/when-lactose-goes/ (accessed 24 October 2019).

Archives:
Otago Co-operative Dairy Co. records, Hocken Archives, including manager’s reports (84-159 box 6), architectural drawings (97-235 box 32), and annual reports (97-235 box 4).

Special thanks to: Chris Naylor, Rosemarie Patterson, Barbara Parry, Chris Scott (DCC Archives), and the late and much missed Michael Findlay.

Stirring up the stacks #9: two for the price of one! Macaroni soup and ginger pudding

Sunday, October 10th, 2021 | Hocken Collections | No Comments

Post cooked up by Eilish McHugh-Smith, Collections Assistant – Publications

Our recent return to Covid alert level 4 prompted Hocken Staff to fish through their camera rolls and personal bookshelves in search of historical culinary delights to tantalise their bubble’s taste buds. In the preceding weeks, I had been on a mission to find a selection of the most peculiar and delicious sounding recipes within our cookbook collection, so had an array of delights to choose from.

One of my favourite finds is a well-loved copy of New Zealand women’s household guide: containing recipes and general hints, dating from 1934 or 1935.[1] This was published by the Women’s Division of the New Zealand Farmers’ Union, an organisation established in 1925 by the wives of members of the Farmers’ Union to help combat the isolating nature of farm life, advocate for the needs of rural women and children, and of course, provide support to the Farmers’ Union.[2] As part of this the Women’s Division also emphasised and advocated for enhanced home science education, which appears to have been a motivating factor behind this book and its other iterations, some of which the Hocken is fortunate to hold.[3]

Notable recipes within the 1934/1935 edition include milk soup (containing a mere 5 ingredients: milk, onions, vermicelli, salt and pepper), mock whitebait (potato flavoured with anchovy sauce), stewed lettuce, a Marmite omelette, gingerbread cookies and currant buns.[4] However, with week one of lockdown over my bubble was craving comfort food. This led me to the recipes for macaroni soup and ginger pudding, akin to modern day macaroni cheese and a ginger cake- surely these would satisfy.

The macaroni soup recipe [New Zealand women’s household guide: containing recipes and general hints] ([Wellington]: Women’s Division of the New Zealand Farmers’ Union (Inc.), [1934-1935?]), p.12.

The ginger pudding recipe [New Zealand women’s household guide: containing recipes and general hints] ([Wellington]: Women’s Division of the New Zealand Farmers’ Union (Inc.), [1934-1935?]), p.187.

So, I broke down the recipes into step-by-step instructions, converted the measurements into metric and estimated some of the grey areas (noted in square brackets).

First up was the batter of the Ginger Pudding:

Ginger Pudding

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup (115 grams) of butter or dripping
  • 3 cups of flour
  • 1 tablespoon of ginger
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar

Method

  • Mix all ingredients together
  • Bake in a flat dish for ¾ of an hour [Assumed a similar temperature to most cakes (160 degrees Celsius in a fan bake oven)]
  • Original recipe included the note: “What is left from dinner makes a nice plain cake for afternoon tea if a little chocolate icing is put on top”

Interestingly, the resulting mixture was more akin to dough than a typical modern-day cake batter, as the mix was so dry, I struggled properly combine the flour. I also decided to use a large cake pan rather than a small flat dish, out of fear of the mess an overflow would make. Upon baking I found this meant the pudding was still liquid in the centre after 45 minutes and required a further 20 minutes to cook fully. However, as the cake doubled in size, I was relieved to have made the right dish decision.

The batter as it was combined, the batter in the tin, and the final product.

Meanwhile, preparations for the soup began:

Macaroni soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound (454 grams) broken up macaroni [I used spiral pasta as macaroni was out of stock]
  • Salted water [I assumed this would be enough to cover the macaroni by about a couple of centimetres]
  • Sufficient stock [I used about 2 cups of chicken stock]
  • ½ pint (284 millilitres) of milk or cream [I assumed that this was referring to an imperial pint]
  • 5oz (142 grams) grated cheese

Method

  • Break up macaroni and boil in salted water until tender
  • Remove half the macaroni from the pot and hold aside
  • Continue boiling the remainder in to pot until it turns to pulp
  • Add stock, milk or cream, cheese and return the held-aside macaroni to the pot
  • Warm without boiling and serve with toast

This was relatively smooth sailing, aside from the requirement to boil half the pasta to a pulp. With an image of wallpaper paste like gloop in my head I set about boiling it for an hour and a half, by which point the pasta remained relatively intact but swollen. With stomachs growling and one bubble member telling me it “looks pulpy to me”, I made the decision to carry on with the remaining steps.

