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

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

Post researched and written by Anna Petersen, Curator Photographs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

References

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

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

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

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

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

[vi] Ibid., 10 January 1906.

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

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

[ix]Diary, 19 January 1906.

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

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

[xii] Ibid.

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

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

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

Michael Trumic: A well urned career

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Achievements of Trumic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

References:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First up was the batter of the Ginger Pudding:

Ginger Pudding

Ingredients

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

Method

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

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

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

Meanwhile, preparations for the soup began:

Macaroni soup

Ingredients:

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

Method

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

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

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

All plated up: the final products

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

References

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

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

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

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

 

What else have we cooked up?

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

Stirring up the stacks #7: Virginia pudding

Stirring up the stacks #6: Pumpkin pie

Stirring up the stacks #5: Sauerkraut roll

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

Stirring up the stacks #3: Bycroft party starters

Stirring up the stacks #2 The parfait on the blackboard

Stirring up the stacks #1 Variety salad in tomato aspic

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

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

Post written by General Assistant, Gini Jory

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

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

 

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

So, what is it all about?

 

 

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

“Correct.”

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

A tepid trickle of sweat ran down your ribs.

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

References:

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

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

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

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

Post researched and written by HUMS intern, Ceri Spivey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

References

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

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

 

Alternative sources for alternative voices

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

Post researched and written by General Assistant Gini Jory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

References

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Advice for your flight

Monday, January 4th, 2021 | Hocken Collections | No Comments

Post researched and written by Collections Assistant (Publications), Emma Scott

Air New Zealand’s Pacific Network [1960s] Jet Air New Zealand to a different holiday [1960s] Air New Zealand [1960s] Air New Zealand mini-timetable [1969:June] from the Ephemera Collection, Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago Advice for your flight [1973/1974?] from the Publications Collection, Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago

Prior to the COVID-19 lockdown, the Publications staff at the Hocken discovered a booklet in the collection titled Advice for your flight [1] which was produced by Air New Zealand. Advice for your flight was designed to answer any questions a new traveller may have and was also an advertisement to fly on the DC-8 and the DC-10 jets. The booklet doesn’t have a date, but upon consulting an excellent publication titled Conquering Isolation: the First 50 Years of Air New Zealand by Neil Rennie [2], I was able to determine that the earliest the booklet could have been produced was 1973, which was when the DC-10 began service in the Air New Zealand fleet. Maybe it is my ever increasing wanderlust since the pandemic, but on returning onsite after lockdown, this little booklet sparked an interest in me to do some research into the jet age of air travel in New Zealand during 1960s and 1970s.

1965 was a very momentous year for Air New Zealand. For starters they changed their name from TEAL to Air New Zealand. Tasman Empire Airways (TEAL) was established by the New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Australian governments to provide a trans-Tasman air link. When the New Zealand government bought the remaining 50% share owned by the Australian government in 1962, TEAL officially became a fully New Zealand owned and operated air carrier. The 1962 TEAL annual report states “TEAL is an all-New Zealand undertaking whose first loyalty is to New Zealand and whose cause we are all proud to serve.” [3] The name change coincided with the building of a new airport in Māngere, a new jet base at Auckland airport costing $2 million dollars and the purchase of three DC-8 jets ($5 million dollars each) which were introduced into service later in 1965.

Our Ephemera collection contains several pamphlets advertising the DC-8 and Auckland’s new jet base.

Air New Zealand and the jet era… [1960s] Welcome Aboard! [1960s] Air New Zealand [1960s] from the Ephemera Collection, Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

One of Air New Zealand’s pamphlets; Air New Zealand and the jet era states: “The Douglas DC-8 Series 52 is the latest version of a line of DC-8 jets which has been proven for over six years in commercial operation. Powered by four JT3D-3B Pratt & Whitney engines, the Air New Zealand DC-8 will speed up to 159 passengers at 10 miles per minute in superb luxury”. This was quite a step up from the L-188 Electras which could carry 71 passengers at 400 miles per hour compared to the DC-8 which could travel up to 540 miles per hour.

