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.

Digitising the First New Zealand Missionaries

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

Post researched and written by intern William Sharp

You wouldn’t believe what missionaries got up to. From chasing wild bulls in the bush to drinking on a convict ship, their interesting antics lead to many a pious and passive-aggressive argument between them. Soon, you will be able to update yourself on all of the latest missionary gossip from the comfort of your own home. Thanks to the generosity of the Hocken Collections and my tireless labour, more letters and journals of early New Zealand missionaries will be available on the internet for all to read.

Over the past semester I have been working as an intern at the Hocken Collections for my HUMS301 course at Otago University. The purpose of my work has been to add more material to the website ‘Marsden Online.’

Marsden Online is a website built by the Otago University Library and the Hocken Collections for the purpose of making historical documents more accessible to the public and to students. As can be seen in its name, Marsden Online is based on material that relates to the New Zealand missionary, Samuel Marsden (1765-1838).

Reverend Samuel Marsden by James Fittler, Hocken Collections ref 23,602

Samuel Marsden is an important figure in the history of New Zealand because of his leading role in the establishment of the Church Missionary Society Mission in the Bay of Islands. He is often attributed as having brought Christianity to New Zealand and is said to have given the first sermon in New Zealand history on Christmas day of 1814. Marsden Online, therefore, not only holds incredibly interesting material, but also documents that are very important to New Zealand history.

The website primarily holds letters and journals written by New Zealand missionaries working with and for Marsden. All of the material is Church Missionary Society correspondence taken from bound volumes kept in the Hocken Archives Collection. The founder of the Hocken Collections, Thomas Morland Hocken, acquired the documents in these volumes from the Church Missionary Society in 1903 and bound them himself.

599 of the documents from Hocken’s volumes have been made available on Marsden Online to date. They can be viewed as high definition pictures and they all have corresponding transcriptions which can be downloaded in multiple file formats.

All of the digital transcriptions of these documents were written by Gordon Parsonson. Parsonson is a retired academic who has studied missionaries in the Pacific and is a key figure in the founding of Marsden Online through the enormous amount of material he has digitally transcribed for it.

My job, specifically, has been to record the details of all of the documents held in two of the bound volumes of CMS correspondence that have not yet been added to Marsden Online. This amounts to over 300 individual documents, including letters, journals, affidavits, cheques, reports, tables, diagrams and more. By recording the details of all of these documents, such as the dates they were written and their authors, I am enabling them to be added to the website.

Once images of the documents have been taken and uploaded, the information I have recorded will be assigned to the documents in order for them to be searchable on the website and will provide the reader with basic information on each document, such as who wrote it, when, who it was sent to and its physical size. I also have to assign the corresponding Parsonson transcription to each document. This can mean a lot of file-searching and reading massive amounts of rushed early 19th century handwriting, so my work does have some significant challenges.

I have even had to do some transcribing myself where a transcription has been incomplete, incorrect or missing altogether. This has been my favourite part of my work, as it has allowed me to read the material in-depth.

The writings of Samuel Marsden and his fellow missionaries are incredibly interesting, but don’t take my word for it, go have a look for yourself! The 313 documents I have recorded may not be available on Marsden Online for some time, but, rather than wait, you could spend that time reading the 599 already there!

Clubs and Socs

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

Post researched and written by Emma Scott, Collections Assistant – Publications

Are you a machine knitter, cat fancier, Ruritanian folk dancer, Chrysler restorer, lace maker, ship wreck welfare specialist or antique bottle collector? If so, then you will be interested in some of the  approximately 3145 club and society periodicals located in the Hocken Journals collection. We hold many different types of publications produced by clubs and societies including; meeting minutes, newsletters, rule books, annual reports and accounts. These periodicals come from all over New Zealand, the Pacific and Antarctica and cover a broad range of topics.

Similar to the zines in our journals collection, some of these periodicals are handwritten or were typed using a typewriter and many of the illustrations within them were created by club or society members. They can vary in size and are often missing date information which means that our Collection Assistants sometimes have to read through the entirety of the periodical to try and determine the date of each issue.

The content of the newsletters can provide the reader with a wealth of information about club issues and what activities the club is involved in, for example; in Tabletalk (the Otago Bridge Club newsletter) for 1979 May 10, the editor reminds the bridge players to stop post-morteming their game when moving to a new table and to acknowledge other bridge players as there has been an “epidemic of rudeness” in the club recently, and tucked away within the Joint Newsletter for the Central Otago Farm Forestry and Tree Crops Association there is a multi choice form that was used when a member found a good hazelnut or walnut tree. Upon discovery of the tree they were to provide the branch registrar with a 2kg sample of nuts and indicate on the form what percentage of nuts fall free of husks, how many kilograms of nuts the tree produces annually and what evidence of lemon stem borer, bug mites or mineral deficiency they had found on the tree. The nuts were also observed by the registrar, with the registrar recording their observations of the nut’s shell colour, blemishes, shape, size, thickness and kernal details on the other side of the form.

