Stitching in the Detail

Monday, December 10th, 2018 | Hocken Collections | No Comments

Post researched and written by Megan Vaughan, Collections Assistant – Researcher Services

Hapua School, Parenga – sewing class (c.1900). P1990-015/49-328. Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

This wonderful candid scene from the far north has turned up as an illustration several times over the years, captioned briefly or sometimes not at all. The sewing class image from Te Hāpua School is intriguing, prompting questions about the people, time and place, and it deserves to be more than an illustrative aside. This post looks behind the scene in an attempt to embroider a more detailed background to the sewing class on the veranda.

Most sources, like the Hocken, have estimated the date of the photograph to be approximately in the early 1900s, but Robin L. Shepherd, author of Te Hapua School: our 75th year identified the year as 1904 and the teacher as Mrs Greensmith. By 1904, Te Hāpua Native School had been in existence for eight years and Edwin Greensmith was the school’s third principal. His wife, Isabella Cleland Lloyd, was the assistant teacher. They arrived at Te Hāpua the year this photograph was taken and the wooden building seen in the photograph replaced the original raupō schoolhouse with its mud floor just five years earlier. Edwin and Isabella taught at Te Hāpua for only three years while raising their young family. Single men were not allowed to teach at native schools until the 1930s, and the majority of the head teachers in Te Hāpua’s first 75 years were men whose spouses shared the teaching load. The author of the history booklet, Robin L. Shepherd, was himself Te Hāpua’s eighteenth principal, starting in 1969, and his wife Gena Shepherd was the assistant teacher.

Te Hāpua School (initially called Pārengarenga Native School) was established in 1896 with Lucy Irvine as the first head teacher. The community had spent many years petitioning the Education Department for a school. The Ngāti Kurī people actually wanted the school at Kapo Wairua, even further north than Te Hāpua. However, the Education Department maintained it was too remote and it was easier for them to get a teacher and supplies to Te Hāpua instead. At that time, Te Hāpua was a lake called Lake Hōpua and in order to get the sorely needed school Chief Murupaenga of Ngāti Kurī drained the lake and set up a papakāinga there. In an historical account in the Ngāti Kurī Deed of Settlement, a retired politician commented that the area might have suited the Education Department but it caused numerous problems for the community including inadequate road access, flooding, lack of fresh water and deficient soil quality.

Indeed, health and access issues plagued the school and its community for many years. During 1906, the Greensmiths’ final year at Te Hāpua, the school closed for much of the year due to a meningitis epidemic. This was not the first time, nor the last, that epidemics forced the school to close. The previous head teacher, Mr Matthews, was moved to provide an extensive report on the health of the local children in 1903, noting “one hundred were ill, and nine had recently died, suffering from coughs, fevers and convulsions” (Ngāti Kurī Deed of Settlement, p.22). Access problems made the trip to school hazardous for many pupils. Shepherd noted the Raharuhi people kept their children from attending Te Hāpua fearing they might drown crossing the Waitiki River. This prompted Mr Greensmith to offer the use of his boat to ferry pupils safely to school.

Portion of: Te Hāpua / drawn by N.M. Dudley. Wellington N.Z.: Lands and Survey Dept., 1959. Hocken Maps H++ 830/NZMS2/N2/7 1959. Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

Although it was drawn over fifty later, the map shown in part above is beautifully detailed and gives us more of an idea of the topography of Te Hāpua and its surroundings. The Waitiki Channel and stream, which was a problem for many children on their way to school during the early years, can be seen to the west of Te Hāpua as well as areas of mangroves and swamp. The Hocken holds a physical copy of this map and the National Library has made a digitised version available.

Portion of: Topographical survey of the country between Hohoura Harbour and the North Cape. Wellington. N.Z.: Dept. of Lands and Survey, 1899. Hocken Horizontal Maps 841 1895a. Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

The lovely watercolour map by T.K. Thompson shown above is earlier, from 1899, and marks the location of Te Hāpua School (“Native School”) to the south of Manuka flat.

The sewing class scene depicts a time when practical skills were prized and made a compulsory part of the school syllabus. In fact, the government wanted all schools, not only native schools, to focus on these more so than academic learning. To this end the Native School Standards of Education (in section 4 of the Native Schools code, 1880) stipulated that girls were expected to be able to thread needles and hem by the end of standard 1, and by standard 4 “to do button-holing, to sew on buttons, to darn stockings, and to be learning to knit stockings”. Some of the girls in the photograph are taking measurements, which suggest they may have gone beyond the syllabus into altering or making new garments.

An important part of any photograph’s story is its creator. Fortunately, The Turnbull Library, which also has a copy of the sewing photograph, has been able to identify the photographer Arthur James Northwood. Arthur and his two brothers, Richard and Charles were all photographers in the Far North from the 1890s to about 1940. They travelled by horseback enabling them to access remote areas taking photographs of the gum fields and the people that worked in them. They also photographed the teachers and pupils of Te Hāpua School. Shepherd’s book includes several images taken by Arthur and Richard Northwood in 1904. Arthur Northwood also took the picture below, which appeared in the Otago Witness in December 1908 (this image does not appear in Shepherd’s history). We all know that photographing children (let alone large groups of them) brings challenges, making “A study in smiles” remarkable with a group of no less than seventeen boys smiling simultaneously for the camera.

Northwood, A.J. (1908). “A study in smiles”: Māori boys at Te Hāpua School, Auckland, the most northerly in New Zealand. Otago witness supplement, 30 December 1908, p.47. Dunedin, N.Z. Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

Clearly, there is a lot more to the sewing class photograph than its simple captions, but research also raises further questions. Who were the children in the photographs? The girls have obviously survived the epidemic of 1903 that prompted school principal Mr Matthews to compile a health report on each child in the area, but how did they fare in the meningitis epidemic the following year? Did Arthur Northwood take the photograph of the boys on the same visit in 1904, and if not, when? Some of the answers may lie in the old school records held in the Te Ahu Heritage Museum in Kaitaia. There is certainly room for more detail to be stitched into the Te Hāpua sewing class scene.

Sources:

Barrington, J.M., & Beaglehole, T.H. (1974). Maori schools in a changing society: an historical review. Wellington, N.Z.: New Zealand Council for Educational Research.

Dragicevich, K. (2015). The gumfield collection: 100 years on – looking back: photographs by Arthur and Richard Northwood, 1898-1940. Awanui, N.Z.: Willow Creek Press.

Education: Native Schools (1897) in Appendices to the Journals of House of Representatives, E-02, 1897, Session 2, retrieved 27 April 2018, https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/parliamentary/AJHR1897-II.2.2.3.6?end_date=31-12-1897&phrase=0&query=te+hapua&start_date=01-01-1897

Education: Native Schools (1905) in Appendices to the Journals of House of Representatives, E-02, 1905, Session 1, retrieved 27 April 2018, https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/parliamentary/AJHR1905-I.2.3.3.7?end_date=31-12-1905&phrase=0&query=te+hapua&start_date=01-01-1905

Education: Native Schools (1907) in Appendices to the Journals of House of Representatives, E-02, 1907, Session 1, retrieved 27 April 2018, https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/parliamentary/AJHR1907-I.2.3.2.7?end_date=31-12-1907&phrase=0&query=te+hapua&start_date=01-01-1907

(Hapua School, Parenga – sewing class c.1900) [photograph]. P1990-015/49-328. Hocken Collections Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

Mead, Sidney M. (2016). Tikanga Māori: living by Māori values. Wellington: Huia Publishers.

Morris, M. (2010) ‘Unpaid domestic work – Making clothes and preserving food’, Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, retrieved 27 April 2018, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/23326/school-sewing

Ngāti Kuri and The Crown deed of settlement of historical claims (2014), retrieved 27 April 2018, http://www.ngatikuri.iwi.nz/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/NK_DOS_Historical_Claims.pdf

Northwood, A.J. (1908). “A study in smiles”: Māori boys at Te Hapua School, Auckland, the most northerly in New Zealand. Otago witness supplement, 30 December 1908, p.47. Dunedin, N.Z.: Josian Lye for the Otago Daily Times and Witness Newspapers Co.

(School records [Te Hapua Public School]) [catalogue entry]. Te Ahu Heritage Museum, retrieved 27 April 2018, http://www.nzmuseums.co.nz/account/3293/object/608238

Shepherd, R.L. (1971). Te Hapua School: our 75th year. Te Hapua, N.Z., Te Hapua School.