The introduction of the new DC-8 jets didn’t go entirely according to plan, with a bird being sucked into the engine of one of the DC-8’s during a training flight on the 11th of August 1965 which caused £1000 worth of damage. To avoid this happening again, the government allocated £120 for the construction of a radio-controlled model hawk to scare away the birds. The hawk was tested in October 1965 with positive results. [4] [5] [6]

Otago Daily Times. “Bird Damages New Airliner.” Otago Daily Times, 12 Aug. 1965, p. 3. Otago Daily Times. “Model Hawk Scares Birds.” Otago Daily Times, 21 Oct. 1965, p. 1.

Not long after being in service, on the 4th of July 1966, a DC-8 jet on a training flight crashed and killed two of the five men on board; Captain Donal McLachlan and flight engineer Gordon Keith Tonkin. [7] It was determined that “an inadvertent application reverse engine thrust” during take-off caused the crash. Minister of Civil Aviation J.K. McAlpine went on to assure the public that there “were no grounds for public concerns on the score of passenger safety” as the controls that were manipulated would not be used during a take-off with passengers on board. [8]

Despite initial problems, Neil Rennie states in Conquering Isolation on page 104 that: “the DC-8 was the first pure jet in the Air New Zealand fleet which really shrank the world.” “The Jet flew smoothly above or around most bad weather”. One DC-8 was even kept on to serve for seven years after the others were phased out in 1981, as a freighter and carried everything “from computers to live deer”. The success of the DC-8 justified purchasing three DC-10s in 1970. The DC-10 could carry 268 passengers, which dramatically reduced the costs per passenger for Air New Zealand.

With the introduction of the DC-10 came some new uniforms for Air New Zealand hosts and hostesses. The new uniforms were designed by New Zealander Vinka Lucas. The hat was also designed by New Zealander Wynne Fallwell of Mr Wyn Originals. You can see some beautiful photographs and read a detailed description of the uniform on the New Zealand Fashion Museum Website.

Aircraft superimposed over aerial photograph WA-25451 taken by Whites Aviation in 1950. Quantity: 1 b&w original negative(s). Physical Description: Cellulosic film negative, 1/2 plate https://digitalnz.org/records/22321305/air-new-zealand-dc10-aircraft-flying-over-the-mount-cook-region

Sadly, most New Zealanders remember the DC-10 for one of New Zealand’s biggest tragedies. On the 28th of November 1979, DC-10 flight TE901 didn’t return to Christchurch after a sightseeing flight to Antarctica. The wreckage of the plane was discovered the following day on the slopes of Mt Erebus. All 257 passengers and crew were killed. [9]

There was a significant amount of controversy over the crash. Chief Air Accident Investigator Ron Chippendale’s report into the crash stated that the probable cause of the accident was “the decision of the captain to continue the flight at low level toward an area of poor surface and horizon definition when the crew was not certain of their position”. [10]

On the 21st of April 1980, Justice Peter Mahon was chosen as the commissioner for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the disaster. Peter Mahon’s report listed several factors and circumstances which contributed to the cause of the Erebus crash. On page 159 of the report he states that in his opinion “the single dominant and effective cause of the disaster was the mistake made by those airline officials who programmed the aircraft to fly directly at Mt Erebus and omitted to tell the aircrew”. [11] [12]

We hold a number of items in our ephemera collection related to the sightseeing Antarctic flights including: breakfast and lunch menus for the flights, raffle tickets for the TE901 fatal Erebus flight and a promotional booklet titled The Antarctic experience.

Advice for your flight includes the usual kinds of instructions you would find on the Air New Zealand website now;  like baggage allowances, insurance, passport and visa regulations. As per the title, the booklet also contains useful advice such as “fountain pens are prone to leak and should be emptied before travelling”.

Pages 7 and 8 of the booklet lists approximate weights of commonly worn clothing items to assist travellers in keeping their suitcases within the free baggage allowance of 30kg for first class and 20kg for economy. A woman’s 3 piece wool suit is listed as weighing 1lb 8 oz, her live-in set 8 oz and her Winter house coat 6 oz. A man’s dark worsted suit was listed as weighing 3 lbs, his sports jacket 2 lb 12 oz and his shoe cleaning kit 1 lb.

If you were considering purchasing duty-free goods there is a handy guide in the back of the booklet listing what customs will allow into various countries. When travelling home to New Zealand you were allowed to carry 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or ½ a pound of tobacco. You could also carry 1 quart of Wine and 1 quart of spirits. When travelling to Australia you could carry 400 cigarettes or 1 pound of cigars or 1 pound of tobacco, 4 quarts of Wine or 4 quarts of spirits.