The ‘pulpy’ pasta after one and a half hours of boiling.

All plated up: the final products

A close-up to show the soup’s true soupiness.

 

First up for the taste test was the Macaroni Soup, which received comments such as: “rather flavourless”, “kind of like those quick pasta packet things” and “this is just pasta in salty water”. It was awarded an average rating of 2.5/10 from our bubble, with the consensus being that the wateriness was its biggest shortfall. Personally, I found its indescribable texture a bit challenging and could not find a discernible flavour to it. However, everyone finished their bowl, so it was certainly edible.

In contrast, the Ginger Pudding received slightly more favourable comments like “would be nice with custard”, “better than dinner” and “a lot like steam pudding”. However, its dry stodginess and a desire for a stronger ginger flavour were certainly noted. Overall, it received an average rating of 5/10, but 24 hours later remained untouched on the kitchen bench. Interestingly, the remaining pasta was snaffled before I ate lunch the following day, but I suspect some extra goodies were added to boost its flavour.

Overall, the meal was edible and filling, with the bonuses of being budget friendly and simple to prepare. These would likely have been key considerations for the Women’s Division in their mission to advance home science education for rural women. However, macaroni would likely have been more expensive than today, as it was not until 1941 that The Timaru Milling Company became the first company in New Zealand licensed to produce pasta under the brand name “Diamond” and not until the 1970s and 1980s that pasta became common place on New Zealand dinner tables.[5] Nevertheless, today pasta in all its forms holds a dear place as a staple comfort food in the hearts of many Kiwis, including my bubble’s.

 

[1] [New Zealand women’s household guide: containing recipes and general hints] ([Wellington]: Women’s Division of the New Zealand Farmers’ Union (Inc.), [1934-1935?]).

[2] Rosemarie Smith, ‘Rural Women New Zealand’, New Zealand History, www.nzhistory.govt.nz; accessed 24 August 2021.

[3] Rosemarie Smith, ‘Rural Women New Zealand’, New Zealand History, www.nzhistory.govt.nz; accessed 24 August 2021.

[4] [New Zealand women’s household guide: containing recipes and general hints] ([Wellington]: Women’s Division of the New Zealand Farmers’ Union (Inc.), [1934-1935?]), pp. 6,17,93,103,232.

[5] Sarah Wilcox, ‘Story: Food and beverage manufacturing – Changing technology and tastes’, Te Ara – the Encyclopaedia of New Zealand; www.teara.govt.nz; accessed 27 August 2021; ‘About us’, Diamond, www.diamondmeals.co.nz; accessed 26 August 2021.

References

‘About us’, Diamond, www.diamondmeals.co.nz; accessed 26 August 2021.

[New Zealand women’s household guide: containing recipes and general hints] ([Wellington]: Women’s Division of the New Zealand Farmers’ Union (Inc.), [1934-1935?]).

Smith, Rosemarie, ‘Rural Women New Zealand’, New Zealand History, www.nzhistory.govt.nz; accessed 24 August 2021.

Wilcox, Sarah, ‘Story: Food and beverage manufacturing – Changing technology and tastes’, Te Ara – the Encyclopaedia of New Zealand; www.teara.govt.nz; accessed 27 August 2021.

 

What else have we cooked up?

Stirring up the stacks #8: Xmas Cake Recipe Recommended by “Buckhams”

Stirring up the stacks #7: Virginia pudding

Stirring up the stacks #6: Pumpkin pie

Stirring up the stacks #5: Sauerkraut roll

Stirring up the stacks #4: A “delicious cake from better times”

Stirring up the stacks #3: Bycroft party starters

Stirring up the stacks #2 The parfait on the blackboard

Stirring up the stacks #1 Variety salad in tomato aspic

In the Hocken Gallery: Pōkai Whenua, Pōkai Moana by Bridget Reweti

Monday, October 4th, 2021 | Hocken Collections | 1 Comment

Post written by Collections Assistant Nick Austin

It was the Hocken’s pleasure, and good fortune, to host the karakia whakatuwhera – opening blessing – for the exhibition Pōkai Whenua, Pōkai Moana by 2020-2021 Frances Hodgkins Fellow Bridget Reweti (Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi Te Rangi), here in our gallery just prior to August’s lockdown. University of Otago Māori Chaplain Dr Helen Papuni led karakia through the gallery, followed by kōrero and waiata to welcome the exhibition and pay acknowledgements. It was great that so many guests from out of town were able to attend this special evening.

