Queer archives : the papers of Yoka Neuman

Wednesday, March 30th, 2022 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

Post researched and prepared by HUMS 301 Intern Rebecca White

To commemorate the end of Dunedin Pride Month 2022 I thought it was fitting to highlight some of our LGBTQ+ holdings here at the Hocken and discuss past and present issues surrounding collection and availability of such archival materials.

At the Hocken Archives we hold an extensive collection of 37 boxes filled with
the donations of (or in the name of) Yoka Neuman – a prominent figure in the feminist,
lesbian, and human rights circles in New Zealand before her passing at age 93 last November. The majority of this collection references the Lesbian Mothers Defence Fund (LMDF) which she founded in 1979 and led until 1992. There are also numerous items relating to feminist movements, the Homosexual Law Reform Bill 1986, and other social issues of the time. Alongside the LMDF, Yoka also helped set up Te Whare Pounamu Women’s Refuge Dunedin, Rape Crisis Dunedin, and the Women’s Resource centre, was a leading volunteer at ‘Daybreak’ the first women’s bookshop in New Zealand, attended the 2019 climate action march in Dunedin, and marched in solidarity with the nurses’ strike in June 2021.

Through my internship I have been working to appraise and catalogue a new donation
to the Neuman, Yoka : Papers collection. This blog post will mainly centre on the items of this new donation. There are many items within this collection I could touch on, but for the sake of keeping this post concise I will just present a few of the highlights.

Handwritten note by Yoka Neuman,  2000, MS-5159/046

On the back of a June 2000 calendar page is a handwritten note written by Yoka
Neuman. While the note is brief, it details some of her personal experiences after coming out in the late 1970s compared to contemporary experiences of coming out. An item such as this is crucial in the sense that LGBT+ identities in New Zealand history are more politicised than humanised. Only recently have academic works begun to appear in which LGBT+ lives have been analysed as lives rather than political topics (see the works of Chris Brickell for example). Although the note has not yet been made available for viewing at the Hocken it will be listed as item MS-5159/046 in the near future.

In this note Yoka speaks on changing attitudes towards coming out publicly, with
particular reference to how “the present student body” could not imagine the “opposition, division, condemnation” as well as “dubious pleasure” which came along with her experience of coming out in the late 1970s. This note presents, at the very least, a change of public and private opinions on coming out. Coming out is no longer widely seen as a condemnable offence – at least by law or the larger part of society in New Zealand – as indicated by the recent banning of conversion therapy passed by parliament earlier this year.

Another item of interest in the new donation was a box of cassette tapes – in particular
one labelled “Yoka N/Leah to Jenny R.” (MS-5159/076). On this tape, we are able to hear Yoka speak about the “flash in the pan” nature of the establishment of the LMDF, running the LMDF on her own 5 years after it was established, and successful and unsuccessful cases of custody for lesbian mothers. Notably, in this tape Yoka describes the formation of the LMDF as a retaliation to a Families Need Fathers representative arguing on radio that children should not be able to be brought up in homosexual households under the Guardianship Amendment Bill 1979. Yoka explained she was so frustrated by the broadcast that she immediately typed up a submission to counter it, signed in the name of the National Gay Rights Coalition to give it more credibility. While researching for this submission, she stumbled across the LMDF in Canada and decided to set up a similar organisation in New Zealand.

So why is it so important to hold items such as these in archives? Put simply,
representation of traditionally marginalised communities in archives is crucial to the
preservation of the history of that community. According to Franklin Robinson in ‘Queering the Archive’ – “unless we leave behind a full range of primary documentation in publicly accessible archives and libraries from which LGBTQ history can be written, the history will not be written, or not written accurately and in context.” That is, selection, arrangement, preservation, and accessibility of archival collections are intrinsically linked with the collective process of remembrance or forgetting of communal histories. By not actively engaging with traditionally marginalised communities and without the inclusion of these voices in archival practice, systematic disenfranchisement of those communities is created. LGBTQ sources are frequently inaccessible to the wider public. Lack of relevant donations to a particular archive is an issue which the archivist is frequently challenged by – many archives rely heavily on donations sourced from the community, but oftentimes people do not realise the historical significance of the items they have.

Unlike the general papers, articles, books, and newsletters which were already a part
of the Neuman, Yoka : Papers collection at the Hocken, the more atypical, unique items such as the handwritten note and tape recording make it possible to reconstruct connections, thought processes, opinions held in a time very different from now; a time which, as Yoka pointed out in her note, many people have never experienced and could not imagine. Slowly, with additions of items such as these that are more than just factual, the past becomes illustrated from the point of view of someone who was there, coloured by their emotions and motivations.

References

“Courageous kuia inspirational figure for many,” Otago Daily Times, 22 January 2022, p.26.
Handwritten note by Yoka Neuman, 2000, MS-5159/046.
Robinson, Franklin. “Queering the Archive”. QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking vol. 1, no. 2 (2014): 195-198.
Tape of Yoka interview on Lesbian Mother’s Defence Fund, 6 September 1985, MS-5159/076.

‘Hets miss out on gay blood’: early gay community perspectives on AIDS

Wednesday, March 30th, 2022 | Hocken Collections | No Comments

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

Content warning: this blog post includes quotes of homophobic statements. Reader discretion is advised. It is also acknowledged that there are a multitude of gay communities, and other communities situated around sexuality and gender. However, during the era discussed in this post, the narrower term ‘gay community’ was used.

As we traverse the current pandemic, many of us have both a heightened sense of vulnerability and a growing awareness of how the media can influence chains of events. Looking to the HIV/AIDS (Human Immunodeficiency Virus/ Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) epidemic, still ongoing, we can see these same factors at play.

This post explores how the contents of one selected publication – Pink Triangle – contrasted with the messaging in mainstream media, represented here by the Otago Daily Times (henceforth ODT). Pink Triangle was a lesbian and gay community newspaper, published in Aotearoa by the New Zealand National Gay Rights Coalition (NGRC) from 1979 through to 1990; the NGRC itself having come together in 1977 as calls for gay liberation and homosexual law reform grew (decriminalisation of homosexuality was attained in 1986). Who did the NGRC want to reach? Content and advertising found within Pink Triangle indicates that their likely audience was predominantly financially comfortable, cisgender[i], gay, lesbian and bisexual Pākehā adults.

In reading Pink Triangle, we can hear the voices obscured from the dominant narrative. Understandably, with the legal situation and strong societal prejudice, very few felt safe to ‘out’ themselves to the established press, or even trust the information supplied, but Pink Triangle met some of these needs. What follows is predominantly an exploration of material published in Pink Triangle (contrasted with material published in the ODT), between mid-1981 through to early 1985, looking at the emerging discourse around AIDS in the gay community.

Several themes quickly become apparent: along with a conviction that AIDS should not be portrayed as an illness only affecting homosexual people, issues around blood donation, community support, the need to counter misinformation, the continued presence of medical homophobia, how the situation might affect calls for law reform, and, finally, how the gay community was portrayed in the media were all significant points for discussion.

As we now know, HIV can result in AIDS. However, as the first cases of AIDS were identified among gay men in the United States, little was known about its causes and consequences.  Some mainstream media adopted the pejorative term GRID: Gay-Related Immune Deficiency, which could only compound homophobic sentiment. Due to the variation of early terms used, finding relevant article references in databases proved challenging.

The first mention of anything relating to HIV or AIDS I uncovered in Pink Triangle was a snippet entitled ‘Gay pneumonia? Not really, says researcher’ in September 1981.[ii]  (One of the first American reports was published in the New York Times in July of that year, describing a ‘rare cancer’). The USA Centres for Disease Control and Prevention coined the term AIDS the following year.

‘Hets miss out on gay blood’, Pink Triangle, May June 1983, p.1

One of the first areas of discussion in Pink Triangle revolved around blood donations.  While the ODT printed an article in May 1983 titled ‘Some homosexuals’ blood unacceptable’[iii] Pink Triangle were simultaneously proclaiming ‘Hets [heterosexuals] miss out on gay blood’.[iv] As testing was not yet available, and the potential for transmission via blood transfusion was unknown, ‘promiscuous homosexuals and intravenous drug addicts’ (groups considered at high risk of carrying the later-named HIV), were requested not to donate their blood to the Wellington blood transfusion service. The wider discourse around blood donation from the medical establishment was lambasted as homophobic by the gay community, and a number of protest actions occurred, including regular donors from the community returning their donor cards, and, controversially, calls from one gay activist to continue donations regardless.[v] Later that year, the doctor who front-footed the policy, when asked about its success, made the arguably peculiar comment that ‘people in Wellington are co-operating and not engaging in blackmail’.[vi]

‘Gays co-operate’, Pink Triangle, Issue 44, July-September 1983, p.3

When, in 1984, a test became available to indicate exposure to HIV, Bruce Burnett, head of the New Zealand AIDS Support Network – following an American precedent – encouraged the community to avoid it. He was concerned that a possible lack of privacy around test results could be ‘used to discriminate against and label gay men’.[vii] He preferred the test only be used for screening purposes prior to blood donation, and not an opportunity the gay community should take up out of curiosity, with the hope that:

AIDS is no longer seen as a ‘gay’ disease, at least not by most medical people. Our sexuality is no longer seen as a cause, merely as one mode of transmission among others such as heterosexual intercourse, transfusions and IV [intravenous] drug use.[viii]

As Pink Triangle articles traced the movement of the virus closer and closer to Aotearoa New Zealand, by the summer of 1982-83,[ix] they began directing attention to the myriad damaging implications of AIDS being referred to as a ‘gay plague’, imploring the gay community to work together to ensure its collective health. Concerns were expressed that while homosexual communities were having success in establishing their identity separate from the pathologising tendencies of the medical world, now was a time where that profession could once again very easily slip into a position of power and control:

We have to make illness gay and dying gay, just as we have made sex and baseball and drinking and eating and dressing gay. This is the challenge to us in 1982 – just when the doctors are trying to do it for us…[x]

The NGRC struck out at straight media for spreading misinformation about AIDS: implications that the gay community was the only group at risk were rife. This focus on the ‘gay disease’ further stigmatised the community and emboldened homophobic options and actions.[xi] By 1984, the aforementioned AIDS Support Network was established, and advertisements began to appear in Pink Triangle.[xii] Their stated aims were to:

prevent a major outbreak of AIDS and ARC [AIDS-Related Complex] in NZ through education, the promotion of risk-reduction measures and the training of cousellors [sic] and support personnel.