Simon, J.A., Smith, L.T., Cram, F., and University of Auckland. International Research Institute for Maori and Indigenous Education. (2001). A civilising mission? : perceptions and representations of the Native Schools system. Auckland, N.Z.: Auckland University Press.

Sylva, T. (2014). In the matter of the Treaty of Waitangi act 1975 and in the matter of the Muriwhenua land claim (WAI-45), retrieved 27 April 2018, http://www.ngatikuri.iwi.nz/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Wai_45_Tuini_Sylva.pdf

Te Hapua / drawn by N.M. Dudley [map]. 1959. Wellington N.Z.: Lands and Survey Dept. Hocken Maps H++ 830/NZMS2/N2/7 1959. Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

Topographical survey of the country between Hohoura Harbour and the North Cape [map]. Wellington. N.Z.: Dept. of Lands and Survey, 1899. Hocken Horizontal Maps 841 1895a. Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

Influenza and the armistice celebrations of 1918

Sunday, November 11th, 2018 | Hocken Collections | 1 Comment

Post written and researched by David Murray, Archivist

This year marks one hundred years since the devastating influenza pandemic that claimed between 50 and 100 million deaths worldwide. It arrived in New Zealand not long before the armistice at the end of World War I. Soldiers returning on troopships were among those who unknowingly brought the flu here, particularly contributing to the highly infectious second wave of the virus. Influenza claimed the lives of 9,000 in New Zealand, and Māori suffered a death rate eight times that of the Pākeha population. The total was equal to about half the number of New Zealanders killed in the war, and over a period of just two months.

A striking aspect of the tragedy was the contrast between the jubilation of the armistice celebrations and the emerging horror of spreading disease and rising mortality. The armistice was declared on 11 November 1918, and widely celebrated in New Zealand on 12 November. By this time some emergency hospitals had opened, and authorities were taking steps to better treat patients and prevent the spread of the virus. The Chief Health Officer urged celebrations be postponed, and no excursion trains were allowed. Schools were closed, and large gatherings of children prohibited in the North Island. Mass celebrations were banned in Auckland, but many cities and towns celebrated with large processions, brass bands, and public speeches. These events contributed to the spread of influenza.

Crowds, including children, at the armistice celebrations in Princes Street, Dunedin, on 12 November 1918. This photo by Guy Morris was originally published in the Otago Witness, 20 November 1918. Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena.

Despite a warning from District Health Officer Dr Irwin Faris, crowds thronged the streets of Dunedin. A letter in the Hocken Collections paints a vivid picture of the scene here. Nan Drennan wrote to her mother on 17 November 1918:

Well! Peace has come at last! My first thought, when I heard the bells, was, “What would I not give to be at home today”? However, that is not possible, so here goes – I think it was last Monday I finished off my letter to you & on Tuesday morning, just as we were performing our ablutions the bells & whistles began, & after that it was pandemonium. Murray went down to work in the forenoon, but came home early, & after dinner we set out in the car, with flags waving, & decorated with red white & blue rosettes. We called in on Mrs Gowland as I knew she would not be able to walk much, so she was highly delighted, & we continued down town, the streets were simply packed with people & vehicles, & a procession was going through the streets. Mrs Throp & the family were hanging out the windows of her husband’s rooms, so they waved to us to come up, which we did, & found tea being dispensed, so we all had a cup, & got an excellent view of the proceedings, then Mrs Gowland insisted on our going up there to tea, so we got into the car again, & went along Princes St. as well as we could for crowds of people, & so up the hill […] Since then, things have been real quiet, as influenza is so rampant that all the picture-houses, theatres, churches, & every place where folk gather, have been closed for a week, even the shops were shut for 3 days, to get fumigated. I expect Tuesday’s proceedings were responsible for many new cases, the crowds were so dense, but the health authorities have been very wise in taking drastic measures at once. It was perfectly dreadful in Auckland a short time ago, & a severe type, but now it is abating there. There are some bad cases here, but, as I say, the health people are wide awake. [Hocken Archives Misc-MS-1308/001]

As Nan described, further closures of places of entertainment and gathering followed the celebrations. Geoffrey Rice, in his authoritative account of the influenza pandemic’s effects in New Zealand, calculated that the peak of mortality in New Zealand was on 23 November. By December the worst was over, and the country began its recovery from the trauma of both war and disease. Large-scale peace celebrations were held in July 1919, following the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.

The ‘Central Bureau’ for influenza relief in the old post office buildings at the corner of Princes and Liverpool streets, Dunedin. The signs on the loaned cars read ‘Medical Aid’. Guy Morris photo, Otago Witness, 4 December 1918. Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena.

With the New Zealand Footballers

Thursday, November 8th, 2018 | Hocken Collections | 1 Comment

Post researched and written by Sarah Hibbs, Collections Assistant – Researcher Services

Housed in our archives collection is a group of scrapbooks lovingly assembled by the All Black legend, John William ‘Billy’ Stead (1877-1958). They contain newspaper articles, cartoon clippings, postcards, photographs, telegrams and ephemera which outline his involvement in and passion for all levels of New Zealand rugby.

The cover of one of Stead’s scrapbooks (MS-1205/04). The collection contains three more scrapbooks, a folder of victory telegrams and a publication.

Scrapbooks can be a rich source of information. Upon opening the cover of a scrapbook a researcher can immediately sense the importance the material held to the compiler. They provide a fantastic record of people’s memories and experiences and as a result offer insight into society at the particular time the material was collated. Stead’s scrapbooks are no exception: they cover his whole career and in the process illustrate rugby’s launch into New Zealand popular culture.

Stead was born in Invercargill on 21 September 1877. He started his rugby career in 1896 when he played for the Star Club and was subsequently chosen for the Southland and South Island representative teams. He went on to tour Australia with the New Zealand side, and in 1903 and 1904 captained the team against the visiting British squad.[1] In 1905 Stead was named vice-captain of the Originals on the first official tour of the United Kingdom by a fully representative New Zealand team. This tour saw the side famously win a staggering 31 out of 32 games, scoring 830 points against only 39.[2]

A photograph of Stead in an unreferenced newspaper article covering the Originals win over Northumberland. This dates the photograph to c. late November, early December 1905. (MS-1205/03)

The first team photograph of the Originals was taken by a local photographer in Newton Abbot, Devon, before New Zealand’s opening match on tour. The team’s departure in 1905 had been met with little excitement from the New Zealand public but once the Originals began to defeat a personification of the colonial power at their own game and on their own turf, this started to change. Within hours of the photograph being printed, it went on sale as a postcard and subsequently become incredibly popular with the public. Thousands of copies were distributed throughout the country and many were sent with messages back to family and friends in New Zealand.[3]

The photograph features in postcard form in one of Stead’s scrapbooks. (MS-1205/04)

Businesses also took advantage of the team’s success and used the photograph for promotional purposes as seen in this Huntly & Palmers Biscuits advertisement. (MS-1205/03)

The tour was supposed to have reinforced strong bonds within the British Empire but instead New Zealand was emerging with its own national identity as the home-land of unconquerable heroes.[4] The nation’s character was now defined by the ability to perform amazingly well on foreign soil after travelling for weeks at sea. This showed the Originals were capable of adapting, handling huge pressure and working together as a team.[5] These were relatable qualities to the general population of New Zealand, as displayed a few generations earlier when the first settlers were faced with their own challenges in an unfamiliar land.

This cartoon is titled ‘Wanted – a giant killer’ and its illustration of various representatives from the British Isles as feeble competitors compared to the New Zealand giant perfectly depicts how the New Zealand spirit was being personified. It was originally published in Free Lance, Volume XI, Issue 283, 2 December 1905. (MS-1205/03)

The government back home took advantage of the Originals success by placing advertisements in British newspapers encouraging new migrants to New Zealand by calling upon the newly appointed characteristics of this impressive population. On 1 January 1906 the Christchurch Press reported ‘Apart from the effect of the campaign upon the game, both at Home and in the colony, it has been one of the greatest advertisements the colony has ever had, and has probably done more to “bloom” New Zealand with the British public than did the dispatch of our Contingents to South Africa, or all Mr. Seddon’s quaint efforts to attract attention to these islands.’[6]

The only game the side lost was against Wales (0-3)  – which happened to be the only game of the tour Stead did not play. However, Stead was not only a talented player, he was also very perceptive and had the ability to turn what he was observing into the written word. Before the team had left New Zealand, the Southland Times asked Stead to write a diary of the tour. His accounts, titled With the New Zealand Footballers, were predominately about the team’s journey at sea and the experiences of a New Zealander visiting Britain for the first time, as opposed to rugby. He outlined his surroundings and brought the whole experience to life for the average New Zealander.