These club and society periodicals were often used to further educate members about their topic of interest, this is evident in the herb society newsletters which contain recipes using the herb of choice for that newsletter as well as informative articles about the chosen herb. Issue 154 (2009:Autumn) of “The Bay Tree” (the Kapiti Herb Society Newsletter) focuses on Lemon Verbena with tips on cultivation and recipes for Lemon Verbena liqueur and syrup which the newsletter states can be used with ice cream, pound cake or other light desserts. We have a strong collection of herb society newsletters, which includes the following titles: Thyme Out (Upper Clutha), Bouquet of Herbs (Auckland), The Sage (Waihi), Chamomile (Wairarapa), Herbs a Plenty (Tauranga) and Simple Pleasures (Otago).

Running a club or society is a labour of love as it is often time consuming and costly. For this reason, we are receiving less and less club and society publications. We are also contacted regularly by groups who have decided to produce their publications in an electronic format instead of print due to the cost of producing and distributing their publications to members.

This collection demonstrates that for any hobby or interest you may have, no matter how specialised, you will be able to find other like minded individuals that are just as passionate as you are. If you are involved in a club or society, please think of the Hocken Collections as a place to donate your publications to as we would love to continue adding material to this incredible collection.

 

References

Central Otago Farm Forestry Association and Central Otago Tree Crops Association. (1984) Joint newsletter.

Kapiti Herb Society. (2009). The bay tree: Kapiti Herb Society Newsletter, (154), 5-8.

Otago Bridge Club. (1979). Tabletalk, (8), 1.

 

Titles featured in the top image:

The New Zealand Society of Dowsing & Radionics – v.32:no.3 (2009:Sept.)

Rare Breeds Newz – no.118 (2017:Aug.)

Official Newsletter of the Canterbury Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club Inc. – issue no.4 ([1977:Jan.?])

The sweat-rag (Hill City Dunedin Athletic Club Inc.) – Issue no.4 (2012:Winter)

The Sherlock Holmes Club of Dunedin newsletter – no.1/99 (1999:Sept.)

Norfolk and Pitcairn Islands Friendship Club (N.Z.) Inc [newsletter] – issue no.1 (1994:Feb./Mar.)

Tabletalk (Otago Bridge Club) – no.8 (1979:May10)

NZ Micro: Official Publication of the N.Z. Microcomputer Club Inc. – no.44 (1986:Apr.)

Saints alive!: Official Journal of the Saint Bernard Club Inc. – 1984:Nov.

Ruritanian Roundabout: newsletter of the Ruritanian International Folk Dance Club Inc. and Associated Groups – 2015:May

Newsletter (New Zealand Machine Knitters Society) – v.36:issue 4 (2013:May)

Annual Championship Cat Show / Otago Cat Fanciers’ Club – 1963:June29

Humber torque: monthly magazine of the Humber Car Club of N.Z. incorporating Hillman Car Club of N.Z. – 2017:July/Aug.

Whangarei Deep Sea Anglers’ Club – 1962:Dec.

The Otago Commodore 64 Club Official News letter – 1991:Mar.

The bay tree: Kapiti Herb Society Newsletter – issue 154 (2009:Autumn)

Girl: you look beautiful / WGTN School’s Feminist Club presents… – v.1 ([2015?])

The real housewives of Dunedin: the Dunedin Housewives’ Union Dunedin Housewives’ Association : Records (1930 – 1977) AG-002

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

Post prepared by Kari Wilson-Allan, Hocken Collections Assistant, Researcher Services

Today being International Women’s Day, it seems fitting to delve into the history of some Dunedin women – our own real housewives.

Established in late 1930, in the midst of the Great Depression, the Dunedin Housewives’ Union, headed up by the dynamo Mrs Alice Herbert, aimed to become a ‘real live and effective power in this part of the Dominion’. Meetings were held fortnightly, initially in the Dunedin Trades Hall, with a 2/6 annual membership fee.

First page, Minute Book (1930 – 1941) AG-002-01

Subjects under discussion revolved around, among other things, the quality and cost of foodstuffs, fuel, schoolbooks, and housing. Meat was ‘the foundation of the usual daily dinner’ and therefore ‘of utmost importance to the housewife’. That available in Dunedin was the ‘dearest in the Dominion’.  Milk and bread also drew attention; calls for the pasteurisation of milk and the packaging of bread appeared in local newspapers, along with requests for a municipal milk supply as a means to cut distribution costs.

Media coverage of riots in Dunedin, Otago Witness, 12 January 1932, p.20.