Bridget Reweti and Hocken Librarian Sharon Dell at Pōkai Whenua, Pōkai Moana opening. Photograph: Sharron Bennett

Professor Robert Jahnke speaks at Pōkai Whenua, Pōkai Moana opening. Photograph: Sharron Bennett

Sarah Hudson, Bridget Reweti, Erena and Unaiki Arapere, and Terri Te Tau at Pōkai Whenua, Pōkai Moana opening. Photograph: Sharron Bennett

The title of Bridget’s exhibition, Pōkai Whenua, Pōkai Moana, recognises two of the names of Tamatea, a principal ancestor of the Takitimu waka, who explored areas in Aotearoa including Tauranga Moana, the artist’s turangawaewae, and Murihiku, the southern part of Te Waipounamu (South Island). As Bridget writes in her exhibition wall text: “I use this connection to my tipuna who travelled over lands and seas to locate myself as a Tauranga Moana artist within Ngāi Tahu mana whenua.” It is this whakapapa that underpins the four series of works in the exhibition.

Bridget uses photography in ways that you have probably never seen before. In the series Kapo Wairua, she has produced photograms of x-ray-like details of migratory seabirds – tītī (sooty shearwater), toroa (albatross), kuaka (godwit) – onto stones cut flat on one side: pounamu (greenstone), onewa (basalt), kōkawa (andesite), pakohe (argillite). From an accompanying wall text by Matariki Williams we learn of the symbolism of birds’ departure and return, in the Māori world. For example: “Roimata toroa is a well-known Ngāti Porou tukutuku pattern that references the excreting of saline from the nostrils of these seafaring birds and is a constant reminder of necessary preparation when undertaking long journeys.” There is a haunting presence to these works that is potently summed up by the writer: “[T]hese birds compel us to always remember those who have gone before us, those who have made their haerenga to Rerenga Wairua, those for whom we continue to long […]”.

(L-R) through the fog it came and the silence of the sea (for Sarah), 2021, pounamu plate negatives. Photograph: Justin Spiers

Georgina May Young viewing after Fiona, 2021, toroa skull photogram on basalt. Photograph: Justin Spiers

It makes sense then that certain people from Bridget’s artistic whānui, some of whom have passed away, are paid tribute within works’ titles. On this note, the thoughts of many people in Ōtepoti Dunedin have recently been with Marilynn Webb (Ngāti Kahu, Te Roroa), a much-loved and influential artist who spent most of her artistic life in this town. Marilynn passed away just days after Bridget’s exhibition opened. As a mihi to Marilynn, when installing the exhibition Bridget chose to present three works by Webb on the mezzanine level outside the Hocken Gallery, from her 1980 Aramoana Fossil series.

Ghostly images combined with tactile materials are used again by Bridget in another series Summering on Lakes Te Anau and Manapouri. Last summer she travelled with friends into Fiordland to trace the movements, evident in landscape photographs from 1889, of Alfred Burton of the famed Dunedin-based firm Burton Brothers. She re-recorded Burton’s views with a conciousness of there being lore – placenames and histories long held by mana whenua, Ngāi Tahu whānui – that he would not have known. As a gesture to this gap in understanding of place, Bridget has coloured her photographs with the pigments of whenua from those very places, given to her by local people.

4870 – LIVING THE DREAM, 2021, whenua coloured silver gelatin photograph. Courtesy of artist

Summering on Lakes Te Anau and Manapouri series in Pōkai Whenua, Pōkai Moana. Photograph: Justin Spiers

Rauhina Scott-Fyfe viewing How to drain a swamp series in Pōkai Whenua, Pōkai Moana. Photograph: Justin Spiers

There is a strong sense of whanaungatanga – kinship – in every aspect of Bridget’s work here, from production to exhibition. Whakapapa too, not only in the sense of familial and artistic genealogies but in there being all sorts of layers of, or connections between, land and people, images and materials. An immaterial presence within the gallery is somehow articulated by the audio recording of taonga pūoro played by Alistair Fraser that accompanies the large moving image work, Like a rock against the tide. These atmospheric sounds float through the gallery’s open doors as a gentle but persistent entreaty: you should come in.

