New acquisition : Legend Land of Mysteries

Friday, January 4th, 2013 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

On 23 December 1953 Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh arrived in New Zealand for a royal tour. It was a big deal for the country, and it’s been estimated that three quarters of New Zealanders saw the young Queen.

A new addition to the Hocken Collections is a memento of that time of optimism. Legend Land of Mysteries, written by Florence Wynn-Williams was a Christmas gift presented by the author to the Queen for Princess Anne. We have acquired the author’s copy, one of only six published, and it is the only copy whose binding matches that of the presentation copy. Consisting of children’s poems with hand-drawn and coloured illustrations, it is a delightful work with a distinctly New Zealand flavour.

One of the book’s charming illustrations:

Blog post prepared by Hocken Publications Coordinator, Pete Sime

The New Zealand Women’s Weekly

Monday, June 25th, 2012 | Anna Blackman | 2 Comments

Our earlliest issue from 1933

New Zealand’s longest running women’s magazine is turning 80 this year. The New Zealand Woman’s Weekly has been celebrating recently after more than 4000 issues. The magazine has remained popular over its 80 year history and it is the most highly used periodical title in the Hocken. Students and researchers have been using the New Zealand Woman’s Weekly for all sorts of research, and one of the most recent examples of this was Frances Walsh’s book, “Inside stories: a history of the New Zealand housewife“.
2 January 1941
While the Hocken has a good collection of the New Zealand Woman’s Weekly, including some microfilm, it is far from complete. From the 1930s to the late 1960s we have many gaps. We would love to receive any New Zealand Woman’s Weekly issues that people don’t want anymore and we need. We rely mostly on public generosity for these older issues.

7 July 1986
 Please email or call us if you think you might have something, we would love to hear from you.

Some recent issues

Email:   Ph 03 479 4372

Blog post prepared by Library Assistant – Periodicals, Megan Vaughan

Music at Hocken

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

It’s New Zealand Music Month, and a good time to (re)introduce the Hocken recorded music collection! We currently have over 16,000 items in various formats (vinyl, CD, 78rpm discs and cassettes), and are increasing our collection holdings constantly. We collect all genres of New Zealand music (with special emphasis on Otago and Southland recordings), and acquire major current releases, as well as all releases and re-releases from the re-born Flying Nun label.
CD stacks at the Hocken
We don’t only collect current music on CD. While CDs still dominate as a physical format, the not-so-humble vinyl LP and 7” disc have made a recent resurgence. A number of major New Zealand releases have been issued on vinyl, including Crowded House’s Intriguer, Flight of the Conchords’ I Told You I Was Freaky, the upcoming Ladyhawke album Anxiety, and The Veils Sun Gangs. Vinyl releases from local artists such as Opposite Sex, The Aesthetics, The Futurians, and Onanon have also been acquired for Hocken’s collection, as have vinyl re-releases by The Dead C, The Bats and the 3Ds. The recent boutique (400 copies only) Toy Love album Live at the Gluepot, was a vinyl only release, available only from Real Groovy on International Record Store Day ( Considering the band’s Dunedin roots (they started as The Enemy), it was vital we obtained a copy (which we did)! The album sold out on the day, and is now out-of-print, and in-demand. More details can be found here
Parlophone 78rpm disc label from 1927

Much of Hocken’s music is rare. The earliest recording held is a 78rpm disc of Wellington baritone John Prouse singing ‘The Maid of Morven’, recorded in London in 1905. We hold the first New Zealand recordings – concert performances of Ana Hato and Deane Waretini from 1927. Early Flying Nun releases are also rare (and valuable), as many have never been re-issued, and are viewed enthusiastically by international and local collectors. We are fortunate to hold such an extensive collection of these rarities, and we invite you to come and (re)discover our music. More information on Hocken’s music collections can be found here

Blog post prepared by Amanda Mills, Liaison Librarian – Music and AV

Archives, Winston Churchill and Auctions

Friday, August 19th, 2011 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

Archivists who work in “collecting archives” sometimes have a bit of a love/hate relationship with rare book and manuscript auctions. On the one hand they can be a tremendous source of exciting and significant material. On other they may be a drain on scarce funds, and often collections of related material are split into separate lots or even into different auctions in order to make the best profit for the vendor. Frustratingly for the archivist this means you might get some of a collection of papers but not all. Only having part of a collection of course detracts from the usefulness of the collection as a resource for historical research.