Fundraising events were common features in the women’s calendars. They organised bazaars, jumble sales, hat-trimming competitions, guess-the-weight-of-the-ham competitions (ham kindly supplied by Wolfenden and Russell), even baby shows.  A ‘hot pea and hot dog stall’ in 1931 was the cause of ‘much meriment [sic] ’.

As well as supporting the community with events like the 1933 party for the old-age pensioners at Talboys’ Home (lollies donated by Wardell’s Grocery), which was intended to ‘bring a little brightness into their drab lives’, the women looked after their own.  One member was gifted cocoa as she was ‘in great need of additional nourishment’.

The employment and unemployment of women concerned the Union.  It was recognised that often young women would be hired for a short period of time and then dismissed, leading to insecurity.  Compounding the problem was the higher costs of living in the South Island, where food and clothing were dearer.  The importation of foreign goods also raised their ire.

Temptations to housewives, Minute Book (1930 – 1941) AG-002-01, p.144

Housing conditions were decried; condemned buildings were at times tenanted. Washing facilities were in short supply, women needed to be recruited as inspectors, and to have a larger role in the City Council over all.

Housewives’ concerns, Minute Book (1930 – 1941) AG-002-01, p.125

Meetings often featured speakers or debates.  One such debate in 1933 on the subject of birth control proved to be ‘very interesting’, and at its conclusion, members shared their personal opinions, which were both ‘amusing and instructive’.

A selection of speakers’ subjects in the Union’s first decade, Notes on the history of the Association, AG-002-13

 

Who were the women of the Union?  This is not an easy question to answer.  Members of the Executive of the first year included a Mrs. Seddon, a Mrs. Anderson and a Mrs. Allen.  Without their first initials, finding the correct woman in electoral rolls has proved to be a minefield.  Sometimes the addition of a husband’s initial was a vital clue.

The members certainly had adequate time to contribute to their cause, to pay their annual dues and rent their premises.  Based on this and a number of other clues, I surmise that they were certainly not the poorest of the poor at that time.  They had education behind them, and political contacts.

Alice Herbert’s husband was the Secretary for the Dunedin Drivers’ and Storemens’ Union, and he, along with Alice, was heavily involved in the Labour Party.  In 1934, Alice tendered her resignation for the president’s role, based on her other commitments, but this was refused pending a determination of how time-consuming her other political activities would prove to be.  That the Union did not accept her resignation seems a signifier of her great influence and energy.

Women around New Zealand came to hear of the Dunedin Union, and made contact, wanting to establish similar groups of their own.  Unions formed in Invercargill, Waimate and Napier and elsewhere, eventually growing a network around the country.  Affiliations with the National Council of Women developed, and by the 1950s, the name Union was dropped for the less combative sounding Association.

It would be unfair of me to allude to ‘real housewives’ without supplying some element of drama.  The minutes do indicate certain conflicts of interest, perceived insults and tempestuous resignations, but to focus on these would belittle the valuable contributions made to the community.  Certainly as membership grew, challenges arose.  Rules were established, and prospective members needed to be introduced by current members to be admitted.  By June 1934 there was concern that ‘misrepresentation’ could arise as a consequence of ‘business [of the Union] being discussed outside the organization’, and in October of that year it was declared that ‘loyalty to our union must be shown.’

Minute Book (1930 – 1941) AG-002-01, p.164

 

Curiosity piqued by this first minute book?  Come in and explore them further.  The minute books stretch from 1930 through to 1974, are unrestricted, and contain myriad avenues for investigation.

 

Going past Papers Past: a mass of mastheads

Friday, August 12th, 2016 | Anna Blackman | 2 Comments

Post by Kari Wilson-Allan, Library Assistant – Reference

Papers Past is undoubtedly a valuable and convenient resource for historical research.  It is easy, however, in using it, to overlook other avenues of journalistic endeavour.

While working on a response to a recent reference enquiry, I came across a reel of microfilm in the stack containing all manner of titles, some of which I had never previously encountered.  A large number of these were of local origin, and covered matters social, political, intellectual, commercial, spiritual and more.

The Dunedin triumvirate available online (Otago Daily Times, Otago Witness and Evening Star) shine a light on the city’s goings-on, but to rely on these three is to neglect a wider range of perspectives and possibilities for enquiry.

Regrettably, the film holds only a single issue of many of the titles, and some rolled off the presses for only the briefest of spells, yet they reveal a lively and varied past.

The selection of mastheads below all feature on the reel; search any of the titles on Library Search | Ketu to request the film.

Other early Dunedin papers of which we hold larger runs include the paper most commonly known as the Otago Workman (otherwise the Beacon or Forbury News, later the Otago Liberal), the Echo, the Globe and the Southern Mercury.

