Dunedin’s Hermit of Flagstaff

Monday, May 4th, 2020 | Anna Blackman | 2 Comments

Ben Rudd, Flagstaff (1924). Rudd outside his stone cottage. Hocken Collections Uare Taoka o Hākena, P1997-155/04-0738-001.

Post researched and written by Jennie Henderson, Hocken Collections Assistant.

Many of us may be feeling a bit hermit-like during New Zealand’s Covid-19 lockdown, but we are not Dunedin’s first hermits!  100 years ago, Dunedin resident Ben Rudd earned the nickname ‘The Hermit of Flagstaff’ with his reclusive habits.

Benjamin Rudd (1854-1930) was born in England, and came to Dunedin after completing a gardening apprenticeship. He worked in Dunedin as a gardener for many years, and lived on two farm properties on the slopes of Flagstaff. When he wasn’t working in town, and after his retirement from gardening, Rudd poured all his efforts into his farm – laboriously building stone fences and his hut by hand, developing extensive gardens, and lovingly caring for his animals.[1]

In this section of W.T. Neill’s 1922 map, Ben Rudd’s first farm, Woodside, can be seen. Rudd sold this farm and moved back into Dunedin to work as a gardener for Peter Dawson in 1919, but returned to a new property on the northern slopes of Flagstaff after 18 months. Topographical map showing Dunedin and vicinity / from surveys by W.T. Neill, district surveyor, [Wellington]: N Z Lands and Survey. Sourced from LINZ. Crown Copyright reserved.

Rudd and his property were often a target of vandals, thieves and larrikins, presumably due to their isolation, and perhaps also due to Rudd’s short stature and fierce responses to any threats. In the face of damage to his buildings and crops he became increasingly reclusive, suspicious of strangers, and aggressive to trespassers.

Rudd’s disputes with his tormentors often made it to court, and a colourful picture of these surprisingly violent encounters can be drawn from the newspaper reports. In 1886, Rudd was committed for trial for shooting at John Waldie with intent to kill.[2] It was reported that Waldie and a friend had ridden past Rudd’s property, and said to him “Good morning, Uncle Ben. You’re working hard”. Rudd’s response was to throw stones at them, and then to shoot at them, hitting Waldie and his horse. Rudd’s lawyer argued that the men had teased Rudd many times, and that he had only intended to scare them with the gun. At his trial, the jury found Rudd not guilty.[3]

In 1889, Rudd was found to have assaulted Susan Hornsby. When Rudd found Hornsby and her sister out walking on his land, unknowingly trespassing, he hit her on the face, grabbed her hair, and kicked her. Rudd maintained that he did not touch her, but only waved his hand near Hornsby to shoo her off his land. The court considered the charge to be proven, and Rudd was fined.[4]

In 1894, Rudd was in court again for assaulting a trespasser with a hay-fork. The attending doctor reported that Edward Thomas’s skull was fractured by Rudd’s blow. He was fined £22 and costs.[5]

In 1902, during another assault trial, Rudd’s defence counsel commented on the extent of the trespassing which so infuriated Rudd:

“…practically speaking the whole of the top of Flagstaff was Rudd’s property, part of it freehold and part leased. On holidays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Wednesdays a number of persons were frequently walking through and trespassing on his ground… Considerable damage was often done to his fence and any crop he might have.”[6]

This frustrated a local, who wrote to the newspaper in reply:

“… I have heard of Rudd and his propensities, and have always carefully avoided the enclosed selection on which he lives. Outside it there are no fences; there is nothing whatever between high roads and mountain top to suggest that the land is other than common. Am I, nevertheless, liable to Rudd’s pleasant attentions? … It would seem…so long as Ben doesn’t kick us, he may knock us about as he pleases… perhaps, he’ll strike a snag next time.”[7]

The judge presiding over the case acknowledged the problem of Rudd’s behaviour: “… it was a difficult thing to know what to do with this man, whether he should not be punished or sent to some place where he could be controlled”.[8]