The AIDS Support Network would later become known as the New Zealand AIDS Foundation, and its work changed the AIDS and HIV landscape immeasurably. Some examples of their work to minimise stigma in particular are pictured below.

Flyer from the New Zealand AIDS Foundation on ways to reduce stigmatising language.
Avoiding bad language. New Zealand AIDS Foundation, Auckland, 1990. Ephemera Collection, Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

AIDS myth busting from the AIDS Support Network.
AIDS is not easy to catch. AIDS Support Network, Christchurch, 1988? Ephemera Collection, Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

Where AIDS-related information was created by the gay community, it tended to be straightforward, with more explicit discussion around ways in which the virus was understood to be transmitted, one example being Bruce Burnett’s article ‘Reducing the risks: AIDS in the gay ghetto.’[xiii] A pamphlet ‘AIDS choices and chances’, created by the NGRC, and inserted in the July-August 1984 issue of Pink Triangle, emphasised the importance of a ‘calm response to the impact of the AIDS crisis upon intimate areas of people’s lives,’ saying ‘the stresses and strains generated by fear, uncertainty, even panic, are potentially as damaging as AIDS itself’.[xiv]

Mainstream media however could be seen to perpetuate misinformation; a reporter in conversation with the Christchurch chair of the Haemophilia Society, who was waiting to hear if he had been exposed to the virus, described the man’s attempts to protect his family: ‘he always has to be careful. He uses his own glass, towel, or face cloth – just in case’.[xv] Professionals and the media appeared to willingly take the opportunity to further stigmatise other groups too: one article reported on an Auckland virologist’s suggestion that sex workers be licenced and subject to frequent mandatory health screenings to control the ‘killer virus’ and limit its spread among ‘the families and girlfriends of men who slept with infected street girls’.[xvi]

Pink Triangle highlighted the challenges the community faced when seeking support from the medical system. Where an ODT article in 1984 declared ‘Nurses ready to care for AIDS patients’[xvii] this obscured other stories. That same year, the first AIDS patient in New Zealand was transferred to New Plymouth, his place of origin, from Sydney. The Taranaki Herald, according to Pink Triangle, reported ‘a nurse […] would resign rather than treat the AIDS patient’.[xviii]  Similarly, the AIDS Support Network reported difficulties procuring a location for a clinic. An Auckland public health unit had been suggested as a base, but the existing staff objected, one saying ‘[…] the AIDS clinic fits very uneasily into family health work’ and ‘there are a number of places in town far more suitable. For instance, in the rooms of general practitioners who are sympathetic to AIDS people’.[xix] While it is unpleasant to read these quotes, Pink Triangle clearly saw a reason to report them.

Phil Parkinson (administrator of the Lesbian and Gay Rights Resource Centre at the time), in a rare example of a gay voice being welcomed into a mainstream media space, argued for the importance of Homosexual Law Reform, stating that the AIDS crisis would only grow if it remained illegal to share information about risks. While prosecution remained a possibility, the stakes were too high to potentially out oneself when seeking information around prevention. He emphasised, too, that ‘AIDS is a blood disease not a homosexual one. It is caused by a virus and, like all viruses, can infect anybody.’[xx]

A selection of potentially stigmatising headlines from the Otago Daily Times.
Left to right, top to bottom: Some homosexuals’ blood unacceptable,10 May 1983, p.24; Nurses ready to care for AIDS patients, 11 February 1984, p.3; Living with the fear of AIDS, 10 April 1985, p.12; Prevention programme on AIDs, 4 August 1984, p.32; Screening blood for AIDS costly, 18 May 1985, p.12; AIDS man dies, 3 June 1985, p.5; ‘No autopsies on AIDS victims’, 27 March 1990, p.5; AIDS risk posed by prostitutes, 20 August 1985, p.15; Compensation sought for AIDS, 19 April 1985, p.2.

Meanwhile, in an ODT article headed ‘Living with the fear of AIDS’, a representative of the Haemophilia Society indicted the ‘homosexual community of using the AIDS situation for gaining political end such as gaining support for the Homosexual Law Reform Bill.’[xxi]  While it is important to recognise haemophiliacs as another group vulnerable to AIDS, this seemed an unnecessarily opportunistic dig at an already deeply stigmatised group fighting for human rights. The same Society queried if Accident Compensation Corporation support was available for those who received contaminated blood products through a transfusion.[xxii] From my observations of the ODT, stories such as these were more common than those that sought the voices of those from the gay community; let alone intravenous drug users who were also at great risk.

Pink Triangle was alert to how the community was perceived by the dominant media voice and the damage caused by negative stereotyping and rhetoric. The 1984 feature ‘Homosexuality in the media: a warped image’, by Paula Wallis, examined the content and tone of Auckland newspapers in the previous year. Wallis’ findings were ‘overwhelmingly negative’ in the way they referred to the homosexual population. References to AIDS were ‘alarmist and threatening’, predominantly blaming ‘promiscuity’ for the ‘dissemination of the disease.’ Wallis stated: ‘we are considered newsworthy only when a news item is outrageous enough to consolidate current prejudice.’[xxiii] In short, the community was othered and not permitted to share their stories with the wider society they lived in. This was not a fresh concern: in 1981, the NGRC published the guide How to work with the media: a manual for lesbian and gay rights groups.

‘Homosexuality in the media: a warped image’. Pink Triangle, Issue 49, September-October 1984, p.9

As a child of the 1980s, my first clear awareness of AIDS in media representation was the case of young Eve Van Grafthorst. Van Grafthorst received HIV contaminated blood as an infant in Australia, and was ostracised. Her family moved to Aotearoa where she became a prominent figure in the AIDS media discourse until her 1993 death. Considering the contrasts explored above in how the gay community and AIDS was portrayed by Pink Triangle versus more conventional media, it is not surprising that Eve’s death was where my attention was directed. Yet by the end of the year in which Van Grafthorst died, there had been 340 known AIDS deaths since the first notified cases of 1984, and the majority of these lives lost probably received no media attention, let alone a compassionate framing.[xxiv]

Medical progress now means we, at least in the developed world, can look to the number of people living with HIV, rather than dying of AIDS, yet HIV vaccines are still in the experimental stage.[xxv] It is hard to not contrast this with the rapid development of vaccines for COVID-19. There are myriad reasons why the latter were able to be developed so quickly, but a cynical person might question the reasons behind the slower pace on the former when 36.3 million people globally have died of HIV.[xxvi]

Ultimately, this examination supplies us with useful reminders for every time we engage with news media. Whose voices are prioritised? Whose knowledge and opinions are dismissed or never sought? Who benefits – and who loses out – when the story is presented as it is? Where else should we look to get a fuller picture?

 

[i] Cisgender describes ‘someone whose gender aligns with that which they were assigned at birth. The opposite of transgender.’ ‘Rainbow terminology: Sex, gender, sexuality & other key terms’, InsideOUT Kōaro, https://www.insideout.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/InsideOUT-rainbow-terminology-August-2021.pdf (accessed 30 March 2022)

[ii] ‘Gay pneumonia? Not really, says researcher’, Pink Triangle, Issue 27, September 1981, p.1

[iii] ‘Some homosexuals’ blood unacceptable’, Otago Daily Times, 10 May 1983, p.24

[iv] ‘Hets miss out on gay blood’, Pink Triangle, May/June 1983, p.1

[v] ‘To give or not to give’, Pink Triangle, Issue 44, July-September 1983, p.2

[vi] ‘Gays co-operate’, Pink Triangle, Issue 44, July-September 1983, p.3

[vii] ‘Blood test; network cautious’ Pink Triangle, Issue 50, November-December 1984, p.3

[viii] Ibid., p.19

[ix] ‘Crisis – what crisis?’ Pink Triangle, Issue 41, Summer 1982/83, p.1

[x] Ibid.