In his last diary submission, printed on 14 March 1906, the reader can sense the emotion, pride and gratitude of Stead and his team mates. ‘In conclusion, as a team we feel that from now onward we cease to exist; friendships have sprung up in our travels that will be lifelong, and the many incidents and good-natured banter which have been part of our life will be constantly in the sweet thoughts of memory, and I think I may say that the 1905 team, the account of whose travels it has been a pleasure to me to record to you in these columns, has been a credit to New Zealand from every point of view.’[7]

Stead also co-authored one of the classics of rugby book publishing, The complete rugby footballer on the New Zealand system, with Captain Dave Gallaher. It was completed within a very short timeframe but over 322 pages Stead and Gallaher managed to trace the development of rugby in New Zealand. Through text, photographs and diagrams they covered captaincy, coaching, tactics, equipment, training and how they prepared for the tour.

In the Stead papers we hold Stead’s very own, well used, copy of The complete rugby footballer. (MS-1205/06)

Here at Hocken we hold two copies of The complete rugby footballer on the New Zealand system – one in the published collection and one with Stead’s papers. We also hold two compilations of his columns from the Southland TimesWith the New Zealand footballers: [excerpts from the columns of the Southland Times concerning the New Zealand Rugby Tour of Great Britain, 1905-1906] and Billy’s trip home: the remarkable diary of an All Black on tour.

Due to the success of this tour, the fascination with New Zealand’s triumph and the embodiment of the New Zealand spirit in players such as Stead, rugby became a national passion and obsession throughout New Zealand. For the first time, rugby was entering the realm of literature, widespread newspaper coverage and pictorial representation. As a result, the Originals were projected into popular culture and to this day, New Zealander’s still draw upon this legendary tour as the beginning of our nation’s reputation as unbeatable in the rugby arena.

This cartoon was originally printed in The Auckland Weekly News, 8 March, 1906 and features in one of Stead’s scrapbooks (MS-1205/02). Its caption reads ‘The above picture, which was specially drawn for The Weekly News, conveys some idea of the widespread enthusiasm attending the return of the famous “All Blacks”. The record of the team is really wonderful. Out of a series of 32 matches, played in Britain, including four internationals, the team was only beaten once and scored 830 points to 39 points scored against.’ The use of the silver fern motif and the team name “All Blacks” were first adopted during this famous tour.

This cartoon was originally printed in The Auckland Weekly News, 8 March, 1906 and features in one of Stead’s scrapbooks (MS-1205/02). Its caption reads ‘Haeremai! Haeremai! Haeremai! Our artist had depicted the return of the victorious New Zealand footballers to a typical Maoriland welcome.’ The victorious team are shown riding astride a moa while an English lion bearing the union jack is hung from the rear. Their quiet, nondescript departure is compared with a joyous crowd of celebrators on their return.

If you are interested in finding out more about this legendary tour the Hocken publications collection holds a large amount of material pertaining to it and our ephemera collection contains many programmes for All Black matches that continue to reference the Originals’ success years later. We are also home to an additional set of scrapbooks (SER-09625) complied by another All Black, Jack McNab, covering the period 1948-1966 which continue this illustration of All Black supremacy through newspaper clippings and cartoons.

The ongoing tradition of international rugby tours can be celebrated this weekend when the All Blacks take on England. At a time when travel is swift and sporting results are communicated around the world instantly, perhaps we can try to imagine how different the experience was for the Originals and for fans back home in 1905.

[1] Thomson, Jane. Southern People: A Dictionary of Otago Southland Biography. Dunedin, N.Z: Longacre Press in association with the Dunedin City Council, 1998.

[2] Stead, W. J. Billy’s trip home: the remarkable diary of an All Black on tour. Dunedin N.Z.: New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame, 2005.

[3] Howitt, Bob and Dianne Haworth. 1905 Originals: the remarkable story of the team that went away as the Colonials and came back as the All Blacks. Auckland, N.Z.: HarperSports, 2005.

[4] Ryan, Greg. 1905, legend and legacy. Christchurch, N.Z.: Canterbury History Foundation, 2005.

[5] Tobin, Christopher. The original All Blacks: 1905-06. Auckland, N.Z.: Hodder Moa Beckett, 2005.

[6] https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/CHP19060101.2.21?end_date=01-01-1906&phrase=0&query=football&start_date=01-01-1906&title=CHP&type=ARTICLE

[7] https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ST19060314.2.43?end_date=14-03-1906&phrase=0&query=stead&start_date=14-03-1906&title=ST&type=ARTICLE

Digitising the First New Zealand Missionaries

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

Post researched and written by intern William Sharp

You wouldn’t believe what missionaries got up to. From chasing wild bulls in the bush to drinking on a convict ship, their interesting antics lead to many a pious and passive-aggressive argument between them. Soon, you will be able to update yourself on all of the latest missionary gossip from the comfort of your own home. Thanks to the generosity of the Hocken Collections and my tireless labour, more letters and journals of early New Zealand missionaries will be available on the internet for all to read.

Over the past semester I have been working as an intern at the Hocken Collections for my HUMS301 course at Otago University. The purpose of my work has been to add more material to the website ‘Marsden Online.’

Marsden Online is a website built by the Otago University Library and the Hocken Collections for the purpose of making historical documents more accessible to the public and to students. As can be seen in its name, Marsden Online is based on material that relates to the New Zealand missionary, Samuel Marsden (1765-1838).

Reverend Samuel Marsden by James Fittler, Hocken Collections ref 23,602

Samuel Marsden is an important figure in the history of New Zealand because of his leading role in the establishment of the Church Missionary Society Mission in the Bay of Islands. He is often attributed as having brought Christianity to New Zealand and is said to have given the first sermon in New Zealand history on Christmas day of 1814. Marsden Online, therefore, not only holds incredibly interesting material, but also documents that are very important to New Zealand history.

The website primarily holds letters and journals written by New Zealand missionaries working with and for Marsden. All of the material is Church Missionary Society correspondence taken from bound volumes kept in the Hocken Archives Collection. The founder of the Hocken Collections, Thomas Morland Hocken, acquired the documents in these volumes from the Church Missionary Society in 1903 and bound them himself.

599 of the documents from Hocken’s volumes have been made available on Marsden Online to date. They can be viewed as high definition pictures and they all have corresponding transcriptions which can be downloaded in multiple file formats.

All of the digital transcriptions of these documents were written by Gordon Parsonson. Parsonson is a retired academic who has studied missionaries in the Pacific and is a key figure in the founding of Marsden Online through the enormous amount of material he has digitally transcribed for it.

My job, specifically, has been to record the details of all of the documents held in two of the bound volumes of CMS correspondence that have not yet been added to Marsden Online. This amounts to over 300 individual documents, including letters, journals, affidavits, cheques, reports, tables, diagrams and more. By recording the details of all of these documents, such as the dates they were written and their authors, I am enabling them to be added to the website.

Once images of the documents have been taken and uploaded, the information I have recorded will be assigned to the documents in order for them to be searchable on the website and will provide the reader with basic information on each document, such as who wrote it, when, who it was sent to and its physical size. I also have to assign the corresponding Parsonson transcription to each document. This can mean a lot of file-searching and reading massive amounts of rushed early 19th century handwriting, so my work does have some significant challenges.

I have even had to do some transcribing myself where a transcription has been incomplete, incorrect or missing altogether. This has been my favourite part of my work, as it has allowed me to read the material in-depth.

The writings of Samuel Marsden and his fellow missionaries are incredibly interesting, but don’t take my word for it, go have a look for yourself! The 313 documents I have recorded may not be available on Marsden Online for some time, but, rather than wait, you could spend that time reading the 599 already there!

Reading between the lines in Blighty

Tuesday, August 14th, 2018 | Hocken Collections | No Comments

Post written researched and written by Kari Wilson-Allan, Collections Assistant – Archives

‘Blighty’, New Zealand YMCA booklet of advice for soldiers on leave in London (c.1917), MS-1474/143 in Dr Aaron Fox Military history collection.

Blighty is a tiny (72 by 124mm) pocket book, published by the New Zealand Young Men’s Christian Association.  Despite its diminutive size, it contains worlds of insight into respectable expectations of service men on leave. Judging by its condition, our copy has certainly seen some sights. Throughout the lightweight guide, soldiers are encouraged to seek out wholesome entertainment, to take advantage of British hospitality, develop friendships and make the most of their leave in London.The text suggests itineraries for touring the city or venturing further afield, to Scotland, Ireland, or Wales.  It advises of ‘host families’ throughout the British Isles who welcome Kiwis into their homes; declaring that ‘hundreds have already availed themselves of this privilege,’ it then asks the soldier ‘is this not just what you are wanting?’

