Vogue New Zealand: A Decade of Home-Grown Glamour

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

Blog post prepared by Kate Hyland, Library Assistant

The Hocken’s periodicals collection is home to a range of fashion-related material. Perhaps one of the most glamorous titles we hold is Vogue New Zealand – our nation’s very own edition of the famous title published from 1957 to 1968. Though New Zealand’s Vogue was short-lived, the magazine is a valuable resource for today’s readers: the preserved copies represent an important decade in New Zealand’s fashion history.

Vogue New Zealand began as an offshoot for British Vogue. Edited from the U.K., the early issues spoke of patriotism for England: New Zealand readers were encouraged to sew with British materials, and New Zealand garments were flown out of the country to be photographed in ‘proper’ English settings. Early features were mostly international and, besides advertising, there was little to indicate that the publication was intended for an antipodean audience. One exception is found in the magazine’s fashion advice, where suggestions were made about where Vogue clothing could be worn in New Zealand. The following extract details appropriate places to sport “cotton sailcloth” items by Voyageur:

 “Bottom right: More white, per leg-pocket shorts and tying shirt, brighter beneath a red beach blazer. Three sun-active parts, for Queenstown or perhaps Waitemata Harbour this summer…” (1959:Summer, page 57).

Image 12

Vogue New Zealand cover, 1959 : Summer, and “Sun Dash” Vogageur items pictured bottom right, (1959 : Summer, page 57).

The magazine’s British accent did not silence its developing New Zealand voice however. By 1960, production of the magazine had moved from England to Australia with editor Sheila Scotter appointed to oversee Vogue New Zealand and Vogue Australia. These developments – including the coming of local editorial talent such as Michal McKay – saw the magazine’s distinctive New Zealand style begin to flourish. New Zealand photographers, fashionable New Zealand homes, elegant New Zealand women and, of course, New Zealand designers were brought to the fore. In true Kiwi style, country living and woollen garments became a heavy focus for the magazine.

Image 13

“Evening Looks on Elegant New Zealanders”. v.10 : no 2 (1966 : Winter, page 40) and “Wool Elegance” – advertisement for the New Zealand Wool Board. v.12 : no.2 (1968 : Winter, page 31).

Vogue New Zealand positioned our nation as one in-touch with global trends and capable of producing high fashion garments. New Zealand designers, like Bruce Papos, or El Jay, were celebrated by the publication, inspiring confidence in local design. The local industry also benefitted from the magazine’s showcasing of the latest in European fashion. For example, the repeated feature “What goes on in other Vogues” informed readers of the styles trending in global fashion centres such as Paris or Italy. In another feature, readers were encouraged to write to the magazine and request Vogue sewing patterns. Access to these designs was not exclusive; the professional and the non-professional alike had the means to create some of the most fashionable clothes of the era.

Image 14

Bruce Papos advertisement (1958 : Autumn/Winter, page 5). Patterns for these garments were available on request. v.11 : no.3 (1967 : Summer, page 83). “What goes on in other Vogues: Italy”. v.11 : no.2 (1967 : Winter, page 83).

Trending fashions were not stagnant during the magazine’s run, of course. Fashion, as we know, is subject to change, and the magazine documents some of the era’s major changes in style. For example, looks from the late fifties vary greatly to those of the sixties. Scanning the issues today, we can see that a traditional and lady-like aesthetic prevails in the fifties; however a youthful and rebellious style emerges in the sixties. This step away from tradition is echoed in Vogue New Zealand’s “Breakaways” feature from 1966, which reads:

“Who are the Breakaways? They are the girls who bolted the pack: stepped out of the mould – then smashed it to smithereens. They are the Look of today, of this generation”. (1966:Spring, page 51).

Image 15

A traditional look from the fifties (1958 : Autumn/Winter, page 52). “The Breakaways” feature shows a distinct change in style. v.10 : no.3 (1966 : Spring, page 57). Colour image from “The Breakaways” v.10 : no.3 (1966 : Spring, page 56).

Vogue New Zealand’s decade-long run was an important time in the history of New Zealand fashion. The magazine supported New Zealand’s developing fashion industry and connected Kiwi’s with the world of couture culture. Today, the preserved copies offer a fascinating record of this time and the changing fashions within it. Like many treasures at the Hocken, Vogue New Zealand offers us a glimpse into the past and tells us a story that is unique to New Zealand’s history. We encourage those who are interested by this magazine (or related material) to visit the library and view the items first-hand. Donations from the public are also welcomed; we are always looking for material that will enrich Dr. Hocken’s ever-growing collection.