[xi] ‘NGRC hits back on AIDS’, Pink Triangle, Issue 44, July-September 1983, p.3

[xii] ‘AIDS Support Network’ [advertisement], Pink Triangle, Issue 50, November-December 1984, p.19

[xiii] ‘Reducing the risks: AIDS in the gay ghetto’, Pink Triangle, Issue 48, July-August 1984, p.13

[xiv] ‘AIDS choices and chances’, National Gay Rights Coalition of New Zealand [pamphlet] Pink Triangle, Issue 48, July-August, 1984

[xv] Living with the fear of AIDS, Otago Daily Times, 10 April 1985, p.12

[xvi] ‘AIDS risk posed by prostitutes’, Otago Daily Times, 20 August 1985, p.15

[xvii] ‘Nurses ready to care for AIDS patients’, Otago Daily Times, 11 February 1984, p.3

[xviii] ‘AIDS man transferred’, Pink Triangle, Issue 46, March/April 1984, p.1

[xix] ‘Nurses object’, Pink Triangle, Issue 51, Summer, 1984-85, p.1

[xx] ‘AIDS and homosexual law’, Otago Daily Times, 20 June 1985, p.4

[xxi] ‘Living with the fear of AIDS’, Otago Daily Times, 10 April 1985, p.12

[xxii] ‘Compensation sought for AIDS’, Otago Daily Times, 19 April 1985, p.2

[xxiii] ‘Homosexuality in the media: a warped image’, Pink Triangle, Issue 49, September-October 1984, p.9

[xxiv] AIDS – New Zealand, AIDS Epidemiology Group, Issue 20, February 1994,     https://www.otago.ac.nz/aidsepigroup/otago714396.pdf (accessed 29 March 2022)

[xxv] ‘Experimental mRNA HIV vaccine shows promise in animals’, National Institutes of Health, 11 January 2022, https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/experimental-mrna-hiv-vaccine-shows-promise-animals (accessed 29 March 2022)

[xxvi] ‘Global Health Observatory HIV/AIDS’, World Health Organization, https://www.who.int/data/gho/data/themes/hiv-aids (accessed 30 March 2022)

References

Web resources

KFF, Global HIV/AIDS Timeline, 20 July 2018, https://www.kff.org/global-health-policy/timeline/global-hivaids-timeline/ (accessed 23 March 2022).

Lesbian & Gay Archives of New Zealand Te Pūranga Takatāpui o Aotearoa, Out of the ashes, December 1986, https://www.laganz.org.nz/trust/ashes.html, (accessed 22 March 2022).

New Zealand AIDS memorial quilt,  Eve Van Grafhorst 17 July 1982 – 20 November 1993, https://aidsquilt.org.nz/eve-van-grafhorst-7/, (accessed 28 March 2022).

Publications

National Gay Rights Coalition of New Zealand, How to work with the media: a manual for lesbian and gay rights groups. National Gay Rights Coalition, Wellington, 1981.

National Gay Rights Coalition of New Zealand, National Gay Rights Coalition of New Zealand, National Gay Rights Coalition of New Zealand, Auckland, 1978.

New Zealand AIDS Foundation, Living well with HIV: Piki te ora. NZAF, Te Tūāpapa Mate Āraikore o Aotearoa, Wellington, 2017.

Kaleidoscope World

Wednesday, January 19th, 2022 | Hocken Collections | 1 Comment

Post researched and written by Amanda Mills. Curator Music and AV, and Katherine Milburn, Curator Ephemera.

Kaleidoscope World: 40 Years of Flying Nun in Dunedin explores the Flying Nun scene in Dunedin – from the early origins with The Enemy through to the contemporary local music scene which looks beyond Flying Nun. The exhibition pulls material from across the Hocken’s rich collections as well as some iconic and visually arresting loans from people central to the music scene, while also featuring a commissioned artwork by Robert Scott (The Clean, The Bats). This blog post highlights three works featured in the exhibition.

The central exhibition image is the collage of a one-eyed cherub holding a record, created by Ian Dalziel for the tenth anniversary of Flying Nun Records in 1991. Dalziel used the collage for the commemorative card set, taking original images of a cherub, hair, and an eyeball from the 1978 Harters Picture Archive for Collage and Illustration, compiled by Jim Harter, and the image of a record from a magazine ad. The collage was again used on a 1991 New Year’s Eve Flying Nun gig poster at Christchurch’s Dux de Luxe, this time adding solar and lunar elements designed by Alec Bathgate (The Enemy, Toy Love, Tall Dwarfs). The cherub has become an iconic image associated with Flying Nun – it was used to heavily promote the label’s 25th anniversary and has more recently been re-imagined as a t-shirt motif.

Ian Dalziel, (b.1957), The Original Collage, 1991, collage and ink on paper, 135 x 135mm, Hocken Collections Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago, V2015.14.1. Given by Warwick Eade, 2015. Part of the artwork Commissioned for Flying Nun Records, on the occasion of their 10th anniversary. Permission to use kindly granted by Ian Dalziel and Flying Nun Records.

Conceived by Stephen Hall-Jones, Social Activities Manager for the Otago University Students’ Association, and strikingly brought to life on a poster by artist Robert Scott, ‘mutant hillbillies’ was a memorable and successful 1990 Orientation theme. With his friend Michael Tull, Hall-Jones introduced the full story in a calendar where each page depicted a hillbilly family member. (The Hocken would be very grateful for a donation of this calendar should anyone have one spare.) The poster advertised a 12-night programme of events described by Critic as ‘…a veritable feast for those people who are into New Zealand music’. Robert Scott was not only the poster artist that year, but he also performed as a member of two of the drawcard bands: The Clean and The Bats.

‘Mutant Hillbilly Orientation 1990’ Dunedin: Otago University Students’ Association, 1990. Eph-0069-LG-D-03/01 Posters collection, Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago. Permission to use kindly granted by OUSA.

For Flying Nun’s 15th anniversary in 1996, the label commissioned five musicians signed to the label (who were also visual artists) to create a limited-edition artwork, an etching on a 7” vinyl disc with an accompanying label on the reverse side of the disc. These discs featured no music and were designed purely as collectable promotional items. There was no specific brief, and each artist – Alec Bathgate, Chris Knox, Sean O’Reilly, David Mitchell, and Hamish Kilgour – created an etching from their imaginations, which were quirky, abstract, or lurid. Alec Bathgate created a whimsical illustration, a guitar playing figure seemingly hovering over volcanos, with the Auckland cityscape behind it. Bathgate remembers there being nothing meaningful in the illustration, as he recalls “I was just asked to contribute something and came up with that!”

Alec Bathgate. “Flying Nun Records 1981-1996: 15th anniversary label and etching.” Flying Nun Records, 1996. Hocken music collections Rec-S 3091. Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago. Permission to use kindly granted by Flying Nun Records and Alec Bathgate.

Keen to see and hear more? Come and visit Kaleidoscope World: 40 Years of Flying Nun in Dunedin at Hocken Collections, open until 19 March 2022. Open to the public, Monday to Saturday from 10am-5pm. 90 Anzac Ave, Dunedin, (03) 479-8868, or www.otago.ac.nz/hocken

In the Hocken Gallery: Pōkai Whenua, Pōkai Moana by Bridget Reweti

Monday, October 4th, 2021 | Hocken Collections | 1 Comment

Post written by Collections Assistant Nick Austin

It was the Hocken’s pleasure, and good fortune, to host the karakia whakatuwhera – opening blessing – for the exhibition Pōkai Whenua, Pōkai Moana by 2020-2021 Frances Hodgkins Fellow Bridget Reweti (Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi Te Rangi), here in our gallery just prior to August’s lockdown. University of Otago Māori Chaplain Dr Helen Papuni led karakia through the gallery, followed by kōrero and waiata to welcome the exhibition and pay acknowledgements. It was great that so many guests from out of town were able to attend this special evening.

Bridget Reweti and Hocken Librarian Sharon Dell at Pōkai Whenua, Pōkai Moana opening. Photograph: Sharron Bennett

Professor Robert Jahnke speaks at Pōkai Whenua, Pōkai Moana opening. Photograph: Sharron Bennett

Sarah Hudson, Bridget Reweti, Erena and Unaiki Arapere, and Terri Te Tau at Pōkai Whenua, Pōkai Moana opening. Photograph: Sharron Bennett

The title of Bridget’s exhibition, Pōkai Whenua, Pōkai Moana, recognises two of the names of Tamatea, a principal ancestor of the Takitimu waka, who explored areas in Aotearoa including Tauranga Moana, the artist’s turangawaewae, and Murihiku, the southern part of Te Waipounamu (South Island). As Bridget writes in her exhibition wall text: “I use this connection to my tipuna who travelled over lands and seas to locate myself as a Tauranga Moana artist within Ngāi Tahu mana whenua.” It is this whakapapa that underpins the four series of works in the exhibition.

Bridget uses photography in ways that you have probably never seen before. In the series Kapo Wairua, she has produced photograms of x-ray-like details of migratory seabirds – tītī (sooty shearwater), toroa (albatross), kuaka (godwit) – onto stones cut flat on one side: pounamu (greenstone), onewa (basalt), kōkawa (andesite), pakohe (argillite). From an accompanying wall text by Matariki Williams we learn of the symbolism of birds’ departure and return, in the Māori world. For example: “Roimata toroa is a well-known Ngāti Porou tukutuku pattern that references the excreting of saline from the nostrils of these seafaring birds and is a constant reminder of necessary preparation when undertaking long journeys.” There is a haunting presence to these works that is potently summed up by the writer: “[T]hese birds compel us to always remember those who have gone before us, those who have made their haerenga to Rerenga Wairua, those for whom we continue to long […]”.

(L-R) through the fog it came and the silence of the sea (for Sarah), 2021, pounamu plate negatives. Photograph: Justin Spiers

Georgina May Young viewing after Fiona, 2021, toroa skull photogram on basalt. Photograph: Justin Spiers

It makes sense then that certain people from Bridget’s artistic whānui, some of whom have passed away, are paid tribute within works’ titles. On this note, the thoughts of many people in Ōtepoti Dunedin have recently been with Marilynn Webb (Ngāti Kahu, Te Roroa), a much-loved and influential artist who spent most of her artistic life in this town. Marilynn passed away just days after Bridget’s exhibition opened. As a mihi to Marilynn, when installing the exhibition Bridget chose to present three works by Webb on the mezzanine level outside the Hocken Gallery, from her 1980 Aramoana Fossil series.