The YMCA was widely considered during wartime to be ‘practical Christianity.’[i] This booklet supports that. Along with all the tips on where to go, what to see, and how to get there, there is plenty of detail about the various churches in London that a soldier might wish to attend.

Yet, towards the end of the guide, the reader is returned to thoughts of New Zealand. Nostalgia is provoked with a map, and a verse, schmaltzy to modern eyes, reminds the soldier what he is fighting for: New Zealand, ‘the fount of pure freedom.’

While the booklet itself is undated, and was originally catalogued as such, this verse, by Lt. A.H. Bogle, has been the clue to determining its age.  A bit of research showed up Bogle as the winner of the National Song Competition, held in 1917. His success was announced in various New Zealand newspapers from September of that year.  Therefore, the guidebook dates from late 1917, or perhaps early 1918.  Based on its content, this does not seem surprising.  By mid-late 1917 enthusiasm for the war reportedly had waned significantly,[ii] and I wonder if the song competition, and the booklet itself, were intended to boost flagging spirits.

Although it is interesting to see what soldiers were encouraged to do, I found myself reading through the book feeling that there was a massive gap in the useful advice proffered. Nowhere was there guidance on avoiding venereal disease, the scourge that, at a restrained estimate, infected twenty percent of our troops.[iii] As a Christian publication this isn’t too unexpected, but then I read closer.  The guidance is there, if veiled.  Just as we might read between the lines to the inferred homoeroticism in the Village People’s 1978 hit, YMCA, we can read through the lines here, and find delicate guidance in the art of maintaining one’s honour.

First the soldier is met with an image of a woman and two young girls ‘awaiting your return.’ Surely these are proxies for the soldier’s wife and daughters, or other family members. This visual representation prompts the soldier to remember the faces he holds dear.

Then there’s the text itself. Recall the VD statistics, and you’ll see what’s being underlined here; it’s certainly not just monogamy:

‘soil not her faith in you by sin or shame’

‘when base temptations scorch you with their flame’

‘O keep for her dear sake a stainless name’

These matters were presumably too indecent for an organisation such as the YMCA to broach directly. That was more the style of Ettie Rout, the celebrated and reviled campaigner for safer sexual liaisons in wartime, yet they still found a way.  Regrettably, we cannot know how many men took heed and brought ‘back to her a manhood free from shame!’

[i] Evening Post, 26 September 1917, p.7

[ii] https://nzhistory.govt.nz/war/first-world-war-overview/defending-our-shores

[iii] Tolerton, Jane, Ettie Rout – New Zealand’s safer sex pioneer, 2015, p.19.

Murder on the Maungatapu

Thursday, August 2nd, 2018 | Hocken Collections | No Comments

Post researched and written by Jennie Henderson, Hocken Collections Assistant  – Publications

In 1866, a gang of four goldfield criminals murdered five men (and their horse) on the Maungatapu track near Nelson. The subsequent search for the bodies, trial, and execution of some of the murderers seized the attention of the nation. Newspapers were full of the events for weeks and even years afterwards.

At the Hocken Collections, tucked away in the middle of a bound volume of pamphlets, are three letters from the accused to legal officials in the trial, which provide an enticing window into the case…

But first, some background:

The accused men were labelled ‘The Burgess Gang’: Richard Burgess, Joseph Sullivan, Philip Levy, and Thomas Kelly.

Photos of Burgess, Levy, Kelly, and Sullivan taken during the trial (from “A full history of the Maungatapu murders: including a narrative of the events preceding the murders, confessions of Sullivan & Burgess, a corrected report of the trial, detailed particulars of the execution of Burgess, Kelly and Levy, and lives of the murderers, with portraits, and plans and sections of the road”. Nelson: 1866).

Burgess and Kelly were both transported convicts, who had lived a life of crime on the Australian goldfields and been in and out of gaol there, until following the gold to Otago in 1862.  They served three years in gaol in Dunedin for theft and attempted murder, before travelling to the West Coast and forming a new gang there with Sullivan and a former acquaintance, Levy.[1]

In the course of numerous robberies and assaults on the West Coast goldfields, Levy heard talk of a party of businessmen planning to travel from Canvastown to Nelson to deposit their earnings in the bank.  Excited by the rumour that the businessmen would be carrying up to £1000, the gang made a plan to rob them.

On June 12, 1866, they positioned themselves on the track, by what would later become known as Murders Rock.  A flax grower in his fifties, James Battle, travelling along the track, was stopped by the gang and initially they let him pass. They later decided that he may be able to identify them, and some of the gang chased him down and killed him, robbing him of his wages of £3.17s.[2]

The attack on and murder of James Battle (as reproduced in Hill, Richard, Policing the Colonial Frontier: the theory and practice of coercive social and racial control in New Zealand, 1767-1867. Wellington: Historical Publications Branch Dept of Internal Affairs, 1986).

On June 13, the party of four businessmen – George Dudley, James de Pontius, Felix Mathieu, and John Kempthorne, and their horse – named Old Farmer – were held up, robbed, and murdered by the Burgess Gang.[3]  They burned the men’s’ clothes and other evidence, and hid three of the bodies, leaving the fourth in a manner intended to suggest he was the culprit, if the bodies were ever found.  The gang then returned to Nelson, to spend their ill-gotten gains of just over £16 each, nowhere near the amount that they had hoped for.[4]

Caption: Burgess shoots Kempthorne on Maungatapu Mountain (as reproduced in Byron, Ken. ‘Guilty wretch that I am’: echoes of Australian Bushrangers from the death row memoirs of Richard Burgess. South Melbourne: Macmillan, 1984).

In Nelson, a friend of the businessmen was waiting for their arrival in order to take Old Farmer back to Canvastown.  When the party did not arrive, he raised the alarm.  Police began to investigate the matter on June 18.  Suspicion fell quickly on the Burgess Gang, who had been seen by a number of witnesses heading in the direction of the Maungatapu track, and had been spending money in Nelson over the last few days.  The four men were arrested on June 18 and 19.  The citizens of Nelson were horrified by the apparent crime, and a large search party was formed, finding Old Farmer’s body and a gun on June 20.

While the search continued in the difficult terrain, Sullivan took advantage of an offer from the Governor of a pardon to any accomplice to the murders who gave information resulting in a conviction of the murderer(s).[5] He gave a full confession, implicating his three partners in crime (but not himself), and directing police to the bodies, which were found on June 29.  Sullivan also later disclosed to the police the location of James Battle’s body, as his disappearance had gone unreported.

The victims were all buried together in a mass grave at Wakapuaka Cemetery, their bodies escorted by a massive procession of the citizens of Nelson.[6]  A monument to the victims was erected after a public collection, and its inscription conveys a strong sense of the outrage of the local people at these events:

This monument was erected by public subscription in memory of five late residents of the province of Marlborough who are interred here. They were waylaid, robbed, and barbarously murdered by a gang of four bushrangers, on the Maungatapu Mountain, in this province, June 12 and 13 1866 / Avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath for it is written. Vengeance is mine: I will repay saith the Lord. Romans XII 19.[7]

While in gaol awaiting trial, Burgess wrote a now infamous confession/autobiography that contradicted Sullivan’s confession, and claimed that Levy and Kelly were innocent of the actual murders. Burgess’ confession is long and written in an attractive literary style, and is considered a classic of crime writing.[8]

The trial ran from September 12-18.  Despite Burgess’ counter-confession, Burgess, Levy, and Kelly were found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging.  They were executed at a specially-constructed gallows on October 5.  Levy went to his death protesting his innocence.  Sullivan was tried for and found guilty of the murder of James Battle.  He was sentenced to death, which was later downgraded to life imprisonment. He was sent to Dunedin gaol for a time, and then released on the condition he left New Zealand.  After some time in England, he travelled to Australia where he was arrested by Australian authorities while trying to make contact with his wife and family. It seems he may have been relocated by the government, and then passed into legend somewhat with no confirmed sightings after this time.[9]

The pre-meditation and cold brutality of the murders, and especially the controversy of the competing confessions, seized the imagination and fired the indignation of the New Zealand public. Newspapers at the time were full of the story, following every twist and turn in the search and the trial.[10] A ‘grand moving diorama of the Maungatapu murders, occupying 2000 feet of canvas’ was touring the country by November 1866.[11] The local Nelson paper, the Examiner, printed a booklet covering the details of the case and the trial, and providing much desired detail about the chequered pasts of the accused.