Image 11

The Hocken’s collection of Vogue New Zealand to date.


Hill, M. (2011) New Zealand in Vogue. New Zealand Journal Of History [Online] 45 (2), 274-275. Available from: MasterFILE Complete, EBSCOhost [Accessed 28th October 2015].

Sun Dash. (1959:Summer) Vogue New Zealand, 57.

Te Papa: Museum of New Zealand. (2011) New Zealand in Vogue [Online] Available from: http://www.tepapa.govt.nz/WhatsOn/exhibitions/Pages/NZinVogue.aspx. [Accessed 28th October 2015].

The Breakaways. (1966:Spring) Vogue New Zealand 10 (3), 51.

Vogue Australia. (2011)  A decade of Vogue New Zealand. [Online] Available from: http://www.vogue.com.au/culture/whats+on/a+decade+of+vogue+new+zealand,12965.

[Accessed 29th Oct 2015].


Enquire Within

Thursday, October 29th, 2015 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

Post researched and written by Megan Vaughan, Library Assistant – Publications


Huia butter

Huia butter advertisement (edition 3, p.5)

Addressed to the householder these booklets were distributed to subscribers in the 1930s and 1940s. The content ranges from household cleaning tips to reading tea leaves.

Hocken holds 12 Dunedin editions from the 30s and 40s, as well as a 1935 Auckland edition and a 1935 Wellington edition.

About half of the content is dedicated to advertising for local businesses such as Hallensteins, and Wolfenden and Russell.


Hallensteins advertisement (inside back cover of 1st edition)

While the booklets themselves are not eye-catching the content offers an interesting, and sometimes amusing, insight into the minutiae of domestic life in 1930s and 40s New Zealand.

Recipes occupy a lot of space. Instructions for cooking asparagus (boil for 20 minutes!) (ed.1, p.14), curried sardines (ed.1, p.10), parsnip and turnip wines (ed.1, p.17), stuffed lettuce (ed.5, p.28), tripe (ed.7, p.8) and rusks (ed.7, p.28) are just a few of the recipes featured.

Cooking hints complement the recipes and include being able to tell the difference between fungi and mushrooms (ed.1, p.6), how to make your jelly set quickly using methylated spirits and a draught (ed.1, p.22), how to improve your coffee with a pinch of mustard (ed.4, p.34), and how to sweeten rancid fat (ed.2, p.26) rather than throwing it away.

RS Black and Son

RS Black & Son advertisement (edition 5, p.73)

Other household hints make heavy use of vinegar, lemon juice, salt and methylated spirits. A recipe for homemade floor polish finds a use for broken gramophone records (ed.4, p.36). Eggshells thrown into the copper made clothes very white (ed.2, p.22) and rusty ovens were clearly an issue as the solution of leaving the oven door open after use was repeated in many editions (e.g. ed.12, p.28).

Health remedies include tips such as placing a scraped potato on scalds (ed.1, p.26), using sage tea for a sore throat (ed.1, p.28), smoking blue gum leaves several times a day for asthma (ed.1, p.30), and shaving warts until they bleed before applying lunar caustic (silver nitrate) (ed.1, p.30). Billiousness was treated by drinking salty water and “nerves” were improved by numerous glasses of cold water and getting out of bed earlier (and a better attitude is implied!) (all in ed.1). It was recommended invalids be protected from visitors (e.g. ed.1, p.26).

Beauty tips included “cures” for numerous complaints ranging from scurf (aka dandruff: cured with kerosene, ed.3, p.48), dry skin, and baldness, to freckles (ed.1, p.32). Much of this content was repeated without variation throughout editions.


United Cash Orders

United Cash Orders advertisement (back cover of 5th edition)

Etiquette for occasions such as visiting, dining out and weddings is described in great detail. The dense lists for these sections contain some conventions still familiar today such as not reaching across your neighbour at the dinner table or spitting out bits of bone onto your plate (ed.2, p.4-6). Declining a dish at a meal was acceptable, but offering a reason was not (ed.2, p.4-6). Carrying a stick into someone’s drawing room was within the realm of good manners, but wielding an umbrella or wearing an overcoat was considered impolite (ed.2, p.4-6).