It was a challenging situation for all involved.  Rudd, hugely sensitive to trespass (and violent towards the trespassers) but also the target of abuse, faced frequent incursions onto his property. One such walker actually posted an apology in the paper in 1904.[9] Inspired by this apology, a member of the public, Mr Baylie (actually Rudd’s uncle), wrote to the editor describing some of the offences against Rudd and his property, including garden implements and firewood being stolen, and on one occasion, a large stone being loosed and rolled down the hill, breaking his fences.[10] In 1907, Rudd brought trespass and assault charges against a picnicker. At the trial, Rudd’s lawyer spoke of the magnitude of the issue: “The number of trespassers averaged 100 a week. In the course of one year he had counted 16,000 trespassers on his property. He had intended to rear native birds, native trees, and game on his property, but trespassers had defeated his objects”.[11] Conversely, the lawyer for the defendant stated that Rudd “…had been a source of terror for many years to people who desired to visit Flagstaff. He had really become a menace to the safety of the public”.[12] The newspaper reports on Rudd reveal that his situation somewhat polarised the town. Many seemed to empathise with the old man who just wanted to be left alone, and others found his actions, and his desire to limit access to Flagstaff, reprehensible.[13]

While Rudd clearly had faith in the court system, he also spoke for himself by composing poems. In 1904, a photo of Rudd and his horse Kit was published with the title ‘A well-known local celebrity’. It was accompanied by a poem, by Rudd, about Kit.[14] In this poem, Rudd refers to himself as ‘a jovial soul’ who defies trouble.  He mentions ‘The folk [who] kindly greet us’ as he and Kit headed into town for supplies; this was a vastly different picture of his experiences than that painted by his appearances in the court news!  Rudd was also concerned about the ability of the working man to earn an honest living on the land, as expressed in this poem to local representative Donald Reid, and in this poem about taxes republished after his death.[15]  Rudd clearly felt the pressure of changing times encroaching on his desire for a simple farmer’s life.

Perhaps surprisingly, one group of walkers found favour with Rudd and became friends with the old man. In 1923, members of the newly formed Otago Tramping Club (now the Otago Tramping and Mountaineering Club) encountered Rudd while walking in the area. This initial meeting is recounted in the first issue of the Club’s journal, Outdoors, in 1934.[16] In spite of Rudd’s reputation, he and the Club came to an agreement that he would cut a track through the scrub for the club members to access Whare Flat, for which he was paid £5.[17] Club members regularly visited Rudd on their walks through the area.[18]

Ben Rudd with visitors (1923-1925). A photo of Rudd, possibly with members of the Otago Tramping Club. Hocken Collections Uare Taoka o Hākena, P1998-103.

O. Balk, Ben Rudd and Mrs Lessing (1924). Balk was the first president of the Otago Tramping Club. Hocken Collections Uare Taoka o Hākena, P1997-155/04-0738-002.

In February 1930, two of Rudd’s visitors found him ill in his hut.[19] It seemed that he may have been ill for some time, but was unable to go for help.  He was taken to hospital, but died there on March 2. Obituaries and reminiscences were published in the paper for some time after his death.[20]

Ben Rudd (c.1920s). Ben Rudd in his garden. Hocken Collections Uare Taoka o Hākena, P2002-045-001.

Rudd lived on in the common memory of Dunedin residents, and in landmarks. Rudd Rd ran (and runs today) off Wakari Rd and up towards to site of Ben’s first farm, Woodside.  In 1934, a correspondent to the Evening Star suggested renaming Flagstaff ‘Rudd Hill’.[21]  In 1946, the OTC purchased Rudd’s second farm on the northern slopes of Flagstaff, and runs it as a trust to this day.  They organise regular expeditions for weed control and native tree planting, and there is a shelter built near the former site of Ben’s hut.  Much of the information available about Ben Rudd has been gathered together by the OTMC in relation to the Ben Rudd Management Trust, and is published on the OTMC website.

Hocken holds archives (ARC-0338), publications, and ephemera relating to the OTMC, with special reference to Ben Rudd’s property, including:​ Friends of Ben Rudd’s newsletter, programmes of the OTMC which include details of working bees on the property, the OTMC journal Outdoors, Friends of Ben Rudd membership certificate, Annual reports of the OTMC (including the report from 1947 which first refers to the purchase of Ben Rudd’s land), and plans for a shelter to replace Ben Rudd’s hut.

This Otago Tramping Club annual report (1947) mentions the purchase of Ben Rudd’s former farm and the erection of a hut.

The Hocken Photographs collection holds a number of photographs of Rudd, such as the examples below.

Ben Rudd with Maggie Watt (c.1900). Hocken Collections Uare Taoka o Hākena, Box-027 PORT 1303.

Hermit of Flagstaff, Ben Rudd (c.1920s). Hocken Collections Uare Taoka o Hākena, P1999-033-001.