While we are limited to domestic travel, at least for the moment, we can use the Hocken’s collections to imagine ourselves flying off to exciting overseas destinations. As our collection primarily consists of New Zealand material, you can also get some inspiration for your next New Zealand getaway.

References:

[1] Air New Zealand. Advice for Your Flight. Air New Zealand, 1973/1974?.

[2] Rennie, Neil. Conquering Isolation: The First 50 Years of Air New Zealand. Auckland: Heinemann Reed, 1990.

[3] TEAL. Annual Report and Accounts, 1962, p. 3.

[4] Otago Daily Times. “Bird Damages New Airliner.” Otago Daily Times, 12 Aug. 1965, p. 3.

[5] Otago Daily Times. “Bird Damage Costs £1,000.” Otago Daily Times, 21 Aug. 1965, p. 5.

[6] Otago Daily Times. “Model Hawk Scares Birds.” Otago Daily Times, 21 Oct. 1965, p. 1.

[7] Otago Daily Times. “Two Killed In Crash At Auckland Airport.” Otago Daily Times, 5 July 1966, p. 1.

[8] Otago Daily Times. “Reversed Engine Thrust Caused Crash of DC8.” Otago Daily Times, 21 July 1966, p. 1

[9] “The 1979 Erebus Crash” Te Ara. Last modified 17 December 2020. https://teara.govt.nz/en/air-crashes/page-5

[10] Office of Air Accidents Investigation. Aircraft Accident Report No.79-139 Air New Zealand McDonnell-Douglas DC-10-30 ZK-NZP Ross Island Antarctica 28 November 1979, p.35

[11] Mahon, Peter. Verdict on Erebus. Auckland: Fontana Paperbacks, 1985.

[12] Report of the Royal Commission to inquire into The Crash on Mount Erebus, Antarctica of a DC10 Aircraft operated by Air New Zealand Limited 1981

Air New Zealand. Annual Report, 1966-1980.

Otago Daily Times. “Airliner Lost In Antarctica.” Otago Daily Times, 29 Nov. 1979, p. 1.

Otago Daily Times “Grisly Task for Rescue Team.” Otago Daily Times, 30 Nov. 1979, p.1.

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

Image

Post cooked up by Katherine Milburn, Liaison Librarian and Curator of Ephemera

For many people Christmas is a time of long-honoured traditions. At the Hocken this means the decorating of our Christmas tree in the foyer on the 1st of December. It seemed the perfect date to bring in the latest contribution to Stirring up the Stacks, especially one that celebrates the festive season and advertised itself as a “proven recipe”.

Xmas Cake Recipe Recommended by “Buckhams”. Buckhams Cordials, [Queenstown], 1967. Ephemera Collection, Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

In the Hocken’s Ephemera Collection is a Christmas cake recipe leaflet from Buckhams Cordials that wishes readers a “Merry Xmas 1967”. On the reverse is a photograph of a well-stocked fridge of “Chilled Buckhams Cordials” where we can spot a variety of flavours on the labels including Still Orange, Frostee Orange, Cola Kist, and Jamaica Dry Pale Ginger Ale. Sadly, none of these labels are currently represented in the ephemera collection, but we would gladly welcome their addition if anyone has a collection they would like to pass on.

Buckhams Cordials was a Queenstown company that was established in 1870 as the Wakatip Brewery by William Lovell Davis and Thomas Surman. Their partnership dissolved in 1873, and the brewery and cordial factory continued to be run by Davis until 1880, when he left to take up mining with his brother James. James Read was granted the brewery’s lease and ran the business until his death in 1888. His wife Alice then continued the business until 1901 when management was taken over by Charles Davis, son of William Lovell Davis. In 1908 William Lovell Davis died and the brewery was purchased by his daughter Mrs H.C. Buckham. In November 1915 the brewery side of the business was closed to avoid charges from new beer duty regulations, and the company continued as a cordial manufacturer under Buckham family management. It was eventually sold in 1969 by Jim Buckham to R. Powley and Co. Ltd of Dunedin.