Conversation brought a whole raft of dos and don’ts: the familiar rules against interrupting and whispering are listed along with the recommendation you don’t talk about yourself or your maladies, or afflictions  (ed.2, p.4-6). It was advised when telling jokes to laugh afterwards, and not before! (ed.1, p.25).

Wolfenden and Russell

Wolfenden & Russell (edition 5, p.11)

Fortune telling appears to have been popular with many editions containing hints on reading tea leaves (e.g. ed.2, p56), and large sections of many booklets were dedicated to interpreting dreams (e.g. ed.1, p.54-62). One booklet includes a section that explains mole position and your resulting fortune: for e.g. a mole on the nose means success in everything, but on the left knee indicates an indolent, thoughtless and indifferent person (ed.2, p.58).

Enquire within also offers tips for motorists, hints for fixing common radio problem, advice for gardeners, meanings of a select few given names, and guidance on the care of animals.



Recent purchases for the Ephemera Collection

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015 | David Murray | No Comments

Post by Katherine Milburn, Liaison Librarian – Ephemera

Staff at the Hocken are constantly on the search for new material to add to the collections. We rely on the generosity of donors and greatly value the contributions they make. Some other avenues used to hunt down relevant items include searching second hand stores, bidding at local and national auction houses and via online auction sites such as Trade Me and eBay. We are grateful to all those who alert us to material that may be of possible interest.

Purposeful collecting of ephemera began in the mid-1960s and although there are some older items in the collection, there is much earlier material that we would love to be able to add. The ephemera collection includes a wide variety of printed items from programmes, tickets, menus, leaflets, to posters and packaging. The collection focuses particularly on Otago and Southland material but does include items with a national scope too.


Here are pictured some items for local businesses, some of which are now defunct, that were recently found and purchased via Trade Me. They include a Huia Cream cap (the Hocken Collections occupy the former Otago Co-operative Dairy Company Limited building where Huia products were manufactured); a Manda Ice cream sticker (a company that was founded in Invercargill); a box for F. Wilkinson’s Emulsion of Cod Liver Oil (a chemist in Caversham, Dunedin); a hat box for D.I.C. (the Drapery and General Importing Company of New Zealand Ltd was established in Dunedin in 1884); and a Coulls Somerville Wilkie Ltd packaging sample book that features wonderful examples of packaging for a variety of local firms such as Hudsons and D.W. Johnston & Sons Ltd and is dated from c.1950s. Other recent purchases include a small sheet of stickers featuring the iconic brand for the New Zealand Apple and Pear Marketing Board, and a striking poster for the 1975 Labour Party election campaign.

All of these items reflect aspects of New Zealand society and culture at the time they were manufactured and used; they are now valuable resource material that is available to all Hocken researchers.

The Dunedin Sound?

Thursday, August 20th, 2015 | Anna Blackman | 8 Comments

Post by Amanda Mills, Liaison Librarian – Music and Audio-Visual

Dunedin Sound cabinet 2

The Dunedin Sound is a phrase used widely to describe a particular sound in independent music (most often on the Flying Nun label) that emerged from Dunedin in the 1980s. Currently, there are a number of people who claim ownership of the phrase ‘Dunedin Sound’, but it is commonly attributed to The Clean’s guitarist, David Kilgour, who uttered it in an interview. The phrase is contentious: many people deny there was ever such a thing as the ‘Dunedin Sound’, while others are adamant it existed. However, it is a convenient term to use when describing local bands from that era, in particular The Chills, The Clean, The Verlaines, The Bats, Look Blue Go Purple, and Sneaky Feelings – all bands that used (to a greater or lesser degree) an underlying  drone, or a jangly guitar in their sound. Dr. Graeme Downes (guitarist, vocalist and songwriter with The Verlaines) argues that there is a ‘Dunedin Sound’, found in the songs themselves, within structural and compositional commonalities. Other factors fit too: isolation, the weather, and finding that their diverse inspirations all filtered through a similar mindset. The right time, and, crucially, the right place.

It has been argued the ‘Dunedin Sound’ began with The Clean’s Boodle Boodle Boodle EP (which was very popular, selling over 10,000 copies, and attaining the no. 4 place in the charts), and then continued with The Chills, the Stones, The Verlaines, and Sneaky Feelings (a.k.a The Dunedin Double), which is still a benchmark for local independent music – compilations such as Wellington’s Four Stars, and last year’s Fishrider Records compilation Temporary were heavily compared to it.