Still from Like a rock against the tide, 2021, HD Moving Image with sound

Pōkai Whenua, Pōkai Moana is open (in Level 2!) Monday – Saturday, 10am -5pm, until 30 October at the Hocken Gallery, 90 Anzac Ave, Ōtepoti Dunedin.

Book Review Corner #1: Two for the price of one with Gideon the Ninth and Harrow the Ninth, by Tamsyn Muir

Tuesday, September 28th, 2021 | Hocken Collections | No Comments

Post written by General Assistant, Gini Jory

Welcome to a new segment for the Hocken blog, where our staff review books we hold in our collections. Whether these be novels, poetry, non-fiction, books helpful for research or genealogy- hopefully we will cover it all in our new Book Review Corner!

Today we start with a series fairly new to the collection- the first two books of the Locked Tomb series by New Zealand author Tamsyn Muir. Gideon the Ninth (2019) and Harrow the Ninth (2020) are Muir’s first novels, and have both been met with critical acclaim- Gideon having won the 2020 Locus award for best first novel and the 2020 Crawford award, as well as being nominated for the Nebula award for best novel and the Hugo award for best novel. Harrow is a finalist for the 2021 Hugo award this year.

 

I read these two books over the most recent lockdown, and they have quickly become some of my favourites. I had read Gideon the Ninth previously- as soon as I saw the review tagged on the front cover in the bookstore “Lesbian necromancers explore a haunted gothic palace in space!” I had to buy it- and I was super excited to read the sequel. If you enjoy science fiction, fantasy, horror, queer fiction, and elegant prose peppered with ancient memes, then these might be next on your TBR list.

So, what is it all about?

 

 

“Teacher said the facility was chocka with ghosts and you might die?”

“Correct.”

“Surprise, my tenebrous overlord!” said Gideon. “Ghosts and you might die is my middle name.”

 

 

 

 

Gideon the Ninth takes place in a far off (and possibly our dark future) universe ruled with the magical energy of necromancy. Thousands of years ago the new God (the King Undying, the Prince of Death!) resurrected the universe, which now consists of nine houses, each with different necromantic specialties. Here we find Gideon Nav of the Ninth House (is it Pluto? I like to think so), who is planning her escape- again. The Ninth House is different from the others, as its sole purpose is to protect the locked tomb that lies at its centre, housing an ancient and powerful enemy of God. But around this tomb has grown a sort of cult of worship, and the Ninth House is one of nuns and servants devoted to the locked tomb. There are hardly any actual people left on the Ninth, with the majority of their population being made from necromantic skeletons- of those passed and the newly regenerated. It is from this dark underground society Gideon hopes to escape to join the Cohort, the deep space army of this galaxy. But her plans are foiled by the Reverend Daughter Harrowhark Nonagesimus, the best necromancer of the Ninth, with the ability to grow entire skeletons out of the smallest bone fragments.

It turns out that God has put out the call for all the houses to send their best necromancers, along with their cavaliers (a champion fighter) to undertake the mission of becoming new Lyctors, who are basically undying warrior saints, the right hand men and women of god. It’s a pretty big deal- there haven’t been new Lyctors since the original eight created when the universe was first resurrected. Harrowhark is set on going (for mysterious reasons I won’t spoil here) but she needs a cavalier and unfortunately, Gideon is the best swordsman she has. It’s unfortunate, because these girls have basically sworn to hate each other for all eternity and have been fighting since their infancy. Nevertheless, Harrowhark is all set to offer Gideon the one thing she wants- freedom- if she will answer the call and go to the First House with her to undertake this challenge. And if you didn’t know yet, that’s not how this story is going to turn out.

When they arrive at Canaan House they are plunged into a series of tests, mysteries, and monsters. With an ensemble of untrustworthy characters, Harrowhark and Gideon must learn to trust each other and work together to uncover the secret to Lyctorhood, and to survive whatever is murdering their fellow necromancers in the ancient laboratories below Canaan House. There’s sword fighting, goth skull makeup, lots of bones, a fair amount of sass and sarcasm and an extremely good murder-mystery all wrapped up in one spooky and very cool magic system.