Ghostly images combined with tactile materials are used again by Bridget in another series Summering on Lakes Te Anau and Manapouri. Last summer she travelled with friends into Fiordland to trace the movements, evident in landscape photographs from 1889, of Alfred Burton of the famed Dunedin-based firm Burton Brothers. She re-recorded Burton’s views with a conciousness of there being lore – placenames and histories long held by mana whenua, Ngāi Tahu whānui – that he would not have known. As a gesture to this gap in understanding of place, Bridget has coloured her photographs with the pigments of whenua from those very places, given to her by local people.

4870 – LIVING THE DREAM, 2021, whenua coloured silver gelatin photograph. Courtesy of artist

Summering on Lakes Te Anau and Manapouri series in Pōkai Whenua, Pōkai Moana. Photograph: Justin Spiers

Rauhina Scott-Fyfe viewing How to drain a swamp series in Pōkai Whenua, Pōkai Moana. Photograph: Justin Spiers

There is a strong sense of whanaungatanga – kinship – in every aspect of Bridget’s work here, from production to exhibition. Whakapapa too, not only in the sense of familial and artistic genealogies but in there being all sorts of layers of, or connections between, land and people, images and materials. An immaterial presence within the gallery is somehow articulated by the audio recording of taonga pūoro played by Alistair Fraser that accompanies the large moving image work, Like a rock against the tide. These atmospheric sounds float through the gallery’s open doors as a gentle but persistent entreaty: you should come in.

Still from Like a rock against the tide, 2021, HD Moving Image with sound

Pōkai Whenua, Pōkai Moana is open (in Level 2!) Monday – Saturday, 10am -5pm, until 30 October at the Hocken Gallery, 90 Anzac Ave, Ōtepoti Dunedin.

Naming the Unknown Soldier

Thursday, April 23rd, 2020 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

​Post by Anna Petersen, Curator Photographs

These past twenty years have certainly proved a boon time for putting names to previously unidentified photographs of people and places.  As cultural institutions and private individuals all over the world continue to digitise their collections and create searchable databases, new information emerges on a daily basis that brings new life to images formerly prone to be cast aside.

Recently the Hocken received one such portrait of a soldier.  The donor had come upon it in the SPCA Op Shop at North East Valley, Dunedin, and could not bear to leave the strapping young man to oblivion.  The back of the print offered no clues as to his identity and all the Op Shop keeper knew was that the photograph came from a house in Waitati.

The donor, Marinus La Rooij, who happens to be an Otago history graduate, then made it a mission to discover all he could about the man’s identity.  Firstly he reached out to the Facebook group, Unknown Warriors of the NZEF, sending them a cell phone snap of the photograph. From the C,7 written on the military cap badge, they were able to link the soldier to the Canterbury Battalion, Seventh Reinforcement, which enlisted in mid-1915, went to Suez and moved on to the Western Front.[1]

Matching other known portraits from relatives, it did not take long for the Facebook group also to provide the soldier’s name and army registration number as Robert William’ Leslie’ Wilson 6/2962.  Equipped with these crucial details, the donor was then free to search and find Private Lesley’s army service file online at Archives NZ.[2]

As it turned out, this person was not a local lad but the son of William and Margaret Wilson of Belfast in Canterbury.  He worked as a farmer in Belfast before enlisting in the army at the age of 21.  Leslie Wilson had dark brown hair and blue eyes and, though smaller than he perhaps looks in his photograph standing just 5’4″, was deemed fit and ready for service.  Sadly, like so many other fine young men whom we pause to remember on ANZAC Day, Robert William Leslie Wilson died far from home, of wounds received in action at the Battle of the Somme in 1916.  He was just 23 years old.[3]

Thanks to our donor, a copy of this portrait has now been uploaded to Robert Wilson’s record on the Auckland War Memorial Museum’s Online Cenotaph database, where you can leave him a virtual poppy here.

And the original photograph is now safely housed in the Hocken Photographs Collection and readily accessible to researchers under the reference number, P2020-011.

[1] Email from the donor, 22 March 2020.

[2] Email from the donor, 23 March 2020.

[3] AABK 18805 W5557 0124077 R22021950, Archives New Zealand Te Rua Mahara o te Kawanatanga, Wellington, New Zealand. https://ndhadeliver.natlib.govt.nz/delivery/DeliveryManagerServlet?dps_pid=IE21241794 ​

 

 

 

 

Delightful and Enchanting Things: Some Impressions of a Hocken Collections Exhibition

Monday, August 5th, 2019 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

Post researched and written by Andrew Lorey, Collections Assistant (Researcher Services)

Things! They are everywhere! From the beds that we sleep in to the clothes that we wear to the keyboards that we touch, we interact with a greater number and diversity of things on a day-to-day basis than the number and diversity of people with whom we work and live. Though we might not often reflect upon the subtle ways that things impact our daily lives or the powers of things to affect our emotions and moods, we experience the physicality and the material presence of things during every moment of our lives.

Artworks and objects on display in the central ‘Blue Room’ of A Garden of Earthly Delights. Photograph by Iain Frengley.

A Garden of Earthly Delights, an exhibition on view at the Hocken Collections|Te Uare Taoka o Hākena between 11 May 2019 and 11 August 2019, encourages us to think not only about things but with them and through them. Curators at the Hocken Collections collaborated with 13 University of Otago departments and Dunedin cultural institutions to assemble over 180 artworks, photographs, teaching models, books, articles of clothing, rocks, fossils, pieces of furniture and other objects, and the resulting exhibition, in the words of Pictorial Collections Head Curator Robyn Notman, aims “to stimulate ideas and associations that may not always be made between such a diverse group of natural and human-made objects” [1].

Advertising poster created in conjunction with A Garden of Earthly Delights. Design by Erin Broughton.

Articles, interviews and reviews published by media outlets throughout New Zealand have enabled Notman and other Hocken staff members to explain the motivations and intentions behind the exhibition [2] [3] [4] [5], but few of these published accounts have discussed the particular effects and associations created by interacting with specific objects on display. Indeed, it is difficult to capture in words the profound ways that material objects and artworks can captivate an exhibition’s viewers or spark people’s imaginations. Because no two people have had the same life experiences, forged the same memories or viewed the world in exactly the same way, things have great powers and potentials to elicit emotional responses and to convey various forms of knowledge.

The Neanderthal bust on loan from the University of Otago Archaeology Programme confronts exhibition visitors as they enter the Hocken Collections Gallery. Photograph by Iain Frengley.

Upon entering A Garden of Earthly Delights for the first time, I was confronted by the immediacy and tangibility of the multitude of things that were on display. For instance, a plaster bust of a male Neanderthal (Homo neanderthalensis) greeted me as I entered through the Gallery door. An extinct species of human that coexisted and interbred with anatomically modern people (Homo sapiens), Neanderthals have captured the popular imagination for over a century [6] [7]. Archaeological and genetic discoveries over the last 20 years have dramatically changed our understanding of Neanderthals’ ancestral relationships to modern humans [8] [9], and commercial interests as specialised as perfume manufacturers have sought to capitalise on our cultural fascination with ‘cave-men’ and ‘cave-women’ [10]. Positioned at waist-level height and staring directly at me when I walked in, the Neanderthal felt like a gracious host who was welcoming me into his place of abode.

Used by the University of Otago’s Department of Anthropology as a teaching model, this particular Neanderthal cast has lost much of its contextual information. Its exhibition label identifies its maker as ‘Unknown’ and provides a date of creation as ‘c. 1975’ [11]. Some people might think that this lack of information could discourage exhibition visitors from engaging with the bust, but the scarcity of contextual knowledge about the Neanderthal cast actually helped me to reflect on the actual undertaking of archaeological and anthropological research. By reading the exhibition label and then looking at and thinking about the bust, I was having an experience similar to that of an archaeologist discovering an artefact or bone that has been buried under the surface of the Earth. I did not know who made this plaster cast, where it came from or how old it was, but I knew what it was and how it made me feel. In thinking about this material object, I was able to better understand the difficulties and limitations of academic research in archaeology and anthropology.

Nestled in the corner of the ‘Blue Room’, George R. Chance’s Karearea depicts an endemic New Zealand bird in all its grandeur. Photograph by Iain Frengley.

Moving away from the Neanderthal bust and into a different corner of the Hocken Collections gallery space, I was drawn to a large-format photographic print of a kārearea (New Zealand falcon; Falco novaeseelandiae) [12]. Measuring 200 x 115 cm, the print depicts the kārearea at approximately 5x its actual size. The print’s coexistence with other artworks and objects within the gallery space, including larger-than-life botanical teaching models and nearby paintings by Frances Hodgkins and Robin White, helped me to become aware of the tensions that exist between natural and human-made environments. George Roger Chance, the son of a prominent New Zealand-based photographer, captured this image of a falcon around Flagstaff or Mount Allan (localities north of Dunedin), suggesting that this particular kārearea must also have been keenly aware of its coexistence with humans and their material-cultural creations [13].

The simple black-and-white colouring and the central positioning of the falcon in the photograph also encouraged me to stop and contemplate the things that this kārearea may have been feeling or thinking when its photograph was taken. What would it be like to spend my days gliding through the skies under the strength of my own body? What would I do if I had powers of eyesight that allowed me to spot a rabbit in a paddock at a distance of 16 kilometres (the human equivalent of a falcon’s eyesight)? These are just a couple of the questions that crossed my mind when I stopped to think about the photograph in front of me.

Beyond the biological wonders of the falcon depicted in the print, the seemingly straightforward title of the work – Karearea (New Zealand falcon) – also encouraged me to stop and reflect. Because it refers to the falcon in both te Reo Māori and English, the print reminds anyone who sees it to consider the importance of biculturalism and to appreciate the fact that the same thing – in this case, a bird – can represent very different things to different people. After all, tangata whenua formed ideas about and associations with kārearea throughout Aotearoa and Te Waipounamu long before New Zealanders began to ‘scientifically’ understand, classify and interpret the ecological importance of New Zealand falcons [14]. In this case, a photograph – the thing that was in front of me – caused me to think beyond myself, to imagine and to realise my own personal position within a larger world.