What’s a “collecting archives”? –  an archives institution that collects (by donation/bequest, deposit or purchase) archives from the community and organisations. The Hocken Library is one of the larger collecting archives in NZ as well as being a pre-eminent research library and gallery. The other main kind of archival institution is an “in-house archives” which mainly receives archives as transfers from a parent organisation; a local example would be the Dunedin City Council Archives which receives the archives it cares for directly from the Dunedin City Council.

Of course the lay person wanting to find a safe repository for their papers is not usually too concerned with the differences between archives and so it is that sometimes “in-house archives” end up with material that doesn’t really fit their collection scope. Instead of destroying unwanted material that clearly has some historical value, archivists ask around amongst their colleagues as to whether another institution might like to have it. And so it was that a small box of treasure found its way to the Hocken last week from the DCC Archives. What’s this got to do with Winston Churchill?

Well, amongst the items in the box was a minute book and copy of a letter relating to something called a Churchill Auction in 1942 in Dunedin. My curiosity was piqued and I started reading. There were four of these auctions held up and down the country in 1942 to raise funds for the Patriotic Councils.

The idea was started when Prime Minister Peter Fraser visited Winston Churchill in England. Churchill made a gift of a book written by an earlier Sir Winston Churchill and published in 1675, Lives of all the Kings of this Isle, to be auctioned in NZ to raise patriotic funds. Hearing of this gift the writer Pat Lawlor contacted the Department of Internal Affairs and suggested that they encourage local committees to organise local auctions of donated material to augment the funds raised by the sale of the book. People up and down the country were encouraged to donate their rare books, documents, manuscripts, paintings, prints and Maori and historical “curios” to the cause. Messrs J. H. Bethune and Co. Ltd of Wellington provided their entire mailing list so that the central organising committee could contact book, manuscript and picture collectors (no Privacy Act back then!). The Dunedin Committee discussed the idea of collecting letters of Katherine Mansfield and advertising the auction in North America to encourage a better price! I inwardly groaned, wondering what New Zealand archival treasure had been hocked off overseas! Luckily the impracticality of the suggestion precluded advertising overseas and I cannot find any mention of Katherine Mansfield letters being offered for sale.

Minutes of the Dunedin Churchill Auction Committee 1942, a who’s who of arts and culture in Dunedin at the time (r. 5439)

As it turns out the auctions raised some money but not as much as was expected as the market for such items in NZ was not great. In Dunedin over five hundred pounds were raised a newspaper report noted that demand and prices for NZ books in the auction was good but poor for overseas material such as first editions of Dickens. And to my relief it seems that no archives or manuscripts were sold overseas.

Thank you to the Dunedin City Council Archivists, Allison and Chris, for sending this material to the Hocken.

First NZ Exhibition 1865

Thursday, June 16th, 2011 | Anna Blackman | 8 Comments

Recent donations to the Hocken Library include three of the most significant images to come into the Photographs Collection over the last decade. They are interior views of New Zealand’s first international exhibition held in Dunedin in 1865. The sight of the main exhibition building which afterwards became the central block of the Dunedin Hospital has long formed a useful marker for dating early photographs of Dunedin city but modern researchers will delight in these views of the exhibits themselves.

Gifted by a descendant of Alfred Eccles, the main organiser of the exhibition and his son of the same name who wrote an account of the venture in 1925, the glass plate negatives came with labelled wrappings in the son’s hand and are obviously early twentieth century copies of original albumen prints. A fourth glass plate (figure 1) of the exterior of the main building, which was reproduced in the 1925 publication, bears the name of the photographer, J.W. Allen.

Figure 1

Figure 2 was taken just inside the main entrance and shows clocks and pianos in the Otago Court. These were mostly imported goods but the display did include the work of Dunedin inventor, Arthur Beverley, who won praise from the exhibition jurors for his ‘highly ingenious self-winding atmospheric clock’ (Eccles, p. 9) – nowadays on show in the Physics Department of the University of Otago and possibly to be seen here in the far corner in a slightly different case. Unfortunately the photograph does not include a view of the 21-feet high gilded obelisk which first greeted visitors, representing the 1,749,511 ounces of gold that had been exported from the colony up to the end of 1864 (Eccles, p.8).

Figure 2

Figure 3 is of the Furniture Court looking toward the Museum section on the Gallery Floor. The paper hangings offer a valuable sample of wallpaper designs that were fashionable at the time. The museum, organised by Provincial Geologist James Hector, included ‘Rock, minerals, fossils, birds, woods, dried plants, plans, sections, drawings and other objects arranged principally to illustrate the Geology and Natural History of Otago in 15 cases and a wall shelf’ (exhibition catalogue, p.56).