An original 1866 copy of this booklet, with maps and photos, was bound with other pamphlets by Justice H.S. Chapman and gifted to the Hocken.[12] In the back of this pamphlet are secured three letters: one from Burgess to Mr Adams, a prosecutor; one from Sullivan to Mr Sharpe, a Nelson Court registrar; and one from Levy and Kelly to Sergeant-Major Shallcrass, a police officer who was involved with the case.

The letters highlight how important the finer details of the case were in determining whose account was correct: Burgess or Sullivan.

Nelson Gaol
Sept. 1th 1868, Saturday night
To Mr Adams,
Respected Sir,

I forgot to mention in my previous requests for your official aid and furtherance one item of importance, to the carrying out of justice to all concerned, so I have taken the liberty of again intruding myself on you, to see that my application to you is attended too, it is this. If you remember Sullivan stated, the balls we had with us, and some of which were drawn from the gun he threw away, were stolen from the Grey[?], no such thing, they were purchased. Now I wish that you Telegraph, the authorities at the Grey, and cause them to make inquiry at Mr Helier’s shooting gallery, next door the Star Hotel, whether he remembers the night of Friday, the first of June, selling five shillings worth of balls to anyone, on the same night, the ramrod was [?]. With this being sent through the Government it will be sufficient proof, without issuing subpoenas for their attendance, note the address Mr Eli Helier next the Star Hotel.

I remain your ever obliged and humble servant,

Richard Burgess.

*******************

Mr Sharpe

Sir

I would thank you if you would have a Summons served upon the Witness Harvey to attend in the case of James Battle.

For in Burgess’ confession he says that Kelly & Levey left us at the Bridge to proceed into Nelson Mr Galloway can prove that there men Harveys party where but a short distance ahead of us.

My statement is this that at the time Burgess & Levey where securing the man Battle there was a gun discharged and I went up the road and I heard the Report of another gun and then I observed three men upon the road near Franklyn’s Flat.

If I could see these men where was Kelly and Levey at this time for by the statement Burgess has made they left us at the Bridge and it appears that Harveys Party never seen them upon the road. Suppose they must have hid themselves upon this occasion as Burgess states they did on the following day.

If it is Convenient to would thank you for the Different Distances of the road that bears upon my case.

I am Sir your Most Obedient Servant

Joseph Thomas Sullivan

*******************

And Levy’s and Kelly’s attempts to be tried by Special Jury:

Nelson Gaol

To Mr Shallcrass, [Sergeant-Major]

Sir this if to inform you that it is Our wish, as we are going to be tried for Our innocent lives, that if the laws of Our Country allows us to be tried by a Special Jury, by making application that you will Please to grant Our request, and your humble servants will for Ever Pray.

Signed Thomas Kelly

Phillip Levy

Recd 30 Sept [JWA]

*******************

The 1866 pamphlet was revised and reprinted many times due to ongoing interest in the case.  The Hocken holds issues of The Maungatapu Mountain Murders from 1890 (a Hocken original), 1909, and 1924.

Also in 1866, the murders were the inspiration for a sermon delivered by the Bishop of Wellington on ‘Ahab’s crimes and the Maungatapu Murders, treated on the principles of the new school of morals and religion.’[13] The Bishop reflects on how he would deal with communities rife with criminal behaviours such as those on the West Coast, and what message the Gospel truly brings regarding criminality.

An interesting additional layer to the case, the Hocken holds a photocopy of ‘Practical phrenology: a lecture on the heads, casts of the heads, and characters of the Maungatapu murderers, Levy, Kelly, Sullivan, and Burgess’  by A.S. Hamilton; delivered in the Provincial Hall, Nelson, for the benefit of the Maungatapu Monument Fund, October 8, 1866.

A phrenologist, Hamilton, had met with the accused before their execution to interview them and take measurements of their heads.  Casts were also made of their heads (before their execution, as there was a concern that their faces may be distorted after the hanging). The lecture, of which the Hocken item is a transcript, was given three days after the men were executed, and was intended as a fundraiser for a memorial in the cemetery. Hamilton makes bold claims about the men and their characters based on his studies:

The basilar phrenometrical angle in Kelly, marked A, is forty-two degrees. This is greatly in excess of common murderers…Kelly’s angle is of the very worst murderer’s type…

…the middle basilar section, the seat of the organs of Destructiveness, Vitativeness, Secretiveness, and Acquisitiveness [is large]; hence the terrible power of this portion of the brain in influencing his conduct for evil…[14]

From Hamilton, A. S. Practical phrenology: a lecture on the heads, casts of the heads, and characters of the Maungatapu murderers, Levy, Kelly, Sullivan, and Burgess. Nelson: 1866).

Levy’s temperament is coarse, and the bones of his skull are thick…These measurements speak in plain language, and show the moral imbecility of the man; and a glance at the deficient development of his reasoning powers, and at the great size of his organs of secretiveness and acquisitiveness, combined with the small endowment of his benevolence and conscientiousness, will at once warrant the conclusion that, in bad hands, Levy would become a willing tool in the perpetration of the foulest deeds…[p.11] Levy, in my company in prison for more than an hour, tried hard to enlist my sympathy, by crying and protesting his innocence; and it was a terribly humiliating sight to witness the idiotic efforts he made to disguise his true character…[15]

More modern authors continue to be intrigued by these events, and the Hocken holds a number of interesting sources.

  • Clune, Frank. Murders on Maunga-tapu. Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1959.

Clune wrote historical novels, travel books, and histories of scandalous events in early NZ and Australia. This work provides a “grim account of a callous crime committed on the New Zealand goldfields in 1866… [and] an unusual study of the mental make-up of the four lying brutal Londoners who were responsible for the crime…”.

  • Burton, David, ed. Confessions of Richard Burgess: the Maungatapu murders and other grisly crimes. Wellington: Reed, 1983.

Burton gives an account of the murders, as well as a transcript of Burgess’ famous confession.

  • Byron, Ken. ‘Guilty wretch that I am’: echoes of Australian Bushrangers from the death row memoirs of Richard Burgess. South Melbourne: Macmillan, 1984.

Byron looks at Burgess’ confession in the context of the bushrangers and his criminal upbringing.

  • Hawes, Peter. Outlaws and Rogues. Auckland: Whitcoulls, 2003.

In this illustrated book for tweenagers, the Maungatapu murderers take their place beside other notorious rogues in history, such as Billy the Kid and Al Capone.

  • Martin, Wayne. Murder on the Maungatapu: a narrative history of the Burgess Gang and their greatest Christchurch: Canterbury University Press, 2016.

Martin re-examines the case with new eyes, using little-known primary sources, and suggests an alternative narrative.

  • Rosanowski, John. Treachery Road: a historical goldfields murder mystery. Christchurch: Cornwall, 2017.

Rosanowski approaches the case as a journalist in the 1890s reinvestigating the murders. He claims to have uncovered new information about Sullivan which suggests Kelly and Levy were innocent, as Burgess claimed.

Some of the Hocken Collections’ resources on the Maungatapu murders.

The fascination with this case has continued in other formats as well. In 1972, a radio play ‘Death at Murderers Rock’ was produced by the Overseas Programme Exchange Service.[16] In 2016, the Nelson Provincial Museum put on a two-part exhibition about the murders and the trial.[17] A play about the murders, by Nelson playwright Justin Eade, was performed in the Nelson/Marlborough area and later at the Arts Market in Wellington in 2016/2017.  In 2017, Burgess’ story was included in the ‘Black Sheep’ podcast.[18]

If you wish to view any of the books referenced above, or any of the Hocken Collections’ other fascinating resources, the staff here at 90 Anzac Avenue are more than happy to help.  Visit us between 10am and 5pm, Monday – Saturday. Please bring photo ID with you to register as a reader.


