James Hector and the Geological Mapping of Otago

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

To coincide with “Hector Day” 16 March, we are launching a new online version of a map documenting the geological survey of Otago and Southland carried out by James Hector in the early 1860s. 16 March is Hector’s birthday. Hector is one of New Zealand’s most respected scientists, and after he completed the Otago and Southland survey he went on to head the New Zealand Geological Survey and the Colonial Museum in Wellington.

Link to view Hector map website;

The original map hung in the Geology Department Museum for many years and by the the late 1970s there was concern about deterioration of the map, leading to discussions with the Hocken Library about its repair and conservation. It was sent away for restoration with a grant from the Art Galleries and Museums Association of New Zealand, but little documentation has survived. For over 25 years the map was overlooked. Finally, in 2007 it was located in the Auckland Art Gallery, and returned to the Hocken Library.

The University of the Third Age Charitable Trust has generously funded this project to conserve the original map and make the map available to a much wider audience.The original map is now housed safely at the Hocken Library.

The original map is incredibly detailed, to create the digital version the map was scanned at the New Zealand Micrographics Heritage Materials Imaging Facility. Apart from making the map widely available through the website, digitisation enables researchers to examine specific areas of the map in detail without resorting to magnifying glasses.

James Hector c.1879. MS-0445-4/07

The website content was authored by researcher Simon Nathan and designed by the University Library Web Developer, Merrin Brewster. Cleaning, flattening and conservation was carried out by local Conservator, Marion Mertens.

Hocken Snapshop of photographs from the Library’s collections goes live

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011 | Anna Blackman | 2 Comments

The Hocken has just launched a new online service making the photographic collections housed at the Hocken Library more accessible to remote users.

Over 33,000 images have been digitized, relating to people and places from all over New Zealand.  A small portion of the Hocken’s large shipping collection is also included.  Copies of the images are available for purchase over the internet and a zoom function greatly assists in the use of the photographs for research purposes.

Emails from readers are already arriving on a daily basis confirming that the site is proving an instant success.  Coupled with the fact that the Photographs Collection database is also now available online, people are more able to see for themselves what we hold and direct specific questions and requests to staff.

The Hocken Snapshop link is as follows:


Children from Milton School visiting Thomson & Co. factory in Dunedin by E.A. Phillips, Dudley Collection, Photographs, Hocken Collections Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago. S10-243c.

Post prepared by Anna Petersen, Assistant Curator of Photographs.