The Christmas cake recipe requires the overnight soaking of mixed fruit in a seven ounce bottle of Buckhams Ginger Ale. This was easily substituted for a modern supermarket brand, but it obviously remains unclear what difference this made to the eventual flavour. Perhaps for today’s bakers, the most unusual ingredient is one tablespoon of glycerine. An internet search revealed it is used to keep cakes moist and icing soft, and a bottle was eventually tracked down in a local health food store.

Mixed fruit soaked in ginger ale; freshly baked cake

The cake was made following the standard instructions but the recipe lacked any directions about decoration. I decided to make a royal icing that also incorporated glycerine (using a Mary Berry recipe), since I now possess a bottle to be used up! This cake is not suitable for the dietary requirements of all Hocken staff as it contains ten ounces of butter and six eggs, so I also baked a vegan version. This involved the swapping of ordinary flour for self-raising flour, besides the exclusion of butter and eggs, and a lemon juice/icing sugar glaze for decoration.

The decorated cake and the vegan version

Staff feedback was positive with most enjoying the cake’s taste and texture, and the royal icing in favour of the more common almond icing. One person rated both cakes a very generous 20 out of 20, and it was gratifying to hear another admit “I don’t really like fruit Christmas cakes, but this is an exception – lovely”. However, as my own Christmas tradition is to make my Christmas cake on Labour Day and feed it weekly with rum to ensure a moist texture and delicious flavour, I would have to concur with the staff member who suggested that this cake “possibly needs to age more?” The texture may have been improved by the addition of more than just the prescribed tablespoon of glycerine. I also would have preferred an increased ratio of spices, with the possible addition of ginger since, as one Hocken staff member noted, the flavour from the ginger ale did not come through.

It is always interesting to learn more about our early business and food history. The ephemera collection includes numerous examples of local advertising that also illustrate the perpetuation of our cultural traditions.

Sources

Leckie, Frank G. Otago’s Breweries Past & Present. Dunedin, Otago Heritage Books, 1997.

“Queenstown Identity Dies” Otago Daily Times, 13 July 1988, page 13.

What else have we cooked up?

Stirring up the stacks #7: Virginia pudding

Stirring up the stacks #6: Pumpkin pie

Stirring up the stacks #5: Sauerkraut roll

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

Stirring up the stacks #3: Bycroft party starters

Stirring up the stacks #2 The parfait on the blackboard

Stirring up the stacks #1 Variety salad in tomato aspic

 

Vaccines: public health good, or conspiratorial ‘delusion and snare’?

Thursday, September 3rd, 2020 | Hocken Collections | 2 Comments

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

As we sit in the midst of a global pandemic, doing our best to meet public health requirements while awaiting that crucial vaccine, it seems timely to take a retrospective look. Anyone who has spent time on social media in the last few years will be aware that vaccination is a contentious subject – but has this always been the case? Hocken holdings illuminate the story particularly strongly in the first decade of the twentieth century, and bring human elements to the mix.

Edward Jenner’s successful 1796 inoculation of a patient with cowpox (thereby granting them immunity to smallpox) laid the Western foundation for vaccination, although a number of Eastern societies had already made progress with immunology.[i]

New Zealand law required vaccination against smallpox of Pākehā infants from 1863, though adherence to the rule was limited for many years.[ii]  In the era I’m investigating, vaccines were administered by scraping back a patch of skin, and applying glycerinated calf lymph to the wound.  

An illustration from C.W. Dixon’s ‘Smallpox’ (J. & A. Churchill, London, 1962, p.291) showing the progression of the vaccine on the body. Dixon had previously been Professor of Preventive and Social Medicine at the University of Otago.

While, according to the statistics, many children escaped the attention of the Vaccination Inspector, thirteen-month-old Rera Mary Taylor did not. Her father, Dunedin butcher William D. Taylor, received a notice from the Inspector’s Office in March 1904. Whether her elder sister Nina had earlier received her prophylaxis is unknown.

Taylor complied with the order, giving permission for Rera’s vaccination. Had he not, he would have been at risk of a fine not exceeding forty shillings, the equivalent of $366 today, and his ‘failure to take advantage of the means provided by the Government for gratuitous vaccination [would be] a menace to the general safety’. [iii]

Notice to William D. Taylor from the Vaccination Inspector’s Office requiring the vaccination against smallpox of his daughter Rera Mary Taylor (1904), MS-1633/036. Curious eyes might wonder at the mention of the ‘s.s. “Gracchus”’ included in the demand. We will return to this.