As well as writing poems himself, Ben Rudd provided inspiration for others. Charles Brasch, the famous Dunedin poet, wrote a poem ‘Ben Rudd’. It was first published in Landfall in 1957, and revised for Ambulando (1964).  The Aotearoa NZ Poetry Sound Archive has a recording of Brasch reading this poem on New Zealand poets read their work (1974). Hocken also holds a copy on LP.​ You can listen here at the poetryarchive.org.

… No one crossed his door,

No one crossed his path

For fear

Of sudden threat or oath.

 

And yet his single care

Was to keep at bay

All who might interfere

Coming to pry – …[22]

 

Dunedin author Geoff Weston also wrote a poem about Rudd, published more recently in 2005.

 

…“I’ve been once to town!” He’d’ scowl; “And that’s enough-for me.”

“I found these boots; these bloody boots;

And they’ve never been right.

They make me itch; and they make me scratch; and they make me pee;

And they’re always bloody tight!”…[23]

 

Rudd was buried in Anderson’s Bay cemetery with his uncle John Wycliffe Baylie.  He is remembered for his eccentricity, his volatile temper, his passion for nature and animals, and through his land, managed in his name to this day.

Ben Rudd’s headstone in Anderson’s Bay cemetery, Dunedin.

[1] For a wonderful image of Rudd standing by his stone walls, see Otago Witness, 3 May 1911, Page 46 (Supplement). Jane Thomson, ed., Southern People: a dictionary of Otago Southland biography, Longacre Press, Dunedin, New Zealand, 1984 describes Rudd’s method of levering individual stones into place from a sack tied around his waist like an apron.

[2] Tuapeka Times, 9 January 1886, Page 2.

[3] Evening Star, 12 April 1886, Page 2.

[4] Evening Star, 5 April 1889, Page 2.

[5] Evening Star, 23 June 1894, Page 1 (Supplement).

[6] Evening Star, 14 February 1902, Page 3.

[7] Otago Daily Times, 15 February 1902, Page 11.

[8] Evening Star, 14 February 1902, Page 3.

[9] Evening Star, 2 November 1904, Page 5.

[10] Evening Star, 7 December 1904, Page 8.

[11] Evening Star, 9 December 1907, Page 4. There is a full description of the trial, including the injuries to Rudd and the defendant, Edward Fountain, here.

[12] Evening Star, 9 December 1907, Page 4.

[13] In Evening Star, 24 June 1905, Page 9, there is a long and touching interview with ‘the strange man of the hill’ which illustrates how many Dunedin locals felt a connection to Rudd. Compare this to the unfavourable remarks in ‘Dunedin letter’, Tuapeka Times, 18 December 1907, Page 3.

[14] Otago Witness, 30 November 1904, Page 74.

[15] The editorial piece which includes to poem to Reid also mentions the death of Rudd’s horse, at his own hand, when she collapsed with old age, Evening Star, 17 March 1906, Page 2. ‘Taxes’, Evening Star, 4 March 1930, Page 7.

[16] Held at Hocken Collections.

[17] Evening Star, 12 October 1923, Page 6.

[18] For example, see Otago Daily Times, 7 October 1926, Page 4.

[19] Otago Daily Times, 24 February 1930, Page 7.

[20] ‘Obituary’, Evening Star, 3 March 1930, Page 9. For some heartfelt reminiscences, see ‘From a suburban balcony’, Evening Star, 22 March 1930, Page 2; ‘Ben Rudd, the Flagstaff Hermit’,
Otago Daily Times, 29 March 1930, Page 19.

[21] Evening Star, 27 October 1934, Page 2.

[22] Charles Brasch, ‘Ben Rudd’ from Alan Roddick, ed., Collected poems, Oxford University Press, New Zealand, 1984.

[23] Geoff Weston, ‘I knew Ben Rudd’ in Knight, et al., Glowing embers, Dunedin, 2005.

Cataloguing Charles – interning at the Hocken

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

Blog post researched and written by Lakin Wilton, HUMS 301 Intern

I have had the fantastic opportunity of interning at the Hocken through the University of Otago’s Humanities Internship, which offers students the chance to be placed in an organisation in Dunedin and undertake a project in place of a paper. The internship counts towards your degree, which is absolutely fantastic and I strongly encourage any student of Humanities to sign up.

Charles Brasch, MS-0996-012/094/010

Before starting my internship, Charles Brasch was a name I had heard, but not a name I knew anything about. I started at the Hocken at the beginning of August, and though I have only spent a short time here, I feel as though Charles Brasch and I have become great friends.