Gideon the Ninth is unlike anything I’ve read before- it’s dark, funny, high fantasy prose, low brow culture, all at the same time. The necromantic magic system is mildly gruesome and extremely intriguing, and is explained throughout the different tests that take place through the book- Gideon is a big beefcake with only a basic understanding of necromancy, so we learn as Harrow painstakingly explains it to her. Gideon and Harrow are excellent complex characters, extremely relatable in their own ways. They explore their own trauma and grief, and I found the way they handled these, while very different, extremely realistic and uncomfortably relatable. This isn’t a happy queer romance, and the way Muir writes this tragedy wrenches your heartstrings all the way through. She somehow perfectly balances the dark gothic themes with Gideon’s sassy over-it jokes-a-plenty thoughts and narration, making for an altogether different style that I think will sit well with anyone that enjoys a blending of the modern and the classic (in reference and in humour).

 

“I could protect you, if you’d only ask me to,” said Ianthe the First.

A tepid trickle of sweat ran down your ribs.

“I would rather have my tendons peeled from my body, one by one, and flossed to shreds over my broken bones,” you said.

“I would rather be flayed alive and wrapped in salt. I would rather have my own digestive acid dripped into my eyes.”

“So what I’m hearing is … maybe,” said Ianthe. “Help me out here. Don’t be coy.”

 

 

 

Harrow the Ninth is a completely different beast all together. Taking place not long after Gideon finishes, we have a Harrow-centric story as she starts her journey to lyctordom. But something is wrong. This is not the Harrowhark we know- she is, as she freely admits, insane. Something went wrong when she completed her transition to lyctor, and Harrow the first (as all Lyctors are of the first house) is not complete. But she must still train and travel with God himself and the few remaining original Lyctors because the universe is at stake. A resurrection beast (the soul of a dead planet) is coming to seek revenge on those who killed it (God) and it will consume any planet in its wake to absorb its energy and make itself more powerful. If they do not stop it, it will eventually consume all nine houses. Harrow is absolutely not up to this task. Not only can she not magically heal as other lyctors can, she has retained no knowledge of the fighting skills of her cavalier. And more concerning for us, dear readers, is this: Harrow has no memory of Gideon, and believes her cavalier was another ninth named Ortus Nigenad. Confused yet? So was I! But don’t worry, it all makes sense at the end.

This book was definitely a bit more jarring of a read for me. Half of it is told in second person, which I always find more difficult to get into. I think this is definitely done with intent though- it seems to be either a Harrow who is so traumatised and disassociated after her lyctorial transformation that she cannot relate to herself so personally, or an absent Gideon narrating Harrow’s actions for her (I’ve seen solid arguments for both, though I originally read it as Gideon narrating to Harrow). The other half of the book is a third person alternative-universe retelling of the events of Gideon at Canaan House, with Ortus as an insane Harrow’s cavalier, a different kind of monster hunting them that they are told about from the get-go, and characters dying in the opposite order to the actual events of the first book. These two styles and two timelines- the current and the AU past- are interfiled throughout the book, leading to a culmination and explanation of the alternative timelines existence during the final confrontation with the resurrection beast.

This book has a very different tone to the first as well- without Gideon’s sarcastic inner-monologue and cringey jokes, everything is a bit more solemn. While Harrow can be funny, its more because she’s being rude than actually cracking a joke. To alleviate what at times could otherwise be a depressing story with its heavy themes of trauma, grief, and mental illness, Muir has brought in a lot more cultural references made by other characters- especially the other lyctors who have ~ancient cultural knowledge~. That’s right, it’s meme time. These references have convinced me that this is a future universe of our own timeline, and this is what has survived of our pre-resurrection culture. Like quoting Latin or traditional proverbs today, in the future let them quote memes.

She references Shakespeare as well though, but if you were on the internet in the late 2000s/early 2010s (2012 tumblr, anyone?) then this specific humour might just tickle you. I absolutely hated myself for knowing some of these references. I did start to tally how many I got as I came across them but I definitely missed some; here is a handy summary  for those interested (spoilers abound!)- it counts around 40, which is a meme or other reference approximately every 12 pages. Beautiful.