These two embroidered skirts were made by Louise Sutherland, a famous long-distance cyclist who was the first person to cycle the Trans-Amazonian Highway. Photograph by Iain Frengley.

Entering into one of the exhibition’s smaller rooms, I noticed a pair of brightly coloured hand-embroidered skirts hanging together against the backdrop of a pink wall. Even at first glance, it was clear that the skirts were something more than clothing. Delicate butterflies, multi-coloured flowers, animals, rainclouds and sunbeams adorn these skirts, and a lone cyclist traverses both pieces of clothing. The nearby exhibition label explained that Louise Sutherland, a famous New Zealand cyclist and nurse, made the skirts to commemorate a 4,400-km journey that she took through the Amazonian rainforest [15]. After becoming the first person to cycle the Trans-Amazonian Highway, Sutherland spent several years giving lectures in order to raise funds to establish a health clinic in Humaitá, Brazil, usually wearing the eye-catching skirts in order to capture the attention of her audiences.

Having learned a little more about the skirts from reading the exhibition label, I suddenly understood that many layers of meaning and of memory were woven into the fabric of these beautiful things. Of course, the embroidered designs visually told the story of a New Zealand woman who defied all odds by cycling over 4,400 kilometres through a dangerous and wild environment, but the skirts themselves were also physical and material testaments to the efforts Louise made to create them and to educate people about the needs of impoverished communities in the Amazon [16]. Through their stunning visual qualities and their lively histories of use, the skirts gained a particular dynamism and power that helped transport me to Brazil and enabled me to imagine what it must have been like for Sutherland to have undertaken her journey over 40 years ago.

A selection of illustrations and objects on display in the ‘Pink Room’ of A Garden of Earthly Delights, showing the large wooden table on loan from the University of Otago Department of Geology. Photograph by Iain Frengley.

Turning away from the embroidered skirts, I began to observe the other artworks and objects that were on display in the Garden of Earthly Delights. I noticed a variety of botanical illustrations on the walls around me, some anatomical drawings and models and a long table in the centre of the room which supported a large book and about 10 papier-mâché botanical models. As I walked around this section of the gallery, I gradually became aware of the fact that the unassuming table greatly affected my physical impressions of the space. Furniture might just represent the most underappreciated class of material things that we encounter in our lives. After all, we spend most of our time sitting in chairs, sleeping in beds, setting meals on tables and working at desks. We more often think of furniture in terms of its function rather than its form or visual beauty, and as a result, we frequently overlook the ways that furniture items can memorialise and embody particular lived experiences, emotions and feelings.

Measuring 242 x 112 x 78 cm, the rectangular table is one of the largest things on display in the exhibition, and it is much more than a piece of carved wood on which to place artworks and objects. It seemed slightly unremarkable at first, due to its lack of decoration and its plainness in comparison to the vibrant illustrations and intriguing objects that surrounded it, and it was also one of the few objects in the exhibition that was not accompanied by a descriptive label [17]. Looking more closely, I realised that the table was not actually plain or undecorated – hundreds of signatures, messages and other types of graffiti adorned its surfaces. It then occurred to me that in the context of this exhibition, this graffiti was not merely a material manifestation of vandalism or some rebellious compulsion. Rather, it seemed to represent a type of crowd-sourced decoration and artistry that had required years of labour, perhaps undertaken in stolen moments when no authorities could intervene. Memories, feelings, frustrations and follies had been inscribed into this table over its decades of use, and therefore the table represented not only a piece of furniture designed to fulfil a particular function but also a material expression of many different aspects of human experience.

Some of the objects, illustrations and artworks on display in the ‘Green Room’ of A Garden of Earthly Delights. Photograph by Iain Frengley.

Each of the things described in this blog post – the Neanderthal bust, the kārearea photograph, the embroidered skirts and the large table – tell different stories about the people who made them, the places they travelled and the ideas that they express. By displaying them in association with the other 180 artworks and objects in A Garden of Earthly Delights, exhibition visitors are given innumerable opportunities to consider things in new ways, often thinking alongside, with and through the things on display. In this way, the exhibition encourages gallery visitors to think creatively and playfully about the world around them. For me, the exhibition served as a powerful reminder that our material surroundings affect us during every moment of our lives, whether we consciously observe them or not. This realisation has stuck with me long after my visit to A Garden of Earthly Delights, and it offered me both a new way of thinking and a new way of thinging.

The entrance to A Garden of Earthly Delights, located on the First Floor of the Hocken Collections. Design by Erin Broughton.

A Garden of Earthly Delights is open for viewing in the Hocken Collections’ First Floor Gallery at 90 Anzac Avenue until 11 August 2019 Monday through Saturday from 10am to 4pm and Sunday, 11 August 2019, from 2pm to 4pm.

 

[1] Otago Bulletin Board (2019). Uni News – Art and science come together in exhibition. https://www.otago.ac.nz/otagobulletin/news/otago710920.html.

[2] Davies, Caroline (2019). Inside the Hocken: A Garden of Earthly Delights. Down in Edin Magazine. 17(July 2019), 60-75.

[3] Notman, Robyn (2019). Sculpture in kauri gift from McCahons. Otago Daily Times: The Weekend Mix. 08 June 2019, page 6.

[4] Otago Daily Times Online (2019). Exhibition more of a ‘garden’ adventure. https://www.odt.co.nz/entertainment/arts/exhibition-more-garden-adventure.

[5] Exploring Colour (2019). A Garden of Earthly Delights. https://exploringcolour.wordpress.com/2019/05/30/a-garden-of-earthly-delights/.

[6] Sommer, Marianne (2006). Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Neanderthal as Image and ‘Distortion’ in Early 20th-Century French Science and Press. Social Studies of Science. 36(2), 207-240. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0306312706054527.

[7] Pääbo, Svante (2014). Neanderthal Man: In Search of Lost Genomes. London: Hachette UK.

[8] Slon et al. (2018). The genome of the offspring of a Neanderthal mother and a Denisovan father. Nature. 561, 113-116.

[9] D’Errico et al. (1998). Neanderthal Acculturation in Western Europe? A Critical Review of the Evidence and Interpretation. Current Anthropology. Supplement to Vol. 39, S1-S44.

[10] Aude Ltd, a British fragrance company, recently released a unisex fragrance called ‘Neandertal’. The company’s website (https://neandertal.co.uk/) states that the ‘perfume imagines the life of this mysterious being [the Neanderthal] while raising questions of the past and future of modern humans’. I wonder what the perfume smells like…

[11] The full exhibition label for the Neanderthal bust reads:

Maker Unknown
[Neanderthal bust], c. 1975
Plaster
Early hominid/human cast collection, Archaeology Programme
Department of Anthropology, University of Otago School of Social Sciences

[12] You can learn more about the kārearea/New Zealand falcon at the New Zealand Department of Conservation|Te Papa Atawhai’s website: https://www.doc.govt.nz/nature/native-animals/birds/birds-a-z/nz-falcon-karearea/.

[13] The full exhibition label for the kārearea photograph reads:

George R. Chance, 1916-2008, Aotearoa
Karearea (New Zealand falcon), c. 1970
Gelatin silver print
Given by the photographer in 1991
Hocken Photographs Collection P2018-013-009

George Chance (junior) made a study of these falcons in the 1970s and later participated in the making of a documentary entitled ‘Karearea: the Pine Falcon’, which was directed by Sandy Crichton and released in 2008. This particular bird was a local that used to fly between Flagstaff and Mount Allen. George Chance made a number of very large prints like this one using his own enlarger, a Durst 600. A second copy of this photograph was hung in the Hall of Birds at the Otago Museum when John Darby was a curator there.

The photograph hung on the first floor of Cargill House until 1991, and was then deposited at the Department of Zoology at the University of Otago and now resides at the Hocken.

[14] Te Ara | The Encylopedia of New Zealand provides two traditional Māori sayings that refer to the kārearea. The first suggests that the behaviour of the kārearea could indicate upcoming changes in the weather, while the second demonstrates that the falcon was traditionally viewed as bold, treacherous and possibly even as an enemy:

Ka tangi te kārewarewa ki waenga o te rangi pai, ka ua āpōpō.
Ka tangi ki waenga o te rangi ua, ka paki āpōpō.
When a kārearea screams in fine weather, next day there’ll be rain.
When it screams in the rain, next day will be fine.
https://teara.govt.nz/en/nga-manu-birds/page-4
and
Homai te kāeaea kia toro-māhangatia
Ko te kāhu te whakaora – waiho kia rere ana!
The kārearea must be snared
And the kāhu saved – let it fly on!
https://teara.govt.nz/en/nga-manu-birds/page-5

 

[15] Sutherland, Louise (1982). The Impossible Ride: The Story of the First Bicycle Ride across the Amazon Jungle. London: Southern Cross Press.

[16] Wall, Bronwen (2010). Louise Sutherland: Spinning the Globe. Wellington: Kennett Brothers.

[17] The table is briefly described as follows in a notation on an exhibition label primarily devoted to botanical models:

A note on the table. Presumably this large work table was left in the Department of Geology when the Medical School moved out in the mid-1920s, thus it technically became ‘the Geology work table’ around this time, but came into existence [sic] many years before. Sporting nearly a century of graffiti carved by myriad generations of geology students, it represents the vast and colourful histories of the many departments in this exhibition that host research collections.