Figure 3

Figure 4 was labelled the Hawkes Bay Court but the display of Maori taonga does not correspond with the list of items in the published catalogue. While Ngati Kahungunu chiefs Karaitiana and Tareha and Pakeha collectors including Donald McLean contributed objects like taiaha and a waka named ‘Takitumu’, the three mere pounamu and hat described in the catalogue as ‘1 Native Mourning Head Dress’ answer only to Sir George Grey’s collection represented in the Auckland Court. High up on the wall samples of Grey’s fern collection may also be visible though again, there were others who contributed similar items for the display.

Figure 4

These newly acquired glass plate negatives add to the archival record of the 1865 exhibition already held in the Hocken and may now be used to illustrate future accounts of this historic event.

Post prepared by Assistant Curator of Photographs, Anna Petersen June 2011

Baptists and best sellers on the Taieri

Monday, February 7th, 2011 | Anna Blackman | 1 Comment

Photographs and a short manuscript from the archives of the Mosgiel Baptist Church (AG-263/023, AG-263/053 and AG-263/054).

F.W. Boreham (1871-1959) is not widely known today, but in his time he sold over a million books.  Frank Boreham arrived in New Zealand from England in 1895 to become the first minister of Mosgiel Baptist Church. The young man quickly proved himself as a successful and popular preacher, pastor and writer. His sermons appeared in the Taieri Advocate and he became a regular contributor of leading articles to the Otago Daily Times. He also edited the New Zealand Baptist.  The first of his several dozen books was published before he left England, to be followed by The Whisper of God and Other Sermons, published in 1902. Many of his books were devotional in character, but they also included charming tales of people and places he had known. Boreham moved to Australia in 1906. He retained fond memories of his first pastorate in Mosgiel, which featured in some of his later books. For instance, the booklet The Bachelors of Mosgiel (1936) is a “collection of unusual love stories of crusty old bachelors never suspected of having any.” Boreham’s writing might be dismissed as simple and sentimental today, but it was also engaging, as the opening of The Home of the Echoes (1921) reveals:

Hester Spanton – Auntie Hester, as everybody called her – was the tenant of a large second-hand store and a small asthmatic body. I used at times to think that the adjectives might be regarded as interchangeable. If you had described her as the occupant of an asthmatic store and a second-hand body, the terms would have seemed perfectly congruous and fitting. Her poor little body looked a very second-hand affair. It was terribly the worse for wear, and was so battered and broken that Auntie Hester could only crawl about by the aid of a crutch. It gave you the impression that it had been bought and sold over and over again, and that, having got it cheaply, none of its owners had taken any care of it.

The Merry Man of Mosgiel, published by Epworth Press, London, 1936.

There is a special F.W. Boreham collection at the Mosgiel Library (described by Barbara Frame in the March 2005 issue of New Zealand Libraries), and another at Carey Baptist College in Auckland. But southerners who wish to know more of one of the best-selling authors of the early twentieth century may like to start with a perusal of the 59 individual Boreham titles held by the Hocken (some in more than one edition).  Also available at the Hocken are the Taieri Advocate and Otago Daily Times, which feature Boreham’s early journalism, and the archives of the Mosgiel Baptist Church.

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

Treasures abound in recently catalogued scout archives

Friday, October 22nd, 2010 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

The first New Zealand scout troop was officially registered at Kaiapoi on 3 July 1908, following the arrival of Baden-Powell’s book ‘Scouting for Boys’ in New Zealand. The movement was formed by Lieutenant-Colonel O. Cossgrove, who became the first chief commissioner.
Originally a branch of the United Kingdom Scout Association, the New Zealand Boy Scouts Association became independent in 1953 and in this year became the Scout Association of New Zealand.  In 1911, the first all-Maori scout troop was formed at Ohinemutu.  Cubbing was introduced in 1916 and Venturer scouting was introduced in 1965.

The records of the New Zealand Scout Association, Otago Area, held at the Hocken occupy over seven and a half metres of shelving and include those of scout groups from all over Otago, such as the Owaka Scout Group, Halfway Bush Scout Group and North East Valley Scout Group.