Dunedin Sound posters

The Hocken’s collections are rich in material from this music sub-genre, spread throughout our different collections – Posters and Ephemera include treasures such as one-off gig posters, such as these by the Magick Heads and Look Blue Go Purple, and invites to parties where the bands played; Garage, Hahaha, and Kahoutek zines all feature in-depth interviews with the musicians. Within the archives, a copy of Martin Phillipps’ recent oral history with Helen Frizzell resides, and the Xpressway papers are a mine of information about releases and careers of local musicians signed to the label (many formerly on Flying Nun). The accompanying Xpressway cassette collection was transferred to the published music collections, and these tapes include rare, and early, live recordings of bands and solo artists. There is research too – theses by Craig Robertson and Sian O’Gorman provide information on the bands and the music, as well as the creative scenes surrounding the musicians. Our publications hold books on New Zealand music that include the local scenes and profile the artists, and our music clippings files cover not only ‘Dunedin Sound’ bands and artists, but also the wider Dunedin music scenes and genres. The recorded music collection is richest in terms of the core of the ’Dunedin Sound’ – the actual recordings. We hold some of the hardest-to-find music releases because we collected them at the time of release, and, thus, have a collection deep in content. While not 100% comprehensive, original recordings and reissues are constantly being added to the collection – many new items purchased recently have been reissues. In addition, as part of the Audioculture function held at here on May 14th this year, we were generously gifted the original design for the initial Flying Nun logo (a one-eyed cherub holding an LP), a significant addition.

Dunedin Sound cabinet


Music is subjective: here are my 10 favourite ‘Dunedin Sound’ recordings in the Hocken’s music collections, between 1981 and 1996. How many of these do you know?

  • ‘The Dunedin Double’ EP (The Chills, The Verlaines, The Stones, Sneaky Feelings)
  • ‘Boodle Boodle Boodle’ EP (The Clean)
  • ‘Life in One Chord’ EP (Straitjacket Fits)
  • ‘Death and the Maiden’ single (The Verlaines)
  • ‘Pink Frost’ single (The Chills)
  • ‘Outer Space single’ (The 3Ds)
  • ‘Bewitched’ EP (Look Blue Go Purple)
  • ‘Snapper’ EP (Snapper)
  • ‘Randolph’s Going Home’ single (Shayne Carter and Peter Jeffries)
  • ‘A Timeless Piece’ EP (The Rip)

Finally, it’s worth bearing in mind that many of these bands and artists are still making records:  new Chills and Verlaines’ albums are coming, Shayne Carter has a new solo album out this year, and The Clean and The Bats have toured locally and internationally recently.



Wednesday, August 12th, 2015 | Anna Blackman | No Comments


Dr Anne Marie Jackson (Ngāti Whatua,  Te Roroa, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Wai, Ngāti Kahu) Lecturer – Te Kura Parawhakawai, the School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences)

Jeanette Wikaira (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Pukenga, Ngāti Tamatera – Te Uare Taoka o Hakena, Hocken Collections.


Every year for Te Wiki o te Reo Māori the Hocken develops a Foyer Exhibition to promote Māori collections, Māori research and Māori language. In 2015 Jeanette Wikaira and Dr Anne Marie Jackson from Te Kura Parawhakawai, the School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences, worked with the Hocken’s poster collection to develop Te Reo o te Hauora – Te Hauora o te Reo. This small exhibition examined Māori Health Promotion posters to plot the development of Hauora Māori, looking at the wider socio-political context from which Māori health promotion grew, from the 1950s through to more recent Māori health promotional campaigns. The display also considers how the development of Maori Health corresponds with the health of the Māori language through the increasing use to Te Reo Māori within health promotional material. From this collaboration, an online exhibition will also be developed with Te Koronga, a Māori postgraduate research excellence group within the School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences.  The Hocken has digitised a collection of Māori Health Promotion posters for this project ranging from the 1950s through to the 2000s; some of which came from the University of Otago’s Smithells Gymnasium and were donated to the Hocken from the School of Physical Education.

Te Reo o te Hauora – Te Hauora o te Reo is up until August 28th.