 

Louise Menzies: In an orange my mother was eating (16 February – 30 March 2019)

Monday, April 1st, 2019 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

Post researched and written by Nick Austin, a General Assistant at the Hocken. He was the 2012 Frances Hodgkins Fellow and presented the exhibition The Liquid Dossier (16 February – 13 April 2013) at the Hocken Gallery.

Sitting and reading. These verbs take on a vocational significance at the Hocken; users of our material are called ‘readers’, after all. Louise Menzies’ exhibition at the Hocken gallery, called In an orange my mother was eating turned aspects of her research activity, as the 2018 Frances Hodgkins Fellow, into a ‘family’ of related artworks. Some of these works are paper-based, and most have text in them. Every one, though, is a kind of ‘material meditation’ variously on artists and their legacies – and other items of ephemera – some of which she encountered over the twelve months she lived in Dunedin and read at the Hocken.

In the main gallery, a sky-blue shelf ran the full length of the longest wall. On its ledge,  24 individual sheets of paper, hand-made by Menzies. Adhered to each of these sheets is a risographed facsimile of one of two intimately related texts. One of these is a colouring-in book called The Lone Goose by the artist Joanna Margaret Paul (1945 – 2003). Published in 1979 by Dunedin-based McIndoe Press, it is an elliptical sort of story about the imagined friends of a goose waddling around our city’s Southern Cemetery. Paul complements her text with suitably – and wonderfully – provisional line drawings.

Louise Menzies, The Lone Goose (detail) 2019 Inkjet and risograph prints set in handmade paper Book pages: The Lone Goose by Joanna Margaret Paul, (Dunedin: McIndoe, 1979). With thanks to the Joanna Margaret Paul estate; Correspondence relating to The Lone Goose: MS-3187/058, Hocken Collections – Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

Louise Menzies, The Lone Goose (installation view) 2019, Inkjet and risograph prints set in handmade paper

While researching Hocken’s holdings of Paul material (we have quite a lot[i]), Menzies mistakenly requested a manuscript from our archives stack. Serendipitously, it contained correspondence between various players on the subject of The Lone Goose’s distribution. This cache of letters is the second text in Menzies’ work. On one hand, representatives from McIndoe’s distributors, Reed, just do not ‘get’ Paul’s book: “I fear the reps are going to be laughed out of the shops if they try and sell it.” But in response, Brian Turner (yes, the poet) in his capacity as Paul’s editor, is clearly peeved: “… I guess we [at McIndoe] do not move in the real world, as your reps do, and can hide our embarrassment at being ‘arty’.” While the letters present a bleakly familiar story of an artwork’s failure to lift-off in the marketplace (that the book is not exactly an artwork, does not really matter here), Menzies’ work is not depressing – it represents a significant new generation of Paul admirers.

Louise Menzies, The Lone Goose (detail) 2019 Inkjet and risograph prints set in handmade paper

It is easy to sense Paul’s importance to Menzies. (The title of the exhibition is a line from a Paul poem.) Both artists use language as a material to give form to thought. The way Paul’s work – her drawing, painting, film-making, writing – absorbs and reflects the places, people, things around her, is of high interest to Menzies. Paul was a Frances Hodgkins Fellow in 1983 so there is a kind of genealogical thread that connects them, too.

Frances Hodgkins. Given the reflexivity of this exhibition, it was sort of a no-brainer for Menzies to use Hodgkins (1869 – 1947) as a subject. It is surprising, though, how she did it. In one of the gallery’s side rooms sat three chairs: one a type you would see in halls and meeting rooms, dating from possibly the 1980s; one, a three-legged stool from about the 1960s; the other a contemporary type of adjustable office chair, with the brand name Studio on the rear of its back. This furniture shares the same provenance – all three were relocated from the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship studio, which is just across the road from the Hocken – and Menzies re-upholstered them in identical fabric.

Louise Menzies, Untitled (textile design no. II), 1925 (installation view) 2018 Digital print on textile

Louise Menzies, Untitled (textile design no. II), 1925 (detail) 2018 Digital print on textile

In the 1920s, Hodgkins was actively considering her return to NZ when, after years of struggle, she was offered a financial reprieve: a job in Manchester as a textile designer. While there are few extant examples of actual Hodgkins textiles (a silk handkerchief is held at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery), several of her gouache sketches are held at Te Papa. Menzies has printed the chairs’ fabric with one of these (digitally adapted) designs. Her work is named after its source, Untitled (textile design no. II), 1925. While the chairs serve as a memorial to the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship’s titular artist, they’re also a reminder of the stationary fact that every artist needs to make a buck somehow.[ii]

One thing that is different for an artist’s viability in the 21stCentury is the sheer number of residencies available to them. While the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship at the University of Otago remains one of the most generous offered in NZ (12 months on a Lecturer’s salary; free studio), this country’s artists frequently travel the world to participate in residency programs. In 2014, Menzies was invited to do a residency and exhibition at the University of Connecticut Art Gallery. During her six-week visit, she worked with the Alternative Press Collection (one of the largest collections of its type in the USA) within the Thomas J. Dodd’s Research Center. Over a much longer period, a resultant publication gestated. In fact, Menzies used the first part of her Hodgkins Fellowship to complete it.

Image: (publication cover) design by Narrow Gauge, images courtesy of Allan Smith, George Watson, Alternative Press Collection, Archives & Special Collections, University of Connecticut Library.

Time to think like a mountain, the finished book, was a segue into a publication-project that marked Menzies’ time as the Hodgkins Fellow. Coinciding with her Hocken exhibition and the end of her residency, Menzies and designer Matthew Galloway produced a calendar with source material from the Hocken’s Ephemera Collection. Each of Menzies’ calendar’s pages features an image of a calendar page from a past year whose dates fell on the same days as the present month’s. In yet another reflexive nod, Menzies’ calendar runs from February 2019 to January 2020 (the chronology of months over which the Fellowship takes place)… but the elegance of the idea is better explained with images:

Louise Menzies 2019 (detail) 2018 12-page calendar

Louise Menzies 2019 (detail) 2018 12-page calendar

Louise Menzies 2019 (detail) 2018 12-page calendar

It is fascinating how Menzies rematerialised different sources from the Hocken Collections as art; how she used her Fellowship as a subject; how she shows that time is not linear.

A video work that shares its title with the exhibition’s the video has many, intriguingly related, parts: an image of Paul’s son, Pascal, sitting for the camera; a soundtrack of the Ornette Colman song, The Empty Foxhole, featuring his then-10-year old son on drums; intertitles that contain a transcript of the complete Paul poem from which the exhibition took its name; an anecdote involving Menzies’ daughter…

Louise Menzies In an orange my mother was eating (installation view) 2019 Digital video, 3 min 21 sec

All photography unless otherwise credited: Iain Frengley

[i] We have nearly five hundred Paul items, including her paintings, drawings and sketchbooks.

[ii] Or, as another expatriate NZ artist has put it, “The artist has to live like everybody else.”

 

Between the Sheets: Gems from the Hocken sheet music collection

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

References.

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

IT WAS TWENTY YEARS AGO TODAY…Commemorating the Ngāi Tahu Treaty settlement

Monday, November 20th, 2017 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

Post researched and written by Scott Campbell, Collections Assistant

Otago Daily Times, 22 November 1997, p3. “Ngai Tahu claims manager Anake Goodall points out the dotted line to Ngai Tahu chief negotiator Sir Tipene O’Regan, while Prime Minister Jim Bolger looks on. Minister in charge of Treaty of Waitangi negotiations Doug Graham adds his signature beside them.” The event happened at Kaikōura

On 21 November 1997, representatives of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and the Crown gathered at Takahanga Marae in Kaikōura to sign the Ngāi Tahu Deed of Settlement. A copy of the Deed of Settlement occupies a good foot of shelf space in the Hocken’s publications stack. What was it all about? Why is the settlement significant? How can one learn more about it?

The signing of the Ngāi Tahu Deed of Settlement marked a milestone in the evolution of the relationship between Ngāi Tahu[1] and the Crown. For many years the Crown, in its relationship with Ngāi Tahu, had failed to uphold the standards required of a partner to the Treaty of Waitangi. Finally, as its representatives inked their names on the Deed, the Crown was making a commitment to doing something to make up for that.

Today is a day for New Zealanders to acknowledge Ngāi Tahu whānui past, present and future. The anniversary of the signing of the Ngāi Tahu Deed of Settlement provides an opportunity to remember the painful past, to pay tribute to the hard work and sacrifices made by generations of Ngāi Tahu to reach a settlement, and to celebrate the successes of Ngāi Tahu over the last 20 years. And even though the historical Treaty claims of Ngāi Tahu have been settled, the Treaty partnership and the responsibilities that go with it remain as important today as ever. Through reflection on the past, this anniversary also provides us with an opportunity to think about the mahi we can do to continue strengthening the Treaty partnership over the next twenty year period and beyond.

The Ngāi Tahu Treaty settlement – what is it, and why is it significant?

The signing of the Ngāi Tahu Deed of Settlement concluded negotiations between Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and the Crown for the settlement of all Ngāi Tahu historical Treaty of Waitangi claims. The Ngāi Tahu claims against the Crown – known as Te Kerēme to Ngāi Tahu whānui – spanned a time period reaching all the way back to the 1840s. Te Kerēme concerned the devastating cultural, economic and environmental impacts that stemmed from the Crown’s purchasing of almost all of the land held by Ngāi Tahu whānui prior to 1840 – some 34.5 million acres, covering much of the South Island – without honouring the promises it made to Ngāi Tahu when negotiating the purchases.