Footnotes:

[1] Burgess had earned something of a name for himself in Dunedin’s gaol: ‘Early in 1863, Burgess once or twice caused great danger in the Dunedin gaol. Once, he contrived to communicate with the notorious Garrett and others, so as to concert a breaking out; and he contrived to break through a thick stone wall and enter the adjoining cell.  On another occasion, he and Garrett each barricaded the door of his cell, and set the officers at defiance until the doors had been battered down. Those doors, and the others in the gaol, then opened inwards – a stupid arrangement, which was speedily altered. Burgess was flogged, and he bore his punishment with seeming indifference.’ Otago Daily Times (Dunedin, New Zealand), quoted in “A full history of the Maungatapu murders: including a narrative of the events preceding the murders, confessions of Sullivan & Burgess, a corrected report of the trial, detailed particulars of the execution of Burgess, Kelly and Levy, and lives of the murderers, with portraits, and plans and sections of the road” (Nelson: 1866), 15.

[2] Ken Byron, ‘Guilty wretch that I am’: echoes of Australian Bushrangers from the death row memoirs of Richard Burgess (South Melbourne: Macmillan, 1984), 98.

[3] The men were strangled, stabbed, and shot. For a comprehensive account of the attacks, see Wayne Martin, Murder on the Maungatapu: a narrative history of the Burgess Gang and their greatest crime (Christchurch: Canterbury University Press, 2016), 131.

[4] Martin, 132.

[5] For the poster stating the conditions of the offer of immunity, see Martin, xix.

[6] For a map of the cemetery, including the location of the monument, see http://nelson.govt.nz/services/facilities/cemeteries/cemeteries-in-nelson-2/wakapuaka-cemetery/

[7] From Wikipedia’s page on the Maungatapu murders: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maungatapu_murders#/media/File:Maungatapu_Monument_02.jpg

[8] Mark Twain described Burgess’ confession as: ‘…a remarkable paper. For brevity, succinctness, and concentration, it is perhaps without its peer in the literature of murder. There are no waste words in it; there is no obtrusion of matter not pertinent to the occasion, nor any departure from the dispassionate tone proper to a formal business statement—for that is what it is: a business statement of a murder, by the chief engineer of it, or superintendent, or foreman, or whatever one may prefer to call him.’ Mark Twain, Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World (1897), ch.XXXIII.

[9] See Martin, 249-262.

[10] A quick search of Papers Past reveals dozens of articles about the investigation, the trial, and the execution, and the backgrounds of the criminals. Even in 1935, an obituary for Alfred Mills references that he was in Nelson at the time of the Maungatapu murders. Otago Daily Times, 10 October 1935, 9.

[11] Otago Daily Times, 2 November 1866, 1. Admission was 1s.

[12] “A full history of the Maungatapu murders” is bound with Chapman Pamphlets v.14, no.13.

[13] This pamphlet is bound in Hocken Pamphlets v.79.

[14] A.S. Hamilton, “Practical phrenology: a lecture on the heads, casts of the heads, and characters of the Maungatapu murderers, Levy, Kelly, Sullivan, and Burgess” (Nelson: 1866), 4.

[15] Hamilton, 10.

[16] https://www.ngataonga.org.nz/collections/catalogue/catalogue-item?record_id=179001

[17] The Nelson Provincial Museum holds a number of items related to these events, including the head casts of Burgess, Kelly, and Levy. http://www.nelsonmuseum.co.nz/

[18] http://www.radionz.co.nz/programmes/black-sheep/story/2018617776/outlaw-the-story-of-richard-burgess

 

Between the Sheets: Gems from the Hocken sheet music collection

Wednesday, May 30th, 2018 | Hocken Collections | 2 Comments

Post researched and written by Amanda Mills, Curator Music and AV

On Saturday, 26 May, Hocken hosted a public performance event to celebrate both Music Month, and some treasures of our sheet music collection. These are only a few of the gems in the collection, and items that deserve an airing to a contemporary audience. Some – Pokarekare, Blue Smoke, and Now is the Hour – are well known, but others, such as Bowling have been lost to time.

The published sheet music collection at Hocken is extensive at over 2,500 sheets that represent all styles and genres in New Zealand’s music history, from piano-and-vocal songs to atonal and avant-garde contemporary pieces, and all forms of popular music in-between. This collection has many treasures including some of our earliest music sheets: Te Heu Heu and Mrs St George’s Whalers of the Deep Deep Sea, which dates to c.1857; the first English edition of God Defend New Zealand from 1876; All Hail! Zealandia by Frederick Leech and Francis Valpy of 1874, and James Brown’s 1894 Tarakoi Waltz are only some of the gems tucked away. Contemporary treasures are collected too, and although these may not have a rarity factor at present, future researchers may rediscover them as unique items that deserve reappraisal.

Treasures in the collection are varied, but here are some highlighted in the Music Month performance.

Bowling – words by J.B. Mack, music by G. B. Laidlaw

George Laidlaw emigrated to New Zealand in 1901. He and his family settled in Dunedin, and within a year he was appointed conductor of the the Kaikorai Brass Band. During the First World War, Laidlaw was known for composing several popular songs, including British Boys (1915), with words by R.L. Christie, and When the Boys Come Home, with lyrics by G.A. Wycherley (1916). Bowling, written with lyrics by J.B. Mack, is less well-known. Written around 1912, the Evening Star of 3 August that year advertised it as played by the Kaikorai Brass Band at His Majesty’s Theatre on 7 August. The Evening Post on 7 April 1915, reporting on the death of lyricist J.B. Mack, described the song as having ‘achieved more than an average amount of popularity.’ The audience at our Music Month event participated in what might have been the song’s first public performance in over a century.

Bowling. Words by J.B. Mack; Music by G.B. Laidlaw. The London Piano Company, c. 1912. Hocken Sheet Music Collection.

Maori Battalion Marching Song – words and music by Corporal Anania Amohou

Private Anania Amohou was part of the Maori Battalion during the Second World War. He had been working on a song in his hometown of Rotorua, as part of Te Arawa’s contribution to the Centennial Exhibition, which marked 100 years since the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. The melody was not original, taken from The Washington and Lee Swing, a University football song written in the United States in 1906. However, when Amohou’s lyrics were added, it became a New Zealand anthem, swiftly embraced by the Battalion as their own song. Published by Charles Begg and Co. in 1940, it became extremely popular, and was performed widely. On 6 November 1940, The Press reported on the song’s popularity, waxing lyrical that:

‘to have one song sung by the British Broadcasting Corporation, and by tens of thousands of people in all parts of the British Empire, emphasises a sensational “hit”, but to achieve this distinction before the song… was published is indeed one of the sensational experiences of the Music World… from one end of this country to the other, Maori Battalion Marching Song is being sung.’

Maori Battalion Marching Song. A. Amohou. Charles Begg and Company, 1940. Hocken Sheet Music Collection.

Flower of the Bush – words and music by David S. Sharp

Flower of the Bush was dedicated to Dale Austen, star of the 1928 film The Bush Cinderella, and the second Miss New Zealand. Advertised on the cover of the music sheet as a ‘N.Z. picture and a N.Z. song’, Flower of the Bush was inspired by the film, and performed at the Strand Theatre in Dunedin by the Strand Orchestra ,with arrangement by L.D. Austin. Dunedin composer David S. Sharp (or Daniel. S. Sharp as he is called here) was a prolific songwriter, with titles including Tawhaki, The Prisoner’s Return, The Fairy Tale Parade, Caring for the Rose, and Surging Seas (among others).

Flower of the Bush. Daniel. S. Sharp. [publisher unknown] c. 1928. Hocken Sheet Music Collection.

karekare Anaarranged by Paraire Tomoana; Pō Atarau (Now is the Hour) – words by Maewa Kaihau, music by Clement Scott

Pōkarekare Ana (originally known as Pōkarekare) and Pō Atarau were both written before the First World War, and both have almost moved into the realm of folk song, due to ‘the ease of which they have travelled, their oral transmission, and the conflicting sources for their composition” (Bourke, 2017, p.187).

Pōkarekare Ana (written c.1912) was attributed to Paraire Tomoana after his death, although he never claimed to have written the song. However, Tomoana and Sir Apirana Ngata did publish the lyrics in 1921, saying the song had originated in North of Auckland, becoming popular in the Devonport Narrow Neck Military Camp, before travelling to the East Cape (Bourke, 2017, p.187). Pōkarekare was often referred to as a ‘Maori Love Song’, and a favourite of entertainer Bathie Stuart, who performed it locally in 1918, with The Colonist (11 June 1919) reporting that she sung it ‘with characteristic expression.’  The song became popular again in the 1920s, with arrangements by Alfred Hill (illustrated below) and Hemi Piripata (James Philpott) in 1927, and again the following year, when Ana Hato recorded the song as part of her performance for the Duke and Duchess of York’s visit to the Tūnohopu Meeting House in Ohinemutu, Rotorua. Ernest McKinlay also recorded the song in Sydney in 1927.