Historically health promotion for Māori applied generic health promotion campaigns to Māori individuals and communities. The health promotion objectives seen in the posters from the 1950s, was to promote European notions of ‘good’ health to Māori such as cleanliness and sanitation and framed within a deeply entrenched view that Māori needed to assimilate into European society in order to survive. A commonly held perception from the mid-nineteenth century through to the early twentieth century was that the Māori people, language and culture would be incapable of withstanding the progress of Western civilisation and colonisation.



Resistance and activism increasingly became strategic approaches of Māori development throughout the 1960s and 1970s. After the 1970 Young Māori Leaders Conference held at Auckland University, the first truly radical group, Ngā Tamatoa, took the issues of Māori rights into the public arena and protest action headlined across New Zealand with the Land March of 1975; the occupation of Bastion Point in 1977 and the 1978 occupation of the Raglan Golf Course. Māori activism also created proactive community projects such as a nation-wide petition for the recognition of Māori language in the education system. The petition contained 30,000 signatures seeking support for Māori language to be taught in schools. The argument over the value associated with Māori language use in a modern world was at the heart of the debate and bilingual schools and community initiated language approaches such as Te Ataarangi and Te Kohanga Reo developed in this period.NaTeMahiKaiPaipa




KoTatouSelf-determination ran at the core of Māori protest in the 1960s and 1970s. This protest acted as stimulus for change and the creation of ideological space for contemporary Māori development. The decade of Māori development launched at the 1984 Hui Taumata heralded major transformations in approaches to Māori social, cultural and economic advancement. As part of the transformative process, a Māori developmental agenda was incorporated into government strategies and policies and this can be seen in the Māori health promotional material over this period. Māori health promotional material transformed radically throughout the 1980s and 1990s in comparison with previous decades.  The use of Robyn Kahukiwa’s art was instrumental in creating a visual imagery of Hauora Māori that situated Māori in the Māori world. With this new imagery and a heightened use of Te Reo Māori in the form of whakatauaki or traditional sayings, Māori health messages at this time, many of which had an anti-smoking message, were reframed from a deficit approach to a more positive and aspirational approach referring to Māori health as a taonga to be nurtured.




Hauora Māori recognises a notion of health that is framed within the parameters of a Māori worldview and requires a sound understanding of the social, economic, political, cultural and historical determinants of health among Māori people. A Māori worldview is the cultural and philosophical perspective of Māori health that maintains continuity with traditional knowledge, identity, language, customs and beliefs, along with contemporary and future focussed perspectives. In this way, Māori health is not limited to physical, mental and spiritual conditions of today. It recognises the relationship with past experience and knowledge, as well as aspirations and concerns for future generations. Māori health promotional material from the 21st Century moves some way towards reflecting Hauora Māori, in particular with the use of Te Reo Māori and the portrayal of Māori in everyday contexts. However with changes in Government funding priorities and the development of iwi Māori ability to provide Hauora services and messages directly to their communities, Māori health posters over recent years, when compared to previous decades, have taken on a mainstream approach to Māori Health promotion.





The Lost Boot

Friday, July 17th, 2015 | Anna Blackman | 2 Comments

Blog Post prepared by Archivist David Murray.


The Union Steamship Company steamer, Maori (Hocken Archives MS-1046/419)

In the winter of 1908, a curious complaint was sent to the Union  Steam Ship Company. It concerned a lost boot …


27th July 1908

C. Holdsworth Esq.
General Manager
Union S.S.Co. Dunedin

Dear Sir,

The U.S.S.Co is noted for the care of and Courtesy extended to its Passengers. These pleasing qualities I am able to amplify from personal experience on many occasions, BUT, “The best laid schemes of mice and men gang aft agley”.

On the night of the 13th inst I boarded the S.S. ‘Maori’ en route to Lyttelton, “clothed and in my right mind”.

I retired (as sole occupant) to Cabin 34, and in due course sought oblivion in sleep, previously having disrobed, even boots and all!!! which boots, as events proved, I had better have kept on.

When the time arrived to dress on the morning of the 14th, only one boot belonging to yours truly could be found on the ship.

Not having a wooden leg, this was inconvenient and necessitated my leaving the boat in slippers.

Now I have never desired to form one of a party to explore Arctic of Antarctic regions, but whilst crossing the white-frosted wharf at Lyttelton to board the train, I felt as though I were going through an involuntary course of drill or training for such a project.

This idea was intensified during the cold railway journey to Dunedin.