My project was a continuation of the project started by last semester’s intern, which allowed me to jump right in and get started. I worked with the Charles Brasch Literary and Personal Papers Collection, cataloguing photographs that he donated to the Hocken when he died in 1973. The background to the collection and how it has been catalogued is interesting, and it is amazing how archives can evolve over time when new developments come about.

The photographs in this collection were originally repackaged and catalogued in 2003. While they were listed on the Hocken database, not all of them were able to be identified. Now, there are more resources available to help with identification, such as Charles’ published journals, which have comprehensive biographical notes on many of Charles’ friends, family, and people he met during his life. The power of Google is another useful tool that can be used to identify people and places.

Some of the photographs in the collection are used frequently for publication, which is one of the reasons why the curator of the collection decided to add more detail to the catalogue. Having a more detailed catalogue improves findability, which for such a vast collection is extremely helpful. For example, I found a photo of Charles with authors C.K. Stead and Janet Frame looking more relaxed than the commonly published version of the photo.

Charles Brasch, Carl Stead, and Janet Frame MS-0996-012/159/001

Further, some of the photographs are already digitised, and having a more detailed listing will allow online access to those photographs. There is also potential for the further digitisation of images.

In terms of my project. I quickly learnt that cataloguing is not a matter of simply entering data into a spreadsheet…

Charles Brasch was an avid photographer and was something of an archivist himself. Charles’s photographs span decades, and the collection consists not only of his personal photographs, but also of family photographs handed down to Charles. Cataloguing such a mammoth collection is no small task, but it is an enjoyable one.

I quickly found that the most frustrating aspect of cataloguing photographs in this collection was trying to figure out who the people in the photos were. Charles did not inscribe all of his photos; in fact, finding one with an inscription that I could actually read was a feat in itself!

Thankfully, Charles kept personal journals, which the Hocken also has in its Collections, and some of these have been transcribed and published by the Otago University Press.  These have been essential in my quest to put names to faces. Charles was very detailed in his journal entries, and it was rare that I could not name someone. However, when I couldn’t name someone it was quite frustrating! On one particular occasion there was a woman who I could not identify, but later in my cataloguing journey she showed up again and Charles had inscribed that later photo so I could go back and name her in the photos I had previously seen. Being able to do so was extremely satisfying.

The woman who was hard to identify was Aunt Loulu (Louisa Hart, Charles’ Great Aunt). MS-0996-012/175/002

Tangible photographs are something we sadly rarely see anymore, so working with ‘proper’ photographs has been fantastic. Charles travelled often, and documented both the big and the small things. For someone such as myself, who has never travelled either the South Island nor ventured over the Pacific, these photographs allowed me to travel alongside Charles, and see things as he saw them.

I feel very lucky to have been given the opportunity to work with the Charles Brasch photographs. Having never done any archiving before, my eyes have been opened to a whole new world, and I am genuinely amazed at how much work goes into archiving. I have a whole new appreciation for archives, and I strongly encourage everyone to utilise them where they can. I am extremely grateful to both the University of Otago and the Hocken Library for allowing me to work with such an amazing collection.

Picture/Poem – The Hocken Gallery 18 April – 25 July 2015

Monday, April 20th, 2015 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

Post prepared by Natalie Poland, Curator of Pictorial Collections

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Joanna Margaret Paul, Untitled [self-portrait], ink drawing, 299 x 229mm, acc.: L278. On deposit from the Estate of Joanna Margaret Paul. Hocken Collections Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

The exhibition Picture/Poem: the imagery of Cilla McQueen and Joanna Margaret Paul that has just opened in the Hocken Library’s gallery brings together the creative works of award-winning poet Cilla McQueen and respected painter Joanna Margaret Paul. The pair met in Dunedin in the late 1970s and during the following decade their lives continued to intersect.

Both artists have strong ties with the University being past University of Otago Arts Fellows. Paul was a recipient of the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship in 1983 and McQueen was Burns Fellow 1985 and 1986. McQueen’s first poetry collection Homing In (John McIndoe Ltd: 1982), included a poem Paul titled “Joanna”. She penned a second poem dedicated to her friend after Paul’s untimely death in 2003. McQueen credits Paul, who was also an accomplished poet, with showing her that McQueen herself was a visual artist.

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Cilla McQueen, Self Portrait, 1991, ink drawing, acc 92/1462, pen & ink on paper, 298 x 210mm. Gifted by Cilla McQueen, Dunedin, 1992. Hocken Collections Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

 

 

 

 

 

The Hocken is home to hundreds of artworks by both Paul and McQueen, many of which have been gifted by them or in the case of Paul, her estate, who generously donated nearly 200 of her sketchbooks in 2008.