Overall, Harrow the Ninth was definitely a much more confusing read than Gideon. It’s the kind of book that sucks you in while you’re reading, but when you take a break you have to ask yourself if you actually know what is happening. The ending is still confusing me. It’s great getting to see a more vulnerable and even naïve side to Harrow in this one, and to get an exploration of mental illness in science fiction/fantasy feels pretty fresh. If you’re not a fan of second person narration, this might not be the book for you, but if you enjoy solving a mystery with very little to go on in the way of clues, you’ll probably love it. And not to worry, there’s still plenty of bones, sword fighting, and flirting.

Even though Harrow the Ninth was a bit of a confusing read, I still loved both of these books and would absolutely recommend them to anyone who enjoys science fiction and fantasy. I’m really looking forward to the rest of this series- it was originally a trilogy but will now have a fourth book, announced earlier this year. Nona the Ninth will precede the previously announced final volume Alecto the Ninth, and is set to be published in 2022- not too long a wait if you start reading soon! I can’t wait to see what happens next for Harrow and Gideon, and I hope you enjoy their story too, if you come along for the ride.

References:

Muir, Tamsyn. 2019. Gideon the Ninth. New York: Tom Doherty Associates.

Muir, Tamsyn. 2020. Harrow the Ninth. New York: Tom Doherty Associates.

The women of the D.I.C. – Part one: The knit & purl girls

Thursday, August 19th, 2021 | Hocken Collections | 1 Comment

Post researched and written by HUMS intern, Ceri Spivey

Amongst the business records held here at the Hocken Collections Uare Taoka o Hākena, are those from the eminent local and national department store chain, the Drapery and General Importing Company of New Zealand (lovingly known as the D.I.C.). Established in 1884 by prominent businessman Bendix Hallenstein as a ‘wholesale family warehouse’, the D.I.C. quickly flourished with multiple locations nationwide, until the business eventually closed its doors in 1991, after over a hundred years of successful trading. While much has been written about the store’s revolutionary retail practices, economic successes and male leadership, little attention has been paid to women’s involvement. These hundreds of women worked the shop floor, ran departments, hired staff, dominated shareholding, and breathed life into the company from the moment its doors opened.

A Guy Morris photo of the Dunedin D.I.C. staff, pre-WWI. MS-5063/060, Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

Department stores revolutionised women’s lives at the turn of the twentieth century beyond retail alone, being female designated and dominated spaces. Women would shop aided by other women for household goods, intimate apparel, clothing and more, in a progressive female-orientated environment. Our own D.I.C. was one such example, having female facilities and toilet amenities, an important shift in the Victorian era, as public toilets were not available to the women of Dunedin until 1910[i]. Alongside amenities, the female staff of the D.I.C. were an integral part of the department store from the outset, becoming well-known personalities, celebrated, and showcased, as early advertisements highlight.

‘Our Miss Button’ advertisement, Otago Witness, 19 October 1910, p.5. [image from microfilm]

D.I.C. company picnic running race, c.1900. MS-5063/012/002, Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

As imagery found in the D.I.C. archives illustrates, staff social activities were tied to the store, with women participating in company sports events, picnic races and clubs, alongside philanthropic groups like the D.I.C. Girls’ Patriotic Club. The staff of the D.I.C., like thousands of women nationwide, heeded the call of Lady Annette Louise Foljambe Liverpool, wife of New Zealand’s Governor-General, for the women of New Zealand to band together to provide care parcels packed with ‘necessaries’ for soldiers serving in the Great War.

D.I.C. Girls’ Patriotic Club postcard, 1917. MS-5063/023, Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

Headed by crockery manager and buyer Miss Frances Alice Button, over seventy ‘girls’ under the age of twenty from the D.I.C. became members, meeting regularly in the nearby Savoy Lounge. Using Lady Liverpool’s Her Excellency’s Knitting Book as a guide, held within our publications collection, the women of the D.I.C. would parcel necessaries- cigarettes, letters, and knitting, for brothers, colleagues, and troops at home and abroad.