I have all my life believed that many Biblical quotations can be aptly applied to incidence in our every day life, I am now more than ever confirmed in this belief – St Matthew 24ch[apter] 40V[erse] “The one shall be taken and the other left”.

Yours truly

JW Dixon

This is not a claim, therefore it suggests a “bootless” matter altogether – JD



The letter was meticulously filed, but disappointingly there’s no sign of a reply from the company. Dixon’s letter was addressed to General Manager Charles Holdsworth, who was on an overseas trip at the time. A newspaper notice in the Evening Post confirms that a Mr Dixon travelled from Wellington on board the Maori.



The writer was apparently Jonathan Dixon (1853-1911), manager of the Denniston Mine on the West Coast. He had an adult son who was also named Jonathan, and it’s possible he was the author, but the handwriting is a good match (though not conclusively) for the signature on Jonathan senior’s will.

According to the Cyclopedia of New Zealand, Jonathan Dixon was born in Durham, England, and educated in Sydney. He was a mine manager in New South Wales and was involved with the restoration of the mine at Stockton following a disaster in 1896. He took similar roles at Dudley, Greta, East Greta, and Burwood. He arrived in New Zealand in 1899 to manage the Millerton Mines (Granity) for the Westport Coal Company. After about two years as mines inspector in New South Wales, he returned to the West Coast to take up his position at the Denniston Mine, again for the Westport Coal Company.


Jonathan Dixon

Dixon, who was married and had seven children, was described as a man who had ‘literary attainments and a taste for poetical composition’. An obituary stated that he was ‘a well-read, brainy man, with a decided literary bent, and would have made his mark in journalism had he abandoned mining’. He was also a strong supporter of educational movements and a staunch advocate of temperance. He died in August 1911 at the age of 58, following an operation for appendicitis.  His illustrated story of the lost boot survives as an example of his wit, and one of the cuter curiosities of the Hocken Collections.



Alphabetical A – E, Inwards Correspondence, Union Steamship Company Records, Hocken Archives AG-292-005-001/104

Photographs of ‘Maori’, Cameron Family Papers, Hocken Archives MS-1046/419

The Cyclopedia of New Zealand, Volume 3. – Canterbury Provincial District  (Christchurch: The Cyclopedia Company, 1903)

Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, 12 August 1911 p.6

The Maitland Daily Mercury, 11 August 1911 p.4

The Dominion, 14 July 1908 p.10


Thanks to the Papers Past and Trove newspaper databases, and to Archives New Zealand Christchurch Regional Office for providing access to Dixon’s will and probate file.


Good things come in small packages…

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

Blog post by Debbie Gale, Arrangement and Description Archivist

I have recently returned to work from a year’s parental leave and while I am very pleased to be back, my mind is still often occupied by all things ‘baby’.

During one of my more recent 4am night feeds, I thought now would be the perfect time to take inspiration from this maternal period in my life to focus on the ‘wee ones’  whose care I am partly responsible for in my professional life.  Those ‘littlies’ in the archives that may be small, but are also perfectly formed.

Our “octavo” sequence of archives is broad in range, and runs to a full 90 linear metres in length.  It includes personal volumes such as diaries, reminiscences, letter books, notebooks and bibles, as well as records of organisations such as minute books and ledgers.  Many of the volumes are in a very fragile state and have preservation copies so that researchers can have access to them, without further harming the original.

Octavo is a book binding term that refers to small volumes which were originally made by folding a full sheet of paper three times to make eight leaves, each leaf being 1/8 the size of the original sheet of paper. In practice such volumes are roughly 8-10 inches in height.


Our octavo archives shelving





However, our diminutive friends are not just to be found within the octavo sequence alone – they will often be found dotted throughout the collections in various guises, from the tiny appointment books of poet, editor and Hocken benefactor Charles Brasch through to the miniature soldier’s diaries that have miraculously survived through rough war conditions.

This blog takes a look into just a few of the more significant of these babies, safely ‘swaddled’ within their phase boxes for maximum care and protection.


Diary of surveyor John Wallis Barnicoat, kept during a voyage from England to New Zealand in the ‘Lord Auckland’, 1841-1842. Misc-MS-1451/001.










The diary includes pen illustrations of the ‘Lord Auckland’, detailed life aboard ship and diagrams of the ship’s accommodation and deck layout. Misc-MS-1451/001.