While Taylor complied with his obligations, Alexander Miller, an orchardist of East Taieri, proactively bypassed them. In 1906, he applied for – and received – a certificate for exemption from vaccination under the terms of the Public Health Act, 1900, part IV for his daughter, Margaret Winnifred, at the time a baby of one month and nineteen days. Miller had convinced the authorities that he was ‘conscientiously of the opinion that vaccination would be prejudicial’ to the infant. Why he took this stance is unknown to us, but the document exempted him from all liability for any consequences of non-vaccination.

Kidd, Margaret Winnifred : Certificate for exemption from vaccination (1900, 28 November 1906), Misc-MS-0727

In 1900, just over sixteen percent of Pākehā[iv] children born that year were successfully vaccinated.[v] However, a notable jump in the rates occurred in the year 1903, before falling again to under eight percent in 1906, the year Margaret Miller was born. [vi] What happened in 1903 to cause one in four infants to receive the vaccine?[vii]

In May of that year, the Steamer Gracchus came from Calcutta via other ports to Dunedin and finally Lyttelton, with smallpox cases on board. This resulted in several deaths, one of which counts in New Zealand’s statistics as the death occurred at Lyttelton. Bell, the third engineer, had a critical case; the Evening Star recorded that there was no room to place a threepenny piece between the pustules [and] the eyes are nearly closed’.[viii]

Contact tracing was established, and a number of the wharf labourers chose not to have the vaccine, despite the offer of three days paid leave to allow for incapacitation for sore arms. They were instead placed in quarantine. In Dunedin, a woman who had been a passenger aboard the ship also contracted smallpox and passed it to her housemate. Both survived.

The documents pictured above prove that vaccination was clearly part of the public health infrastructure. Yet, as we’re seeing today, public health measures are not universally agreed with. Edwin Cox was one vehement opponent at the century’s turn.

An English migrant, Cox was a dentist and president of the Anti-compulsory Vaccination League of New Zealand. Hocken holds two of his publications, as well as a number of his diaries and extensive autobiographical papers.

In the first pamphlet, dated 1904, The vaccination coup d’etat in New Zealand whereby a mercenary imposture usurped the throne of right, he expounds his theory that vaccinations are essentially a self-justifying make-work scheme. Because, he argues, the Public Health Act requires compulsion, and pushes out ‘pro-vaccinist literature, diagrams and statistics, with disgusting photographs’, and led to the appointment of Health Officers and the construction of lymph factories, all these entities have a ‘vested interest’ to keep the threat of smallpox in the public eye and justify their existence. He suggests they are ‘a Fire Brigade roused by cry of fire’. He asks ‘What if vaccination is not, and never was, a protective against smallpox? What if it is, and never has been anything else, than a “delusion and a snare?”’

Cox’s ‘Vaccination coup d’etat’, 1904

In his more substantial Protest of an anti-vaccinist (1905), we get a better sense of his objection to vaccines. This small volume is a collection of articles and letters he has written and lectures given in New Zealand and England.

Within the pages, he describes how, as a young man, he ‘offered up his arm’ for a new method of vaccination. He then records his ‘months of pain and trouble’ that ensued. He describes how, after twenty-four hours, his arms and trunk were so swollen that his clothing needed to be cut off, as ‘foul diseases, as by conspiracy, like a gang of midnight burglars, went ravaging every organ, poisoning all they touched!’ He continues his report, hopefully hyperbolically, stating that ‘fever, jaundice, stomatitis, racking headache, and insomnia’ were ‘the leaders in this desperate assault’ [and that] ‘for some days as [he was] ill as a man could be’. All this took him to bed for ten days, but he felt he should have rested longer, the ‘filthy Jennerian rite’ also having caused ‘noisome abscesses’. While he ultimately recovered, he declared ‘I believe nothing could have brought me through this horrible complication of maladies but my good constitution, temperate habits, and the devoted nursing of my wife’. Ultimately, his experience was ‘object-lesson’ in vaccination.[ix]

Cox’s ‘Protest’, 1905

While condemning vaccination as a ‘grotesque superstition’ of the medical profession, he rails against compulsion. [x]  His three arguments follow. The first was that ‘vaccination is no protection whatever against small-pox’[xi], the second, that it ‘does not mitigate small-pox’[xii] (not so, according to the Chief Health Officer as reported in the Evening Star[xiii]), and finally, no doubt based on his personal experience, ‘that it is a prolific cause or vehicle of other disease’.[xiv]