Her Excellency’s knitting book (1915), by Annette Foljambe, Countess of Liverpool. Ferguson and Osborn Printers, Wellington. Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

Miss Button was unable to attend the club’s December 1917 meeting due to a severe illness. Poignantly, a letter was read on her behalf: “Although the sadness of this great war was responsible for the formation of our club, its outcome has been a mutual understanding and comradeship”.[ii] After a long and fruitful career at the D.I.C. (which we will cover in the next blog post on the women of the D.I.C.), Miss Frances Alice Button succumbed to her illness on the 18th of June 1918. The knit and purl girls of the D.I.C. continued their good works, headed by the talented dressmaker Miss E. Lawrence, until the end of World War One.

Frances Alice’s words were ringing true for thousands of New Zealand women, who took up their knitting needles to comfort their loved ones ravaged by war, but gained friendship, autonomy, and much more.

References

[i] St Clair, as a popular seaside destination, saw the first public toilet for women built in 1908, but it wasn’t until 1910 that the central city had “underground conveniences” for women. See Alison Breese’s digital thesis below for more information on the fascinating history of Dunedin’s public toilets: https://scalar.usc.edu/works/conveniences/chapter-one-public-conveniences-and-the-rise-of-undergrounds

[ii] Evening Star, 15 December 1917, Page 4

 

Alternative sources for alternative voices

Monday, June 28th, 2021 | Hocken Collections | No Comments

Post researched and written by General Assistant Gini Jory

Radical writers are often thought of as a cornerstone of New Zealand literature. Whether it be poetry, short stories, novels, commentaries or screenplays, these writers have cried out against the status quo, speaking out on issues such as racism, social injustice and numerous other political concerns. These thoughts have shaped New Zealand literature and in turn have produced a wealth of writers armed with radical prose and ideas.

James K. Baxter, c.1965-1972. Michael de Hamel photograph, Box-005-002, Te Uare Taoka o Hākena – Hocken Collections, University of Otago.

One of the most prominent of these writers is James Keir Baxter (1926-1972) who was born into a family with established radical leanings. His father was Archibald Baxter (1881-1970), a socialist, pacifist, conscientious objector during WWI and the author of We will not cease, the memoir of his brutal experiences of forced conscription and imprisonment. The Hocken holds papers for both James K. Baxter (ARC-0027) and the Baxter family (ARC-0351) in the archives collection. Born in Dunedin, Baxter spent his formative years here, attending the University of Otago and returning later as a Robert Burns fellow in 1966. His published works cover a huge range with poetry, literary criticism and social commentaries at the forefront. He was also well known for his radical lifestyle; most notably the period in later life when he moved to Jerusalem/Hiruhārama, a Māori settlement on the Whanganui River, leaving behind his University position and job.

When thinking about potential information the Hocken might have on Baxter, you would be safe in the assumption we carry a large amount of his published works, along with the previously mentioned archival collections. However, given the radical and alternative nature of Baxter’s life and writing, this post will cover some of the more alternative, and perhaps less obvious items we carry in our collections that are equally as useful for research.

If you’re interested in taking a more active (literally!) research approach, a great place to start would be with Writers Dunedin: Three Literary Walks. Along with short biographies of many Dunedin writers, this item provides a map of three walks you can take around Dunedin, highlighting places of significance in the literary history of Dunedin and in the lives of these writers. This includes places like the Robert Burns statue in the Octagon, the Globe Theatre, the University clock tower building, as well as lesser-known places including pubs frequented by writers, schools, houses, bookshops and publishing firms. All three walks include places of significance in the life of Baxter.

Map kindly provided with permission from Southern Heritage Trust. Map design by Allan Kynaston. Barsby, John & Frame, Barbara Joan. Writer’s Dunedin: Three Literary Walks. Dunedin: Southern Heritage Trust. 2012

This publication is a companion to another item, found in our AV collection: Hear our Writers: an audio compilation of eleven Dunedin Writers. This sound recording comprises writers reading aloud their own poetry, as well as having it read by others. James K. Baxter is among these authors, and you can listen to him read his poem The Fallen House, a reflection of his early life in Brighton which he has referred to as his “lost Eden”. It is a very immersive experience to hear a poem spoken by the person who wrote it over 50 years ago, and to understand how he meant it to be heard with his own specific inflection and voice, rather than how we as readers may imagine it in our heads. This item also goes to show just how many alternative mediums there can be, and something written will not only appear in our collection as a published book or collection. We hold several other recordings relating to Baxter, further proving you can find information in the most unexpected places.