The exhibition focuses on works from the 1970s and 1980s, created while these artists were living in Dunedin. It includes twenty-eight artworks (predominantly works on paper), published work, musical scores, artist’s books and ephemera relating to the life and work of these two creative women.

Many of Paul’s works in this show have not been exhibited before. Most of the works are drawn from the Hocken’s extensive art collection but a small group of works have been borrowed from her Estate.

A double portrait by Paul (c.1970) recently gifted to the Hocken came from the collection of the late Michael Hitchings. The painting features Michael and his former wife, Maureen Hitchings. This couple, like Paul and McQueen, contributed to the shaping of Dunedin’s cultural outlook during this period. Michael was Hocken Librarian from 1965 to 1984 and Maureen ran the Dawsons Gallery where Paul exhibited in the 1970s.

The Hocken has a wealth of other material relating to both Paul and McQueen. The archives collection houses the literary papers of Cilla McQueen and the business records of Dunedin’s John McIndoe Ltd, the publisher of McQueen’s early poetry collections. There are letters from Joanna Paul to Deidre Airey, Ruth Dallas, Charles Brasch, Hone Tuwhare, Heather Murray and others, including to Cilla McQueen.

Despite working predominantly in different artistic fields their approaches have common features including an interest in juxtaposing pictures and poems and the visual arrangement of words on the page. In the 1980s it was not as common as it is now to create interdisciplinary work. In correspondence with the exhibition’s curator Natalie Poland, McQueen writes: “The works on display date primarily from the 1980s and show that both women were informed by experimental approaches that blurred the conventional boundaries between art, literature and music. Their pictures and poems celebrate the richness of the everyday experience and the local environment. The freshness of their drawings, use of collage and surprising combinations of images and text enliven ordinary language and convey a sense of living intensely in the present moment.” [Source: Unpublished memoirs, email to Natalie Poland May 2011, now in Hocken’s artist’s files.]

An artwork by McQueen called Sequestered (2009) was purchased by the Hocken in 2010. McQueen made it by scratching text onto a series of six outmoded computer floppy discs that contained a late twentieth century manuscript by McQueen. The texts, etched into the surface of the black circles, are partly occluded with red seal wax, an evocation of other modes of communication that are facing obsolescence – the tradition of handwritten letters.

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Joanna Margaret Paul, Untitled [The Stillness of the Rose] (detail), 1974, watercolour and pencil on paper, Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago. Dunedin

One series by Paul makes its debut in Picture/Poem – Untitled (The Stillness of the Rose . . .), 1974-1980, comprises seven water-colour and pencil works conceived to be viewed as a single creative work. Curiously each separate piece of this work was created on the same day over a period of seven years. Each part contains a fragment from the poem ‘The Rose’ by American writer William Carlos Williams. This work was purchased by the Hocken just this year.

Inscription on UNESCO Memory of the World Register

Thursday, November 28th, 2013 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

We are delighted to announce that the papers of Charles Brasch have been inscribed on the New Zealand Memory of the World Register.

At a national function at the Hocken on Thursday (November 28), the Charles Brasch papers were announced as a significant new addition to the UNESCO register, along with the Sir Edmund Hillary Archive at Auckland Museum and the original score and lyrics of God Defend New Zealand held at Auckland Libraries.

UNESCO launched the Memory of the World Programme, which promotes the nation’s heritage stories to the wider community, in 1992. It sits alongside UNESCO’s better-known World Heritage List and Register of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The New Zealand Programme was established in 2010.

“The Memory of the World Trust is truly delighted to welcome these three inscriptions of such distinguished documentary heritage items onto the register. All three greatly contribute to the story of our nation’s heritage and are significant to the identity of New Zealanders today,” the Memory of the World New Zealand Trust Chair Dianne Macaskill says.

Professor of History Tony Ballantyne, UNESCO Senior Advisor Susan Isaacs, Auckland Museum Team Leader - Library Collections Theresa Graham, Chair of NZ Memory of the World Committee, Dianne MacCaskill, Hocken Librarian Sharon Dell and Auckland Public Libraries Manuscript Librarian Iain Sharpe

Hocken Librarian Sharon Dell says the Inscription of the Brasch papers onto the Register is also recognition of the national importance of the Hocken as a research archive.

“This is a huge advantage for University staff and students to have a resource like the Charles Brasch papers in their midst. As well as conferring a higher level of protection on this archive resource, this inscription from UNESCO also enhances the Hocken’s international profile,” she says.