Pokarekare: A Maori Love Song (arr. Alfred Hill). John McIndoe, c.1926. Hocken Sheet Music Collection.

Pō Atarau (Now Is the Hour) has a similarly unclear history. Thought to have been written sometime around 1913, the melody was adjusted from an Australian instrumental called Swiss Cradle Song by Clement Scott, with lyrics (in Māori) added around 1915 and centred on a farewell theme (Bourke, 2017, p.188). In 1919, songwriter Maewa Kaihau also used Scott’s melody for her song Haere Ra (Goodbye) Waltz Song, which had a verse that began with the lyric ‘this is the hour’, and by 1935 the song was a well-known last waltz at farewells. It was frequently heard when soldiers were departing for the Second World War, and was a popular chorus during concerts in the 1930s and 1940s. The Evening Post for 11 May 1938 has Pō Atarau listed as part of the finale of the Ngati Poneke Maori Concert at the Wellington Town Hall. The song became internationally famous in 1947, when Gracie Fields recorded it under the title Now is the Hour, and again the following year when Bing Crosby recorded it, sending the song to the top of the American music charts. Below is the inner label from the Rotorua Maori Choir’s version of the song, recorded in 1930.

Po Atarau. Rotorua Maori Choir. Columbia Records, 1930. Hocken Sound Recordings Collection.

These, and other treasures of the Hocken sheet music collection, are available to view on request, as are any recordings of these songs in Hocken’s recorded music collections. Please enquire at the reference desk, or contact the Curator, Music and AV for any further information on these collections.

References.

Bourke, C. Goodbye Maoriland: The songs and sounds of New Zealand’s Great War. Auckland: Auckland University Press, 2017.
[Unknown author]. (11 June 1919). “Empire Theatre.” The Colonist. Retrieved from https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz.
[Unknown author].  (11 May 1938). “Current Entertainments.” The Evening Post. Retrieved from https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz.
[Unknown author]. (6 November 1940). The Press. Retrieved from https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz.
[Unknown author]. (3 August 1912). The Evening Star. Retrieved from https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz.

Out of the box: the Blackie family collection

Thursday, January 11th, 2018 | Hocken Collections | 7 Comments

Post researched and written by Ali Clarke, Hocken Collections Assistant

An undated photograph of the Blackie family farmhouse near Kaitangata. The farm was named Pendreich. MS-4443/149.

In the Blackie family farmhouse, beside the Matau branch of the Clutha River, near Kaitangata, was a large table. Into a drawer in that table went all sorts of pieces of paper, from tickets and receipts to letters and notebooks. Over more than a century and three generations, the oldest items were pushed to the back of the drawer as new items were added; a collection of fascinating items detailing the life of the farm, the family and the district accumulated.

Those papers form one part of a wonderful collection of Blackie family papers and photographs, donated to the Hocken by Judith Robinson over the past few years. We have recently completed full arrangement and description of the collection, which is now listed on our online catalogue, Hākena (reference ARC-0329).

The Blackie family, originally from Dundee, began its connection with Otago in 1848, when James Blackie arrived in Dunedin on the ‘Philip Laing’ as first school master of the Otago Free Church colony. He started a school in Dunedin, but became ill with tuberculosis; he went to Sydney late in 1850 and died there early in 1851. He had bought land for a farm near Kaitangata and, after various legal complications, his brother Davidson Blackie, plus wife Margaret Pandrich and four children, migrated to take up the land, arriving at Kaitangata in 1860. Three generations of Blackies ran the farm, while some family members branched out. Davidson Blackie’s son James was an early student of the University of Otago and the first graduate of the local Theological Hall – he served as a Presbyterian minister in Cromwell and Lumsden and large surrounding districts until his early death. His widow, Jeanetta Blackie, was first principal of the Presbyterian Women’s Training Institute (later known as Deaconess College), and one of his daughters, Agnes Blackie, was a long-serving physics lecturer at the university. Davidson’s son Alexander worked on the family farm, talking a couple of years off in the late 1870s for an extensive world tour. Alexander’s daughter Nell was a physical education teacher and inspector, while his daughter Rhoda completed a home science degree and had a long career at Southland Technical College. Nell and Rhoda both retired back to the farm, where they lived with their brother Davidson and sister Pansie. Another part of the family was in North Otago. Margaret Blackie (Rev. James and Alexander’s sister) married William Dewar; they farmed near Maheno and had a large family. Two of their sons, Alexander and Davidson, were killed in World War I.

The collection is wonderfully rich and it is only possible to highlight a few of its treasures here. There are many letters between family members and friends in New Zealand and Scotland, and also cousins in the USA, describing life in those places. There is an unusually full set of papers relating to Davidson and Margaret Blackie and children’s migration from Dundee to Otago, including their tickets, and some older items they brought with them (music, old family ledgers, school books). There are many accounts and receipts for farms and households. The papers of individual family members vary according to their work and interests. Among the items relating to the University of Otago are Rev. James Blackie’s 1870s student notebooks, Rhoda Blackie’s 1910s home science essays and Agnes Blackie’s reminiscences of her life as a student and then lecturer of physics from the 1910s to the 1950s. There are many items relating to World War I, including letters from various family members and friends on active service. A large collection of photographs ranges from 1840s and 1850s daguerreotypes to twentieth century studio portraits and informal snapshots.

We are very grateful to Judith Robinson, whose late husband Keith Robinson was a grandson of Rev. James and Jeanetta Blackie, for the donation of this collection.

Among the oldest items in the collection are these three manuscript books of music. One is named Alex Laing; there are dates in the 1810s next to some tunes. They include many traditional Scottish tunes – below is a close-up of another page from the one named Alex Laing. At first we wondered if they were for the bagpipes, but now suspect they may be for the violin. We welcome any further thoughts on that! MS-4456/180.

A receipt for two heifers, purchased by James Blackie in Dunedin in 1849, and another for two cows, a calf and a chestnut mare, which John Salmond was to take charge of for Blackie the following year. The ailing Blackie travelled to Sydney, but died there a few months later. MS-4456/126.

This is one of several letters written by Rev. Thomas Burns, religious leader of the Otago colony, to the Blackie family in Scotland about the estate of James Blackie. There is also a power of attorney for Burns to manage the estate. MS-4456/125.

A ticket for the Blackie family’s voyage from Liverpool to Auckland in 1859. They travelled from Dundee to Glasgow by train, then by steamer to Liverpool, on the ‘Shooting Star’ to Auckland, then by coastal ship to Dunedin. MS-4456/184.

During his trip to Australia, North America, Asia and Europe in 1878-1879, Alexander Blackie kept a journal. This page shows his impressions of Gallipoli: ‘This is not a large place by any means but from the amount of interest & remarks made about it both during the Crimean & Turko Russian War it is evidently a place of considerable Importance Possibly from its situation on the straits & the difficulty of forcing a passage it it once was in the hands of Russia’. MS-4456/111.

The first page of James Blackie’s notebook for zoology lectures at the University of Otago in 1879. MS-4465/006.

Some receipts relating to Rev. James Blackie’s death and funeral, 1897. He had travelled to Dunedin for medical treatment. MS-4443/082.

While there are many World War I letters in the collection, this is something rarer: letters from the South African War. James McDonald was a ploughman for the Blackies. He headed to war as a bugler with New Zealand’s 5th contingent to South Africa, writing home to his employer, Alexander Blackie. MS-4456/074.

Davidson Blackie was one of several family members to serve in World War I – these are his identification tags. He was ‘a reluctant soldier’, noted Judith Robinson; ‘When we cleared out the house in 1982/3 after cousin Rhoda died, we found his army pack, just as he left it on returning home – dirty sox, half used (cake) toothpaste etc., programmes for shipboard concerts etc’. MS-4462/047.

Perhaps the oldest photograph in the collection is this daguerrotype, dating from around the 1840s or 1850s. It is thought to be of Alexander Blackie (1788-1874), father of James and Davidson Blackie, and his second wife, Mary Henderson. MS-4443/217.

Another 1840s-1850s daguerrotype, of an unidentified man, has a beautiful case. MS-4443/212.

Agnes Blackie with her first car, ‘Matilda’, purchased in 1930. MS-4443/126.

Lel, Father Christmas, and ‘The Sun’s Babies’

Tuesday, December 19th, 2017 | Hocken Collections | 2 Comments

Post researched and written by David Murray, Archivist

One of the cutest Christmas messages in the Hocken Collections is found on a postcard in the papers of Dunedin poet and editor Charles Brasch.