The Deed of Settlement recorded the agreements made between the Crown and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu during settlement negotiations. As part of the settlement, the Crown would make a formal apology to Ngāi Tahu whānui for its historical actions that breached the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles. The text of the Crown’s apology, recorded in the Deed in te reo Māori and English, acknowledged that the Crown “acted unconscionably and in repeated breach of the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi in its dealings with Ngāi Tahu in the purchases of Ngāi Tahu land.” The apology text went on to express the Crown’s profound regret and unreserved apology “to all members of Ngāi Tahu Whānui for the suffering and hardship caused to Ngāi Tahu, and for the harmful effects which resulted to the welfare, economy and development of Ngāi Tahu as a tribe.”[2]

The Deed of Settlement also detailed a redress package that the Crown agreed to provide to Ngāi Tahu “in recognition of the mana of Ngāi Tahu and to discharge the Crown’s obligations to Ngāi Tahu in respect of the Ngāi Tahu Claims.” [3] The package, valued at $170 million, included transfer of Crown properties and forestry assets to Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, vesting of significant sites in Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, and provisions relating to mahinga kai. As part of the settlement, the Crown recognised the original name of New Zealand’s highest mountain, agreed to officially rename it Aoraki/Mount Cook, and agreed to return Aoraki maunga to Ngāi Tahu. Ngāi Tahu would then gift the maunga to the people of New Zealand while retaining an active and ongoing role in the management of the area.[4]

On 29 September 1998, the New Zealand Parliament passed the Ngāi Tahu Claims Settlement Act 1998. The Act enshrined in law the agreements recorded in the Ngāi Tahu Deed of Settlement and activated the settlement redress package. On 29 November 1998, Prime Minister Jenny Shipley delivered the Crown apology to Ngāi Tahu gathered at Ōnuku Marae on Banks Peninsula.

More than a decade earlier, Tipene O’Regan had addressed the Waitangi Tribunal on the traditional history and identity of Ngāi Tahu whānui. For generations of Ngāi Tahu, colonisation had more or less wiped their iwi off the map and out of the consciousness of most New Zealanders. Ngāi Tahu had suffered a perception that they were, in O’Regan’s words, “something less than Maori, as culturally impoverished.”[5] Amongst other things, the Ngāi Tahu settlement is significant for its contribution to turning that perception around.

After the settlement was finalised, Ngāi Tahu – in the words of some commentators – was “the whale that awoke”.[6] Today Ngāi Tahu are well-known as tangata whenua across most of Te Waipounamu. Ngāi Tahu institutions are strong, the iwi is empowered to exercise its kaitiaki responsibilities over the natural environment in a variety of ways, and Ngāi Tahutanga is flourishing. Ngāi Tahu commercial activities in farming, property, seafood and tourism are also booming. Last week Ngāi Tahu announced a net profit of $126.8 million for the year ending June 2017, and iwi Kaiwhakahaere Lisa Tumahai told Radio New Zealand that the iwi’s net worth had reached $1.36 billion.[7]

As well as the significances for Ngāi Tahu whānui, the Ngāi Tahu Deed of Settlement has served as an influential model for subsequent Treaty settlements. Following on from the Ngāi Tahu Deed and several other major agreements signed in the 1990s (the largest being the 1992 Fisheries Settlement and 1995 Waikato Raupatu Settlement), individual iwi and the Crown have completed a steadily increasing number of deals in the twenty-first century. As at 17 August 2017, the Crown had signed 85 deeds of settlement with different iwi.[8]

Understanding the Ngāi Tahu claims and settlement

The Ngāi Tahu Deed of Settlement was the product of lengthy direct negotiations between Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and the Crown. But the history of Te Kerēme is much much longer. Here at the Hocken Collections we are privileged to care for a wealth of material that illuminates Ngāi Tahu history and culture. Through He Kī Taurangi, the Memorandum of Understanding between Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and the University of Otago, we maintain a special relationship with Ngāi Tahu. For an overview of Ngāi Tahu material at the Hocken you can download our reference guide to Kāi Tahu Sources at the Hocken Collections. The collections contain many sources that can help us to understand Te Kerēme and its history, to understand the settlement itself, and to contextualise and critique the settlement.

Jumping straight to the more recent history of Te Kerēme, it is important to understand that the settlement negotiations followed an extensive period of Waitangi Tribunal inquiries into Ngāi Tahu grievances. The Waitangi Tribunal began investigating Te Kerēme in the late-1980s and presented its findings and recommendations in several substantial reports published in the early-1990s.

A selection of resources on the Ngāi Tahu settlement at the Hocken Collections

In addition to the Waitangi Tribunal’s published reports, the Hocken holds two large archival collections of evidence presented to the Tribunal by the Ngāi Tahu Māori Trust Board and the Crown. With a combined total of more than 700 items, these are rich collections.  As well as legal submissions they contain whakapapa, traditional histories, maps, plans and research reports on a wide variety of topics. Did you know the Crown promised to reserve land for Ngāi Tahu on Princes Street as a place to land waka? What ever happened to that? Only one way to find out…

Hocken’s published collections contain the Tribunal’s reports, the Deed of Settlement, and further items that provide insights into the settlement negotiations and the significance of the settlement itself. In addition to government briefings, iwi consultation documents and other publications directly related to the settlement negotiations, we hold many books, theses, journals and newspapers that address and analyse the Ngāi Tahu settlement and the wider processes of claims inquiries and negotiated settlements. “Are Treaty of Waitangi settlements achieving justice?” you might be asking yourself. If so, you will be glad to know that we hold a PhD thesis with a particular focus on the Ngāi Tahu settlement that addresses that very question.

Hocken’s collection of New Zealand election ephemera is another important resource for researchers seeking to understand the ways in which Treaty of Waitangi claims and settlements were represented in the wider political discussion at the time of the Ngāi Tahu settlement. Hocken Collections Assistants recently completed a project to list all items in the Hocken election ephemera collection, a collection that encompasses electioneering material dating from the beginning of the twentieth century right up to the present. The project team was struck by the frequency with which Treaty of Waitangi issues featured in electioneering material received from a broad range of candidates and parties, particularly from the 1996 and 1999 general elections. These items help paint a picture of both the importance and the controversy that was attached to deals like the Ngāi Tahu settlement at a time when Treaty settlements were a new frontier in the New Zealand political landscape.

Want to learn more? Come in and see us at the Hocken Collections. We are open Monday to Saturday, from 10am to 5pm.

For those of you that cannot visit the Hocken Collections in person, you can learn a little more about Te Kerēme and the Ngāi Tahu Treaty settlement by visiting these websites:

For more information about historical Treaty of Waitangi claims and Treaty of Waitangi settlements, check out the websites of the Waitangi Tribunal and the Office of Treaty Settlements.

[1] “Ngāi Tahu” is used in this post for consistency with the iwi name used in the documents generated by the Waitangi Tribunal and Treaty settlement processes. However, “Kāi Tahu” is commonly used in the regions south of the Waitaki River.

[2] You can read the full text of the Crown’s apology to Ngāi Tahu (as it appeared in the Ngāi Tahu Claims Settlement Act 1998) in te reo Māori here, and in English here.

[3] Parties Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and Her Majesty the Queen in right of New Zealand: Deed of Settlement, (Wellington: Office of the Minister in Charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, 1997), section 2.3.1.

[4] “Aoraki,” Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu website: http://ngaitahu.iwi.nz/ngai-tahu/the-settlement/settlement-offer/aoraki/ (accessed 20 November 2017).

[5] “Brief of evidence: Tipene O’Regan: Ka korero o mua o Kaitahu whanui,” (Wai 27, #A27).

[6] Ann Parsonson, “Ngāi Tahu – The Whale That Awoke: From Claim to Settlement (1960-1998),” in John Cookson and Graeme Dunstall (eds), Southern Capital – Christchurch – Towards a City Biography 1850-2000, (Christchurch: Canterbury University Press, 2000), p. 272.

[7] “Ngāi Tahu announces $1.26m annual profit,” Radio New Zealand website, 15 November 2017: https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/te-manu-korihi/343912/ngai-tahu-announces-126-point-8m-annual-profit (accessed 17 November 2017).

[8] “Deed of Settlement signed with Ngāti Hei,” Beehive.govt.nz website, 17 August 2017: https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/deed-settlement-signed-ng%C4%81ti-hei (accessed 17 November 2017).

 

Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori 2017

Monday, September 11th, 2017 | Anna Blackman | 2 Comments

Nā Jacinta Beckwith, Kaitiaki Mātauranga Māori

This year Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori coincides with #MahuruMāori – a reo challenge to speak Māori for the month of September. Here at Hocken and across the Libraries we continued with our kaupapa from recent years to promote rangahau Māori and this year we especially highlight Postgraduate Māori research in displays and in Postgraduate Māori research presentations at Hocken.

This morning at our opening event, we were treated with a fantastic kōrero from Te Koronga Researcher Ngahuia Mita. Ngahuia graduated with a Master’s degree in Physical Education with distinction from the School of Physical Education, Sport & Exercise Sciences last year, and then travelled to Antarctica with Professor Christina Hulbe, Kelly Gragg and Michelle Ryan under the Ross Ice Shelf Programme. Ngahuia’s kōrero was complemented by the launch of an exhibit in the Hocken Foyer celebrating Māori and Polynesian voyagers to Antarctica, displaying a range of Antarctic resources from the Hocken Collections.

Tawhana kahukura i runga, ko Hui-te-Rangiora te moana i tere ai

The rainbows span the heavens whilst Hui-te-Rangiora speeds over the oceans

Celebrating Māori and Polynesian Voyagers to Antarctica

Hui-Te-Rangiora

Rarotongan narratives and traditions of Ngāti Rārua and Te Āti Awa tell the story of a Polynesian explorer, Hui-Te-Rangiora, or, Ui-Te-Rangiora, the first to travel to the Antarctic around 650 AD. Hui-Te-Rangiora returned with stories of icebergs, naming the land: “Te Tai-Uka-a-Pia”meaning “sea foaming like arrowroot” comparing the similar characteristics of the starchy scrapings with the sheets of floating ice and snow.