Baxter, James Keir. ‘A small ode to mixed flatting.’ Published in Falus: the official organ of the Beardies and Weirdies Industrial Union of Workers. Dunedin. 1967. (The poem continues over page.)

Another slightly different item we hold is an alternative student publication from Otago University, entitled Falus: the official organ of the Beardies and Weirdies Industrial Union of Workers. It was in this that A small ode to mixed flatting was originally published in 1967. This was in response to a decision made by the University to forbid mixed flatting, something that these days is seen as completely normal and out of scope of the University’s control.  Critic was not interested in the story of the student expelled over this issue, so he took it to Falus instead. They approached Baxter and he agreed on the spot, providing them with A small ode to mixed flatting. This piece is an excellent example of Baxter’s alternative outlook and the importance of social activism and criticism in his life. As the Burns fellow at the time of this event, he was not a student directly affected by this decision (he was technically an employee of the University) however, he still took this opportunity to criticise the University over what many students saw as an infringement on their rights.

We have several issues of Falus, ranging from 1965-1968, featuring many poems and political letters, with a lot of satirical content (though not all stand the test of time!). Baxter has also made other contributions to this publication, including a letter about the capping show of 1967. If you are interested in student activism or political poetry, this magazine is a wealth of information and entertainment.

We hold other items related to this mixed flatting event, including this neat pamphlet advertising an organised sleep in, which can be found in our Ephemera collection. ​

Live-in. [1960s] From the Ephemera Collection, Te Uare Taoka o Hākena – Hocken Collections, University of Otago.

We have a few items relating to Baxter on display in our current exhibition, Drift– a new exhibition featuring recent Hocken art acquisitions and selected collection items. These include a photograph of Baxter rolling a cigarette taken by New Zealand art historian, writer and photographer Gordon Brown (b.1931), and a papier mâché ‘Head in a bottle’ made by Baxter in 1951/52 and deposited by his son John Baxter in 2018.  Upon depositing, John wrote:

Please find enclosed the papier mâché head made by James K. Baxter as a young student at Wellington Teachers’ College. It was then a part of his desk furniture for many years, becoming a part of the internal landscape of my mother’s house after his death.

The head was much admired by my mother’s close friend the writer Janet Frame and was left to her in my mother’s will.

Sadly Janet predeceased Jacquie so the piece has come down to me as the remaining child.

I worry about its condition and would be happier if it were in a place where it could be preserved, […]

Drift is open until Saturday 17 July (Monday – Saturday 10am-5pm), so please come visit if you are interested in viewing these items in the exhibition.

When researching a famous local writer, there are plenty of obvious places to look and sources to use. Hopefully this post has highlighted some alternative sources on this topic, as well as demonstrating how the many different collections we house can be of use for all kinds of research- you might find the perfect resource in the most unexpected place!

 

References

James K. Baxter, c.1965-1972.  Michael de Hamel photograph, Box-005-002, Te Uare Taoka o Hākena – Hocken Collections, University of Otago.

Live-in. [1960s] From the Ephemera Collection, Te Uare Taoka o Hākena – Hocken Collections, University of Otago.

Baxter, James Keir. Literary Papers. ARC-0027. Hocken Collections, Dunedin.

Baxter Family Papers. ARC-0351. Hocken Collections, Dunedin.

Baxter, Archibald. We will not cease. London: Gollancz. 1939.

Barsby, John & Frame, Barbara Joan. Writer’s Dunedin: Three Literary Walks. Dunedin: Southern Heritage Trust. 2012.

Southern Heritage Trust. Hear our Writers: an audio compilation of eleven Dunedin Writers. (Sound recording) Dunedin: Southern Heritage Trust. 2009.

Baxter, James Keir. ‘A small ode to mixed flatting.’ Published in Falus: the official organ of the Beardies and Weirdies Industrial Union of Workers. Dunedin. 1967.

Baxter, James Keir. Head in a bottle, 1951 or 1952. Papier mâché, paint, repurposed bottle. Wellington, New Zealand. Deposited by John Baxter, 2018.

 

 
Anna Blackman anna.blackman@otago.ac.nz
 

Any views or opinion represented in this site belong solely to the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the University of Otago. Any view or opinion represented in the comments are personal and are those of the respective commentator/contributor to this site.