His general belief is that sanitation is the solution to everything, and calls smallpox the ‘beggar’s disease’. [xv] He wants smallpox hospitals built, tenements torn down, disinfection and notification, and appeals to public responsibility in order to avoid ‘the odious and cruel ordeal of inoculation’ and to counter the vested state interests mentioned in his earlier pamphlet.[xvi]

While smallpox didn’t take off in 1903, an epidemic did spread through Northland in 1913. The 2000 infected were predominantly Māori, and all 55 who died were.[xvii] Many measures familiar to us today were put in place, and poor living conditions and sanitation in Māori communities were widely blamed in Pākehā newspapers. This, despite Māori being more willing to receive vaccination than Pākehā when it was made widely available in the area.[xviii]

These items highlight the diversity of opinion that is familiar to us today, even if expressed in a different manner.

You may wonder, finally, what became of Rera and Margaret.

Rera, born in 1902, was one of four apparent siblings.  Despite her and her sister having reo Māori names, I have not yet identified anything further to suggest they may have been Māori.  She and her siblings do not appear in our database of local schools, nor do the family appear in Stones or other directories.  Rera and her family appear to have moved to Hamilton eventually, and she later married Harold Edwin Marten.  She died in 1988, aged 85 years.

Margaret attended East Taieri School, going on to take a free evening place at the Technical College, studying dressmaking and millinery. She later married George Wilfred Kidd, and died in 1987.

So each woman lived into her eighties, one vaccinated, the other presumably not. We can only guess at their personal opinions of vaccines and how they addressed the issue with their own children.

 

[i] https://www.immune.org.nz/vaccines/vaccine-development/brief-history-vaccination  accessed 21 July 2020

[ii] This was the only vaccine available at the time

[iii] https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/monetary-policy/inflation-calculator accessed 20 August 2020

[iv] Children born to Māori parents were not included in the statistics, nor were their births registered at this time

[v] New Zealand Official Year-Book, 1901, p.302

[vi] Ibid., 1907, p.468

[vii] Ibid., 1904, p.285

[viii] Evening Star, 3 September 1902, p.4

[ix] Protest of an anti-vaccinist, p.9

[x] Ibid., p.14

[xi] Ibid., p.12

[xii] Ibid., p.15

[xiii] Evening Star, 3 September 1902, p.4

[xiv] Protest of an anti-vaccinist, p.16

[xv] Ibid., p.45

[xvi] Ibid., p.67

[xvii] https://teara.govt.nz/en/epidemics/page-4 accessed 24 July 2020

[xviii] Ibid.

 

Stirring up the stacks #6 – pumpkin pie

Thursday, November 28th, 2019 | Hocken Collections | No Comments

Post cooked up by Andrew Lorey, Collections Assistant (Researcher Services)

I faced a daunting challenge as I started thinking about what to cook for my contribution to the Hocken Collections ‘Stirring Up the Stacks’ series. Over the last year my colleagues have fermented sauerkraut from scratch, deciphered German-language cooking notes, recreated 1960s party starters, provided a perfectly prepared peach parfait, and concocted lovely jelly-stabilised variety salads for vegans and omnivores alike.

I would describe myself as an unskilled cook at even the best of times, and as such, I struggled to think of a dish that I could contribute to a morning tea or lunchtime without subjecting my workmates to bland tastes and unpalatable textures. As you might expect, I ended up thinking about the types of foods that I enjoy, and particularly the types of dishes that my parents and grandparents cooked when I was a child growing up in America.