In March 1844 Barnicoat was employed to assist Frederick Tuckett in selecting a site for the future Otago settlement. This beautifully sketched map shows ‘The route from Molineux [sic] to Otago’. Misc-MS-1451/003.

The corresponding diary entries (written in pencil on the sketch page and partly transcribed below) relate to the purchasing of the Otago Block.

‘S. June 15: …This [sketch] shews to what extent it is proposed to effect purchases from the natives for the purpose of the New Settlement.’

‘Th. June 20: Tuawaike, Karetai & Taiaroa signed a memorandum binding them to sell the whole country from Otago to Molineux as shewn in the sketch…with a single reserve for the sum of £2400.’


This volume of handwritten notes on New Zealand and Otago history and people, is part of the original ‘nucleus’ collection of Dr Hocken, and is dated around 1892. MS-0037.




MS-0037_te kooti name

One of Dr Hocken’s entries on the origin of Rongowhakaata leader, military leader and prophet Te Kooti’s name – a transliteration of Coates, the name he received in baptism.  MS-0037.



MS-0484/001.First volume of reminiscences, began in 1916, of Civil and Mechanical Engineer Edward Roberts (1851-1925). It spans his upbringing on the Bendigo Goldfields of Victoria, his arrival in Dunedin in 1881 and engineering career. There are some excellent ink sketches and an interesting account of the Dunedin and Kaikorai Tram Company in 1894. MS-0484/001.




I will finish with this interestingly titled volume from Rev. James West Stack (1835-1919), the oldest son of missionary James Stack. It consists of handwritten anecdotes and reminiscences drawn from a period of more than forty years, many relating to Stack’s experiences among Maori.  MS-0123.



Hocken : Prince of Collectors

Thursday, June 25th, 2015 | Anna Blackman | No Comments


The Hocken Collections was delighted to host the launch of Dr Donald Jackson Kerr’s latest book, Hocken : Prince of Collectors last night.

Donald is of course a colleague of ours and frequent Hocken visitor. We have followed progress on this project with great interest as Donald has spent many, many hours both here and at other institutions researching Dr Hocken’s collecting activities.

Our heartiest congratulations to Donald on the publication of a wonderful book which adds substantially to our understanding of Dr Hocken and his collections.

For more information on the book see this article in the Otago Bulletin.

Book on Dr Hocken to be launched tonight

Colin McCahon’s Art School report and more

Monday, May 11th, 2015 | Anna Blackman | No Comments


MS-1177/045 – Colin McCahon’s report from his first year at Dunedin’s King Edward Technical College Art School 1937 described him as “one of the most promising students in attendance”!

Blog post prepared by Dr Ali Clarke,  Library Assistant – Reference

The Hocken has the honour of holding a large collection of personal and business papers of one of New Zealand’s greatest painters, Colin McCahon (1919-1987) and his wife Anne McCahon (1915-1993). They donated these papers to us some years ago, but the restriction on access has now expired, meaning researchers who visit the library can delve into this fascinating collection (one restriction does remain – access to personal letters written by people still alive requires their written permission). We’ve just finished repackaging the collection and adding it to our catalogue.

The collection dates back to Colin McCahon’s childhood, indeed earlier, as it includes papers of his mother Ethel McCahon (1888-1973), whose father William Ferrier was also a talented painter and photographer. There is a long sequence of correspondence between Colin and his parents, but most personal letters in the collection are ones received by Colin and Anne from family and friends. There are numerous letters from John and Anna Caselberg, Patricia France, Rodney Kennedy, Doris Lusk, Ron O’Reilly and Toss Woollaston, along with smaller collections (sometimes just one letter) from many other artists and writers.

There are also many ‘business’ letters in the collection. These include letters from galleries, societies and art dealers, together with other papers concerning exhibitions. There are a few papers relating to specific projects, including coloured glass work, the Urewera mural, and murals at the Otago University Library and Founders Theatre, Hamilton. Colin McCahon’s interest in theatre is reflected in items from drama productions he was involved with, including scripts and designs.

One intriguing series is publications owned by Colin McCahon. Among them are art books and various religious texts (some of them annotated). There are also a few reproductions of art works which interested him and clippings of illustrations from magazines.


MS-4251/252 – Colin McCahon’s copy of the Book of Mormon. There are also several marked versions of the Bible in the collection.