Hocken Curator of Archives and Manuscripts Anna Blackman says after Brasch’s literary and personal archive was opened at the Hocken in 2003 (30 years after his death), the significance of his legacy began to be appreciated.

“We are very fortunate that the Hocken holds such a substantial collection – 25 linear metres of his personal letters and archives. The work, papers and journals of Brasch are now a significant resource for researchers focusing on New Zealand’s rich cultural and literary development during his life-time,” she says.

Charles Orwell Brasch (1909-1973) corresponded with over 600 individual people and this correspondence forms the bulk of the collection. People represented include Janet Frame, James. K Baxter, Colin McCahon, Frank Sargeson, James Courage, James Bertram, Rita Angus, Toss Woollaston, Alistair Campbell, Fred and Eve Page, Douglas Lilburn, Louis Johnson, Denis Glover, Ruth Dallas, Carl Stead and many more.

Brasch’s editorial activities and contribution to the literary scene, as well as the thoughts and opinions of his correspondents are documented through the correspondence.

A letter from James K. Baxter to Brasch (MS-0996-002/026)

“It is a unique insight into the opinions and activities of this group who created so much of New Zealand’s cultural life,” says Anna Blackman.

From 1938 to just prior to his death Brasch wrote a personal journal. These journals document both his inner life of thought as well as his opinion on many topics and his everyday activities.

Pages from Brasch's journal

“Brasch was an acute observer of the world around him and the journals include commentary on not just the arts and literature but also people, politics and contemporary events.”
Further information about Memory of the World and the inscriptions on the register can be viewed on www.unescomow.org.nz.

 

Ore Struck – celebrating the sesquicentennial of the discovery of gold in Otago

Friday, May 20th, 2011 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

20 May 2011 marks 150 years since Gabriel Read discovered the payable gold that led to the Otago gold rush in an area now known as Gabriel’s Gully near the Otago town of Lawrence. This momentous discovery and the gold rush that followed rapidly transformed the face of Victorian Dunedin. This exhibition, which explores the use of gold in contemporary art and photography, has been mounted to commemorate this sesquicentennial. Artisans and artists have been awe struck by this highly malleable and alluring precious metal for thousands of years.

At a time of economic hardship when the price of gold is soaring, the contemporary art and photography included in this show encourages us to look beyond the monetary worth of this precious metal and to value gold for its physical properties and symbolic associations.

The show includes more than forty artworks and photographs that either employ gold as a material or colouring, or take gold mining as their subject. There is a focus on work by artists with strong associations to Otago such as Cilla McQueen, Ralph Hotere, Mary McFarlane and Russell Moses. Other artists that feature in the show, and well known for their use of gold in their work, are Tony Lane and Max Gimblett. Photographers with work on display include Ben Cauchi and Marti Friedlander, who use the early photographic process of gold toning as well as Peter Peryer and Peter Evans who have both captured the open cast gold mine near Macraes Flat in East Otago.A small number of historical items including a fifteenth century Book of Hours from, an 18th century Russian ikon, late nineteenth century gold-toned photographs by Rev John Kinder and an album of photographs of Chinese miners who worked in various Otago goldfields, provide a historical context for the contemporary works.

‘Homing in’ on Poet Laureate Cilla McQueen’s literary archive

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

MS-2400/045

Cilla McQueen is one of New Zealand’s major and much lauded poets. Her first volume of poetry, ‘Homing In’, was published in 1982 and since this time she has published eleven volumes of poetry, several of them award winners. Themes including landscape, loss, homeland, displacement and colonisation infuse her evocative writing.

In 2009 she was appointed Poet Laureate for 2009-2011 and in 2010 her most recent volume of poetry ‘The Radio Room’ was published.
McQueen has held the University of Otago’s Burns Fellowship for 1985 and 1986, a Fulbright Visiting Writers’ Fellowship to Stanford University in 1985 and a Goethe Institut Scholarship to Berlin, in 1991 she was awarded the QEII Arts Council Scholarship in Letters. She has also won the New Zealand Book Award three times. McQueen received an honorary doctorate in literature from the University of Otago in 2009. In 2012 she received a Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement (Poetry).
MS-2400/111
McQueen is also an accomplished and popular performer of her poetry.
MS-2400/058, MS-3247/220, MS-3247/275

McQueen’s archives, held at the Hocken Collections, contain a rich variety of papers including manuscript poetry and plays, correspondence, sound recordings and photographs

Blog post prepared by Debbie Gale, Arrangement and Description Archivist