 

Figure 1 – Two Hocken Collections cookbooks offering recipes of ‘American Dishes for New Zealand’.1, 2

Different Cultures and Different Cuisines

It is an indisputable fact that all of us have our own personal favourite foods, whether they come in the form of hāngī, vegetarian dishes featuring perfectly cooked tofu or after-dinner treats like ginger nuts and vanilla ice cream. But food plays a much more important role in our lives than simply providing us with nutritional nourishment and energy. I think Emma Johnson captures the multi-dimensional importance of food in her introduction to Kai and culture: Food stories from Aotearoa:

Food is a confluence of things: a web of weather systems; the lay of the land; stories of arrival, trade, economics and politics; histories and empires; domestic and urban practices. It is all connected and culminates in each of us. All of these systems, stories and politics become deeply personal, as food becomes part of us.3 (emphasis added)

In an increasingly global world, it may come as no surprise that people are consuming increasingly global foods. Recent census statistics published by Stats NZ Tatauranga Aotearoa show that 27.4 per cent of the people residing in New Zealand during the 2018 Census were born outside of the country4, and it follows that most New Zealand immigrants have transported their home countries’ cuisines along with them. When reflecting upon my own identity as an immigrant, I realised that it would be interesting to search for cookbooks at the Hocken Collections that provide instructions for dishes that may not traditionally be associated with New Zealand.

Figure 2 – This adaptation of a figure published by Stats NZ Tatauranga Aotearoa illustrates the proportions of New Zealand immigrants as reported during the 2018 Census.5

I am pleased to say that I did not have any trouble finding cookbooks related to the immigrant experience here at the Hocken Collections. Interestingly, I found a series of cookbooks published by Wellington’s Price Milburn publishing house between the late 1950s and early 1970s that provided recipes from a wide variety of international cuisines. The two American recipe books shown in Figure 1 come from this Price Milburn series, but the publisher also included volumes dedicated to Chinese, Turkish, French and South East Asian dishes.

Figure 3 – Wellington-based publishing house Price Milburn published a series of cookbooks catering to international tastes between the late 1950s and early 1970s.6, 7, 8, 9

Although it is uncertain whether actual New Zealand immigrants were involved with the creation of this Price Milburn series or whether the recipes were put together by New Zealanders who were simply interested in international cuisines, it is clear that an appreciation of international flavours and food literature has persisted in the decades following the Price Milburn publications. For example, recent books like Lift the Lid of the Cumin Jar10, Me’a Kai: The Food and Flavours of the South Pacific11 and “Dinner at my place”: The great Refugee and Migrant cook book12 celebrate and explore the many layers of meaning that exist within the flavours of immigrant experience.

Bringing together dishes from countries as diverse as Rwanda, Chile, Sweden, Vietnam and Vanuatu, books such as these showcase the many vibrant culinary cultures that exist both inside and outside New Zealand while also telling the stories of particular people from particular places. As Therese O’Connell states in her introduction to Lift the Lid of the Cumin Jar, “food, the preparation and sharing of it, consistently plays a fundamental role in each of the cultures we encounter.” It was precisely this fondness for sharing that led me to prepare a dish that pays homage to the culturally American cuisine that I grew up with – the not-too-savoury and not-too-sweet pumpkin pie.

As American as… Pumpkin Pie?

Pumpkin pie is a popular American dessert during autumn, particularly during the months of November and December, when many people observe holidays like Thanksgiving (the fourth Thursday of November) and Christmas. During my recipe search, I consulted three separate cookbooks that included recipes for pumpkin pie in a quest to discover the finest list of ingredients and the most fool-proof instructions. Although one of the recipes came from a ‘foods demonstration’ undertaken by the University of Otago Department of University Extension13, I ultimately decided to use a recipe for ‘Hot Pumpkin Pie’ that appeared in one of the Price Milburn booklets shown in Figure 1.

Figure 4 – American recipes for Thanksgiving, including the instructions used for the ‘Hot Pumpkin Pie’ eaten recently at the Hocken Collections.

Hot Pumpkin Pie

8 oz [227 g] flour
2 oz [57 g] butter
2 oz [57 g] lard
½ teaspoon salt
cold water
1½ cups [368 g] mashed cooked pumpkin
2 eggs
6 oz [170 g] brown sugar
¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup [237 ml] milk
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

METHOD:—Sift flour with salt and rub in butter and lard. Cut in just sufficient cold water to bind to a stiff paste. Turn out and roll and line a pie plate with one inch overlapping. Turn overlapping edge under. Prick the bottom and bake for ten minutes in a fairly hot oven, then fill and return to bake for a further three-quarters of an hour in a more moderate oven, until the filling is set and browned. To make the filling, steam pumpkin until tender and sieve enough to make 1½ cups puree. Beat in eggs, brown sugar, spices, and milk. Turn into pie shell and dust with additional nutmeg.