The front of the postcard shows the picturesque St John’s Anglican Church, Waikouaiti. The message on the reverse reads:

Mr Father Christmas
D.I.C.
Dunedin.

Dec 3rd

Dear Farther Christmas.
please will you give me these things
the “Suns Babys” and a doll.
love from Lesley Brasch
adress is 99 London St.
Dunedin

Lesley Brasch, known in her family as ‘Lel’, was Charles’s younger sister. Their father was the lawyer Hyam Brasch, and their mother Helene (née Fels) was related to the Hallensteins, a prominent Jewish family associated with the New Zealand Clothing Company and other businesses.

Born in 1911, Lel lived with her parents and brother at ‘Bankton’. Originally the home of Rev. Thomas Burns, and later of Sir Robert Stout, its address was 99 London Street when the postcard was used. The property was later subdivided and other houses have since been built in front of it. Its address is now 4 Stoutgate.

Lesley with her brother Charles at ‘Manono’, London Street, the property of their grandparents, Willi and Sara Fels. Bankton was a little further up the street, on the opposite side. E.A. Phillips photographer. Ref: Hocken Collections MS-0996-012/100.

We don’t know what year Lel wrote her request, but it was when she was a little girl in the 1910s.  She addressed it to Father Christmas at the D.I.C., or to give it its complete mouthful of a name, the Drapery and General Importing Company of New Zealand Limited. Her own great-grandfather, Bendix Hallenstein, established the business some thirty years or so before.

The Dunedin department store was a logical place to send a message to the jolly red-suited man. From 1902 children could visit him every afternoon before Christmas, and in the 1910s the company advertised: ‘Father Christmas is at Home at the D.I.C.’. In 1917, the store advertised ’20 big busy departments full of Xmas gifts’, and a Toyland for Children. It invited parents to bring their children to see Father Christmas in his quaint old chimney corner. Admission was sixpence and children were given a present. Seventy years later children still visited the D.I.C. to see Santa. Its later attractions included Pixie Town, now on display at Toitū Otago Settlers Museum. The D.I.C.’s Dunedin store closed in 1991, after the company was taken over by Arthur Barnett.

Advertisement from the Otago Daily Times, 15 December 1917 p.2. Papers Past, National Library of New Zealand: https://goo.gl/nCBBvo.

Lel asked Father Christmas for a popular and particularly beautiful children’s book, The Sun’s Babies by Edith Howes. Even at a young age the Braschs were supporting New Zealand writers! Born in London in 1872, Howes came to New Zealand with her family when still an infant, and became known as a teacher, writer, and educationalist. She lived in a variety of places around the country, including Ashburton, Wanganui, Makarewa, Gore, Wellington, and Christchurch. In later life she lived in Dunedin, where she died in 1954.

The Sun’s Babies, published in 1910, is set in a mythical fairy world. It includes stories and poems about plants, animals and fairies in the different seasons of the year, incorporating life lessons. The first of Howes’s children’s books, it met with both critical acclaim and popular success. Hocken holds three editions of the book, including Cassell & Co’s original 1910 edition and the 1913 edition shown here. The illustrations are by the English artist Frank Watkins (1863-1929).

Howes, Edith. The Sun’s Babies. London: Cassell and Company, 1913. Hocken Publications, Bliss YO How.s.

Illustration by Frank Watkins from The Sun’s Babies. The caption reads: ‘When she saw Tinyboy she hid her face shyly in her curls’.

Did Lesley get her book and doll? We don’t know but like to think so. Perhaps the answer awaits discovery in the Brasch papers,

There are thousands of postcards in the papers and they are less studied than many other parts of the collection. This particular card can be found in the item: ‘Envelope labelled “Loose postcards” including postcards from family and de Beer, Fels, Hallenstein and Brasch families’ (Charles Brasch papers, Hocken Archives, Uare Taoka o Hākena, MS-0996-012/521).

Merry Christmas from the Hocken Collections.

 

‘You guys play like a punk band’: The Graeme Downes collection of live Verlaines performances

Tuesday, November 28th, 2017 | Hocken Collections | 2 Comments

Post researched and written by Amanda Mills, Curator Music and Audiovisual Collections

The Verlaines have been a keystone band in the Dunedin music scene since their inception in 1980, and fully-fledged beginnings in 1981, when they were found regularly playing gigs in Dunedin’s Empire Tavern’s third floor concert venue. The band has undergone a number of lineup changes over nearly four decades, but the members pivot around songwriter and vocalist/guitarist Dr Graeme Downes, who has been the constant band member since the beginning. The first 15 years of The Verlaines in particular was a productive time for the band, when their sound was developing, and they released some of their most well-known recordings: the songs Death and the Maiden, Crisis after Crisis, and Pyromaniac and albums ‘Hallelujah all the way home’, ‘Bird Dog’, ‘Some Disenchanted Evening’, and ‘Ready to Fly’.

This particularly fertile time is documented in a collection of 33 performances on cassette tapes that Graeme Downes has deposited with Hocken’s music collections. The performances date back to 1981 with a cassette titled ‘Live at Duke Street’ and continue throughout the 1980s, capturing the band in the first decade of their career in exotic locales such as CBGB’s Nightclub in New York, and (arguably) less glamorous settings like Wagga Wagga in New South Wales. This collection of performances documents the band as they develop as performers, and Downes, as he develops as a vocalist and songwriter, imbuing his songs with increasingly sophisticated and complex structures and ‘musical tricks’ – no doubt reflecting his own study in classical music at the University of Otago. The live performances also capture the changing line-ups of The Verlaines, whose sound modifies slightly with each iteration of the band. The earliest cassettes document the initial line-ups (possibly with Downes, Anita Pillai on keys, Craig Easton on guitars and vocals, Philip Higham on bass, and either Paul Baird, Tim James, or Greg Cairns on drums). The band give it their all, and finding their way around Downes’ material which includes later Verlaines classics such as Slow Sad Love Song (the first song Downes ever wrote in 1980 as a response to a friend’s passing), and a faithful cover of Velvet Underground’s Femme Fatale – one of the interesting oddities on the 1981 ‘Rehersals’ tape. By 1985-7, the line-up is one of the most well-known (Downes, Jane Dodd on bass, and Robbie Yeats on drums), and they have just released ‘Hallelujah all the way home’, and ‘Bird Dog’ to excellent press. They are hitting their stride in the live setting, and it shows.

 The Verlaines, It was Raining. Live at The Playroom, Christchurch, May 1987.

 

There are many highlights in this collection. One favourite performance is the band’s spirited take of Pyromaniac at Reckless Records in Chicago (date not recorded, but likely in the early 1990s). There is a punkish spontaneity to this entire show, and Downes’ vocals are spot-on, as is the band’s performance.) Another is possibly the only recorded instance of Graeme Downes performing with Straitjacket Fits, singing She Speeds at Chippendale House in July 1987 (Shayne Carter returns the favour by performing  The Verlaines’ You Cheat Yourself of Everything that Moves) before the Verlaines set for the evening. This is a particularly emotive performance, as it was Downes’ wedding reception! Yet another highlight is a Christmas 1990 show at the Savoy in Dunedin, where the show ends with a dynamic version of Lying in State, which was a popular show closer for the band. By this time the line-up had changed again: Jane Dodd and Robbie Yeats had departed, with replacements Steve Cournane (drums), and Mike Stoodley (bass) taking over their roles in the band – bringing a slightly different feel to the music. The collection stops around 1993, at a point when The Verlaines (now Downes, Darren Steadman on drums, Paul Winders on guitar and backing vocals, and Mike Stoodley on bass) are no longer with Flying Nun, but have signed to Slash Records, an LA-based independent record label. One of the later recordings of the band is an interview with KALX Radio in Berkeley (part of the University of California), where they discuss their (then) new album, ‘Way out Where’, and the band’s history so far. The interviewer discusses Downes’ songwriting, and compares his writing style to Cole Porter or George Gershwin, while stating that The Verlaines ‘play like a punk band most of the time,’ a statement that still applies to the band today.

The physical cassettes are still in good condition for items of between 30 and 40 years old, although the materials are ageing. They are kept in a temperature-controlled vault at Hocken Collections to mitigate any potential issues with magnetic formats (such as sticky shed syndrome). All of these recordings have been digitised to WAV files for access, as the age and fragility of the cassette tapes means further playback could damage them. For any access to this content, please contact the Music and Audiovisual Curator at Hocken Collections for further information.

 
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.