The collections include a vast array of material, such as minute books, logs, scrapbooks, jamboree papers, newsletters, magazines, photographs and textile banners.
An example of a handwritten, illustrated log of a trip to Port Craig by Andersons Bay Rover Sea Scout Crew, 1955 (image from MS-3486/010):

A colourful log book entry of the 13th Dunedin North East Valley Scout Troop describing an account of Easter camp and woodcraft signs, 1951 (image from MS-3486/103):

The earliest record is a minute book of the St Martin’s Boy Scouts, which began in April 1927, before changing to North East Valley Boy Scouts in 1935. (Image from MS-3486/090).
The Rovering branch of scouting was officially started in England in 1917. The First Dunedin District Rover Crew was established in 1926. Handwritten, illustrated log of a caving trip to Dunback by Andersons Bay Rover Sea Scout Crew, 1954 (image from MS-3486/009).
There are approximately 16,000 Scouts in New Zealand.  In the lower South Island there are currently 50 active scout groups, 12 Venturer Units and 2 Rover Crews.  There are plenty of newsletters being produced to keep people up to date on developments:
Image from MS-3486/017

Visitors are welcome to come in and view the scouting material, or you can look through our listings on ‘Hakena’ at

Post prepared by Debbie Gale, Arrangement and Description Archivist.

Publisher’s archive a great resource

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010 | Anna Blackman | 5 Comments

The distinctive John McIndoe cat logo on the office door

In November 2008 Hocken was offered further records of the printing and publishing company John McIndoe Ltd, following the liquidation of successor firm Rogan McIndoe Print Ltd. McIndoes had been established in 1893, and its publishing arm flourished from 1968 through to the 1990s under editors Peter Stewart, Brian Turner, and Barbara Larson.

Some of the graphic art materials on the floor at McIndoes

On 17 November we appraised and collected records from the former company buildings in Crawford Street. Storage conditions were dry and the records were generally in good condition. Many were stored in cupboards and bundled according to publication titles, others were found in boxes on shelves, in loose piles on the floor, or tucked away in odd drawers and corners. We picked our way through two large floors of the rambling old buildings and eventually took 16 shelf metres of records back to the Hocken. These were added to a similar quantity of records we had received between 1978 and 1985, but which mostly remained unlisted. Much of the material was neatly wrapped in parcels with paper printed with the elegant cat logo of McIndoes.

A storage cupboard showing the neat “cat wrapped” parcels of records

From February 2009 to January 2010, thanks to funding from the New Zealand Lotteries Grants Board, Project Archivist Sally Milner fully arranged and described all of our McIndoe holdings, packaging them in preservation-quality enclosures, and listing them in detail on Hakena.

The collections contain a wide array of material relating to the publishing and printing activities of the company. They include authors’ book files and other papers relating to literary projects, correspondence, financial records, photographs, and artwork. Authors and poets who are represented in the collection include Roderick Finlayson, Owen Marshall, Cilla McQueen, Vincent O’Sullivan, Philip Temple, and Hone Tuwhare, to name but a few.

Some items from the McIndoes records at the Hocken. Note the cat wrapping paper!

The collection, which occupies some 25 shelves, is already proving valuable for research into printing and publishing history, individual authors, and related subjects.

Our special thanks goes to Lawrie Forbes of Zealsteel, owner of the McIndoe buildings, for ensuring that records were not destroyed following the company liquidation, and arranging for their donation to the Hocken.

This post was prepared by Arrangement and Description Archivist, Debbie Gale, and Assistant Archivist, David Murray.

Dr Mervyn McLean donation of Maori and Pacific Music

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010 | Anna Blackman | 2 Comments

One of our most significant donations in 2009 was the Dr Mervyn McLean collection of Maori and Cook Islands music. The collection has been added to the archives and manuscripts section of the Library and is catalogued under the call number ARC-0613. It is fully listed on the Hakena catalogue.
Right: Dr Mclean, Anne McLean and Professor John Drummond at the Hocken Collections 2009 Donors event.

Dr McLean is acknowledged world wide as an authority on the music of Oceania, particularly traditional Maori music. A graduate of the University of Otago, Dr McLean was the founding Head of the Archive of  Maori and Pacific Music at the University of Auckland from 1970 until his retirement in 1992. The collection that has been donated to the Hocken is Dr McLean’s personal collection of the original tapes, notes, transcriptions and translations of the waiata, cds and mint copies of his books. The material relates mainly to NZ Maori with recordings dating back to 1958, but also includes 30 hours of material recorded in Aitutaki and Mangaia in 1967. Although it duplicates what is already available through the Auckland archive, this generous donation will allow more researchers to access the material here at the in Dunedin. The collection will be useful to iwi, musicians, historians, anthropologists, ethnomusicologists and other researchers who will be able to listen to the recordings through the digital copies, and read the notations and transcripts.