 

As you can see, the recipe provides instructions for making both the pie crust (using the first five ingredients) and the filling (using the final eight ingredients). The instructions do, however leave some things open for interpretation when it comes to the quantity of cold water necessary to create the perfect crust and the cooking temperatures that should be used in the oven (I could not locate settings for ‘fairly hot’ or ‘more moderate’ on my oven at home…). Where possible, I have calculated metric conversions for the ingredients and included those above.

Although the recipe does not explain this portion of pumpkin pie preparations, I began my cooking by washing my pumpkins under cool water, slicing them in half, scooping out the seeds and roasting them for about 60 minutes at 170˚C. To decide whether they were ready to be sieved, drained and pureed, I tried to pierce their rinds with the tines of a fork.

Waiting for your pumpkins to soften in the oven provides ample time to make the pie crust, although I must confess that I had saved some pre-made shortcrust in the freezer for this occasion. If you have a tried-and-tested family recipe for pie crusts, then you should feel free to use that too!

After pre-baking your pie crust if you wish (see the recipe method above) and creating your pumpkin mash puree, then the rest of the recipe is quite straightforward. Just beat in eggs, brown sugar, milk and spices (I doubled the suggested amounts of nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger), fill up your pie crust with this mixture and then cook for about 60 minutes (or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean) at 175˚C.

Figure 5 – One of the two pumpkin pies cooked as part of this instalment of ‘Stirring Up the Stacks’.

Reactions from colleagues about the pumpkin pies that I prepared were generally favourable, although several comments did remark that sweet pumpkin dishes remain somewhat foreign to the New Zealand palate:

“Transcendent”
“Delicious! A lovely blend of spices”
“Texture was a fluffy dream!!”
“Is it a main? Is it dessert? Could be both. All day eating.”
“I still find the concept of pumpkin as a sweet dish hard to wrap my head around, but this pumpkin pie was delicious!”
“Best pumpkin pie!”
“Yum!”

It seems fitting that this blog post has been published only shortly after Thanksgiving, and I hope that many of you who read it decide to give this recipe a try!

Figure 6 – I think one of my colleagues put it best when she said, “Yum!”.

[1] Elizabeth Messenger’s American Dishes for New Zealand (1962). Wellington: Price Milburn & Company Limited.
[2] American Dishes for New Zealand (n.d.). Wellington: Price Milburn & Company Limited.
[3] Johnson, Emma (2017). Kai and culture: Food stories from Aotearoa. Christchurch: Freerange Press.
[4] Stats NZ Tatauranga Aotearoa (2019). 2018 Census totals by topic – national highlights. https://www.stats.govt.nz/information-releases/2018-census-totals-by-topic-national-highlights[5] Stats NZ Tatauranga Aotearoa (2019). New Zealand as a village of 100 people. https://www.stats.govt.nz/infographics/new-zealand-as-a-village-of-100-people-2018-census-data[6] 50 Chinese Dishes you can make (1958). Wellington: Price Milburn & Company Limited.
[7] Harris, Patricia (n.d.). Fit for a Sultan: Turkish Food for Other Kitchens. Wellington: Price Milburn & Company Limited.
[8] French Dishes for New Zealand (n.d.). Wellington: Price Milburn & Company Limited.
[9] Heuer, Berys (n.d.). South East Asian Dishes for New Zealand. Wellington: Price Milburn & Company Limited
[10] Reid, Robyn (1999). Lift the Lid of the Cumin Jar: refugees and immigrants talk about their lives and food. Wellington: Wellington ESOL Home Tutor Service Inc.
[11] Oliver, Robert (2010). Me’a Kai: The Food and Flavours of the South Pacific. Auckland: Random House New Zealand.
[12] Refugee and Migrant Service (1998). “Dinner at my place”: The great Refugee and Migrant cook book. Lower Hutt, N.Z.: Refugee & Migrant Service.
[13] University of Otago Department of University Extension (n.d.). Ideas from Overseas American Food. Foods Demonstration. Dunedin: University of Otago.

What else have we cooked up?

Stirring up the stacks #5: – sauerkraut roll

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

Stirring up the stacks #3: Bycroft party starters

Stirring up the stacks #2 The parfait on the blackboard

Stirring up the stacks #1 Variety salad in tomato aspic