You can view the full list of this wonderful collection on our online catalogue Hakena at: http://hakena.otago.ac.nz/scripts/mwimain.dll/144/DESCRIPTION/WEB_DESC_DET_REP/SISN%20211004?sessionsearch]

To see the full list, click on the “View Arrangement” button on the left hand side of the screen.


Travel back to the sixties and seventies with Autonews and Motorman magazines

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

Post prepared by Emma Scott, Library Assistant – Periodicals

We are very lucky at the Hocken Collections to be supported by many individuals that kindly decide to donate their material to us. One such donation that caught our attention last year was a large collection of motoring magazines from the late sixties and seventies. The donation included issues of Motorman, New Zealand Motorman and Autonews. These issues not only filled some gaps in our periodicals collection, they are also delightful to look at.

Motorman Cropped

Motorman: v.16:no.2 (1971:February)


1970 October cropped

 Autonews: v.4:no.6 (1970 October 12)

Autonews and Motorman contain detailed reports of races, rallies and drivers from all over New Zealand as well as overseas racing events which New Zealand drivers participated in.

Having been published in Dunedin, Autonews is an excellent resource for anyone looking at motoring in Otago and Southland from 1968 to 1974 as it covers local racing events as well as national ones.

Motoring enthusiasts will get a kick out of looking at the popular cars featured in both magazines. In 1970 Autonews  featured cars like the: Chevrolet Camaro, the Chrysler Valiant Hardtop Regal 770 V8, the Triumph 2000 Mark Two and the exciting “new” Holden Torana.

New Zealand Motorman’s 1974 issues feature cars like: Datsun 140J’GL’, the “new” Toyota Corona 1600, the Renault 17TL and the Aston Martin Lagonda

Dune buggy cropped

Autonews V.3:no.23 (1970 June 22)

Tired of a car that just gets you from a to b? V.3:no.23 (1970 June 22) of Autonews solves that problem with an article titled “The Case for the Dune Buggy” with the subheading: “what was born as a gimmick in the sixties is the answer to driving boredom in seventies”. The article goes on to describe a gentleman called John Ormrod, a fibreglass specialist who constructed his own dune buggy prototype from a wrecked Volkswagen which the author was lucky enough to take out for a spin. “The buggy was complete with lights, horn, wipers and current Warrant of Fitness so there was no sweat about driving it through the busy Auckland streets”.  It was quite the sight when it was driven down Auckland’s Queen Street: “We rumbled up to the traffic lights and everyone stood and stared.”

The author of the article was quite taken with the experience: “Maybe I’m an egotist but I liked driving a vehicle that people looked at. I liked having my head out in the air. I like pretending that I was Steve McQueen. I’d like a Dune Buggy”. “

For the woman of 1975 looking for a new car, the Ford Escort would be an excellent choice judging from the cover of the 1975 March issue of New Zealand Motorman and the front page of the article about the new Ford Escort.

1975 March cover cropped

New Zealand Motorman: 1975:March cover


Ford Escort cropped

New Zealand Motorman: 1975:March p15

New Zealand had many legendary drivers in the sixties and seventies. A lot of the drivers written about in the issues of Autonews and Motorman are now members of the New Zealand MotorSport Wall of Fame for their achievements, including: Graeme Lawrence, Jim Richards, David McMillan, Robert Francevic, Graham McRae and of course Bruce McLaren. The 1974:April – May issue of Autonews feature some of these drivers in their top ten New Zealand drivers list, perhaps not realising the lasting impact that they would have on New Zealand motorsport today.

Not only do we hold the magazines mentioned here, we also have subscriptions and receive regular donations of current motoring publications including: NZ4WD, New Zealand Autocar, Alfa News, New Zealand Performance Car, NZV8 and CATalogue : the newsletter of the Otago Jaguar Drivers Club Inc. If you are interested in motoring come along to the Hocken Collections and check them out!


Anderson, D. (1975, March 1). Ford’s Upgraded Range of New Escorts. New Zealand Motorman, 15-18.

The Case for the Dune Buggy. (1970, June 22). Autonews : New Zealand’s Motoring Magazine., 10-14.

MotorSport New Zealand. (n.d.). Retrieved April 10, 2015, from http://www.motorsport.org.nz/content/wall-fame

We Stick Our Necks Out and Grade the Men. (1974, April 1). Autonews : New Zealand’s Motoring Magazine., 7-12.



Anna Blackman anna.blackman@otago.ac.nz

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