Hui-Te-Rangiora remains remembered and honoured as he sits atop the whare tūpuna (ancestral house) Tūrangapeke at Te Awhina marae in Motueka, and atop the waharoa (gateway) at the entrance to Te Puna o Riuwaka (the Riuwaka Resurgence), a place he is said to have taken rest preparing himself spiritually and physically for the epic voyage to the Southern Ocean.

Tuati

The first New Zealander to enter Antarctic waters was a Māori man named Tuati, a crew member aboard the Vincennes during Lieutenant Charles Wilkes’ United States Exploring Expedition of 1839-1840. Son of a Scottish whaler Captain William Stewart and his Ngāpuhi wife, Tuati was also known as Te Atu, John Sac and John Stewart.

Tuati worked both as a seaman and as an interpreter, accompanying Wilkes when the expedition stopped in French Polynesia. In his narrative of the expedition, Wilkes describes “Tuatti” as “an excellent sailor, a very good fellow”.

The New Zealand Geographic Board commemorated Tuati’s first sighting of Antarctica by naming a peak after him in Antarctica’s Royal Society Range 150 years later.

Dr Louis Hauiti Potaka

Captain A. L. Nelson, commander of the Discovery II., welcoming Dr Potaka on embarking aboard the Discovery, en route to Little America, where he will take the place of Dr G. Shirey as medical officer to the Byrd Expedition. Evening Star, 15 February 1934, page 2, Hocken Newspapers Collection

Louis Hauiti Potaka, born at Utika, Whanganui in 1901, was the fifth Māori medical graduate in New Zealand and served as doctor for Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd’s second Antarctic expedition in 1934-1935.

Potaka studied medicine at the University of Otago from 1920-1929, graduating with his MBChB in 1930. Following graduation, he worked at Nelson Public Hospital and in Murchison. When the Byrd expedition’s original doctor was unable to winter over in Antarctica, a call went out for a replacement doctor and Potaka was selected.

In February 1934, Potaka boarded the Royal Research Society’s Discovery II, which called into Port Chalmers especially to pick him up. The vessel took him to rendezvous with the rest of the team on the Bear of Oakland in the Ross Sea before their four-day journey through pack ice to ‘Little America’.

While in Antarctica Potaka performed an emergency appendectomy, extracted teeth, conducted health checks on the team and dealt with a broken arm and frostbite. Non-medical activities included chess, movies and digging in the ice for buried items from Byrd’s first expedition, 1928-1930.

On his return to Dunedin via Byrd’s supply ship Jacob Ruppert in February 1935, he said he had enjoyed his experience but was glad to be back.

Potaka then went back to Nelson to work as a locum and Native Medical Officer for Dr Edward Coventry Bydder but the arrangement did not go well. He left to set up his own practice with support from the local community, but British Medical Association rules instructed him to leave the district to practice elsewhere. His vision was also deteriorating due to ultraviolet keratitis (snow blindness), a condition he developed while in Antarctica, and made worse by its remedy at the time – cocaine drops. His failing eyesight and unhappiness at work weighed heavily on him, leading to depression and his premature death by morphine overdose.

Two years later, his mother received the US Congressional Medal in appreciation of her son’s work for the Byrd expedition. The US Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names named an inlet after him on the north side of Thurston Island.

Randal (Ray) Murray Heke

Ministry of Works, Clerk of Works Ray Heke was part of the 1955-1958 Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition led by Sir Edmund Hillary. Heke was foreman for the construction party made up of men from the HMNZS Endeavour and the New Zealand Army, guiding the construction of New Zealand’s first Antarctic base, Scott Base, while Hillary and his team were off on their journey to the South Pole.

Originally from Waikanae, Heke, now 89 years old, was awarded the New Zealand Antarctic medal in June this year. Proud to have been one of the first Māori in the ice, of his Antarctic experience he said:

“I got on very well with Ed and he was a great leader and as leader of the construction team I got to know him very well down there. He was keeping an eye on progress and what I was doing and it was something I will always remember, being involved in his preparation to travel to the South Pole and my building the base from which he was to take off for his expedition.”            Waateanews.com, September 5, 2017

Ramon (Ray) Tito

Able Seaman Ramon Tito was also part of the 1955-1958 Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition led by Sir Edmund Hillary, voyaging to Antarctica on the HMNZS Endeavour. Tito (also named Te Tou in some accounts) officially raised the New Zealand flag at the opening of Scott Base in 1956. Recalling the event nearly 50 years later, Tito said:

“At the time we were having a beard-growing contest and because I had less hair than Jim, I got the job to raise the flag. I did not think too much of it but when I got home from that trip, everyone would say, ‘There’s the guy who put the flag up.’ Then I started thinking, maybe I did do something.” Call of the Ice, p.29

Robert J. (Bob) Sopp

Diesel engineer and fitter mechanic from Kaingaroa Forest, Wairoa, Hawke’s Bay, Bob Sopp was selected as one of twelve wintering personnel for the tenth New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition, and as part of the 1966-1967 US Operation Deep Freeze. At only 21 years of age, Sopp had complete charge of the diesel generating plant supplying all power for the base.

Sopp carved a tekoteko (figurehead) which was presented by Scott Base to the CPO Mess at McMurdo Station. The carving was inscribed:“Rurea Taitea, kia Toitū, ko Taikaka” which means to strip away the sapwood and expose the heartwood. It also means to choose friends who are dependable and steadfast. The whakataukī (proverb) acknowledged especially the journey in cultural restoration and understanding, and reflected the working culture of those in Antarctica.

Ngahuia Mita in Antarctica, with Professor Christina Hulbe, Kelly Gragg and Michelle Ryan, Summer 2016/2017. Photo courtesy of Ngahuia Mita.

Ngahuia Mita

Ko Maungahaumi te maunga
Ko Waipaoa te awa
Ko Horouta te waka
Ko Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki te iwi
Ko Ngati Wahia te hapū
Ko Mahaki te tangata
No Tūranganui-ā-Kiwa ahau
Ko Ngahuia Mita tōku ingoa.

My name is Ngahuia and I come from Te Tairāwhiti (The East Coast of the North Island). In the summer of 2016/17 I had the honour of travelling to Antarctica alongside scientists including Professor Christina Hulbe, Kelly Gragg and Michelle Ryan under the Ross Ice Shelf Programme (funded by NZARI Aotearoa). The wider purpose of the research programme is to examine the Ross Ice Shelf and its response to climate change. My role was as an intern focusing on Māori and Polynesian voyages to Antarctica and thus the whakapapa connection that we as Māori and Polynesian descendants have to the continent. The findings of this research highlight the importance of the inclusion of Māori and Polynesian voices in Antarctic research. The work of Antarctic scientists is ground-breaking and critical in understanding our planets response to climate change, a change that ultimately effects Māori, coastal communities and all of us. Therefore I believe the inclusion of mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) can only enhance these approaches. I acknowledge those who made it possible for me to experience what our tīpuna (ancestors) would have hundreds of years ago and all of the Māori Antarctic scientists, kaimahi (workers) and explorers that have gone before me.

List of items on display

Map showing some recorded voyages of the Polynesians, page 3, in Best, E. 1923. Polynesian Voyagers: The Maori as a Deep-Sea Navigator, Explorer and Colonizer, Wellington, NZ: Government Printer. Hocken Published Collection.

Captain A. L. Nelson, commander of the Discovery II., welcoming Dr Potaka on embarking aboard the Discovery, en route to Little America, where he will take the place of Dr G. Shirey as medical officer to the Byrd Expedition. Evening Star, 15 February 1934, page 2, Hocken Newspapers Collection.

National Geographic Society (U.S.) Cartographic Division. Antarctica. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, 1963. Hocken Maps Collection.

First day covers and envelopes bearing polar postmarks, H. P. Lowe Papers, Hocken Archives Collection, MS-2703/002

‘Antarctic’, New Zealand Antarctic Society quarterly news bulletin, New Zealand Alpine Club Records, Hocken Archives Collection, MS-3024/021

Photograph of Medical School Staff and Students, August 1930, University of Otago Medical School, Alumnus Association Inc. Records, MS-1537/708

List of stores loaded on the “Bear of Oakland”, 1934, Tapley Swift Shipping Agencies Limited Records, Hocken Archives Collection, MS-3165/016

‘Medical locker’ supplies list and Inward Manifest list of crew from the SS Jacob Ruppert, 1934, from Crew lists, invoices and bills of lading, H.L. Tapley and Company Limited: Papers relating to the Admiral

Byrd Expedition to the Antarctic, Hocken Archives Collection, MS-1138/003

Scrapbook relating to Byrd’s second expedition, Byrd Expedition Records, Hocken Archives Collection, AG-372/002

Photograph of Dr. Potaka uses “painless dentistry” on Corey, facing page 232, in Byrd, R. E. 1936. Antarctic Discovery. London: Putnam. Hocken Published Collection.

Photograph of PO Ramon Tito (second from left) with Sir Edmund Hillary, Sir Vivian Fuchs and PO Terry Devlin on HMNZS Endeavour, January 1958, Plate 1, in Harrowfield, D. L. 2007. Call of the ice: fifty years of New Zealand in Antarctica. Auckland, N.Z.: David Bateman. Hocken Published Collection.

Ngahuia Mita in Antarctica, with Professor Christina Hulbe, Kelly Gragg and Michelle Ryan, Summer 2016/2017. Photos courtesy of Ngahuia Mita.