01 Port Chalmers watch 02 Sandfly 03 NZ Liberator 04 Magnolia 05 Penny Post 06 Hot springs guide 07 Guardian 08 Morning herald 09 Illustrated news 10 NZ Life

On the cover

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

Post by Dr Ali Clarke, Library Assistant – Reference

We’re always pleased to see images from our collections featuring on the cover of new books! Each year we put together a list of published items – from books to theses, blogs to journals, television series to exhibitions – which have made use of Hocken resources. Some of them relate to research carried out on our archives or publications, others have used our pictorial collections, and some have done both. So far we have tracked down over 200 items published in 2015 for our list, including 69 books. The variety of topics covered is remarkable, as demonstrated by the few examples featured here.

S15-533a MS_0975_234

MS-0975/234

The very handsome 4-volume set of James K. Baxter’s complete prose, edited by John Weir, involved lots of digging through Baxter’s archives, which are held here. The cover of the first volume features an amusing photo of Baxter with his coat on backwards in Cathedral Square, Christchurch in 1948, sourced from his archives. Another particularly handsome book that has drawn heavily on the Hocken Collections is John Wilson’s New Zealand mountaineering: a history in photographs. including many from our holdings of the New Zealand Alpine Club’s archives. Among them is the great cover shot of Syd Brookes and Bernie McLelland descending North Peak in the Arrowsmith Range in 1939, from an album compiled by Stan Conway.

011

We can’t claim the splendid cover picture for Simon Nathan’s biography James Hector: explorer, scientist leader – that comes from the Alexander Turnbull Library – but he has made very good use of Hector’s papers, held at the Hocken. Hector’s notebooks are notoriously difficult to read, thanks to faint pencil combined with illegible handwriting, but some of the sketches in them make very effective illustrations in the book. Simon has also done splendid work transcribing various Hector letters in recent years, making them accessible to others.

013

Hector’s sketches of Parengarenga Harbour and his Maori campanion, January 1866

007

Another 2015 book which brings previously unpublished work to light is New country, a collection of plays and stories by James Courage, with an introduction by Christopher Burke. Some have been previously published, but one comes straight from Courage’s papers at the Hocken. The book also features some fascinating photographs from Courage’s papers. Genre Books, the publisher, also made good use of Hocken material in a 2014 book, Chris Brickell’s Southern men: gay lives in pictures. This includes numerous photographs from the archives of David Wildey, held in the Hocken largely thanks to Chris. On the cover is one of Wildey’s photographs, recording a visit to Waimairi Beach, Christchurch in 1960.

015

Lest we leave you with the impression that all material from our collection is about recreation and enjoyment, another cover from 2014 shows a sober purpose. Presbyterian Support Otago’s report Out in the cold: a survey of low income private rental housing in Dunedin features one of our old photographs of the crowded suburbs of southern Dunedin. The Hocken really does have material for all sorts of purposes.

Enquire Within

Thursday, October 29th, 2015 | Anna Blackman | 2 Comments

Post researched and written by Megan Vaughan, Library Assistant – Publications

 

Huia butter

Huia butter advertisement (edition 3, p.5)

Addressed to the householder these booklets were distributed to subscribers in the 1930s and 1940s. The content ranges from household cleaning tips to reading tea leaves.

Hocken holds 12 Dunedin editions from the 30s and 40s, as well as a 1935 Auckland edition and a 1935 Wellington edition.

About half of the content is dedicated to advertising for local businesses such as Hallensteins, and Wolfenden and Russell.

Hallensteins

Hallensteins advertisement (inside back cover of 1st edition)

While the booklets themselves are not eye-catching the content offers an interesting, and sometimes amusing, insight into the minutiae of domestic life in 1930s and 40s New Zealand.

Recipes occupy a lot of space. Instructions for cooking asparagus (boil for 20 minutes!) (ed.1, p.14), curried sardines (ed.1, p.10), parsnip and turnip wines (ed.1, p.17), stuffed lettuce (ed.5, p.28), tripe (ed.7, p.8) and rusks (ed.7, p.28) are just a few of the recipes featured.

Cooking hints complement the recipes and include being able to tell the difference between fungi and mushrooms (ed.1, p.6), how to make your jelly set quickly using methylated spirits and a draught (ed.1, p.22), how to improve your coffee with a pinch of mustard (ed.4, p.34), and how to sweeten rancid fat (ed.2, p.26) rather than throwing it away.

RS Black and Son

RS Black & Son advertisement (edition 5, p.73)

Other household hints make heavy use of vinegar, lemon juice, salt and methylated spirits. A recipe for homemade floor polish finds a use for broken gramophone records (ed.4, p.36). Eggshells thrown into the copper made clothes very white (ed.2, p.22) and rusty ovens were clearly an issue as the solution of leaving the oven door open after use was repeated in many editions (e.g. ed.12, p.28).

Health remedies include tips such as placing a scraped potato on scalds (ed.1, p.26), using sage tea for a sore throat (ed.1, p.28), smoking blue gum leaves several times a day for asthma (ed.1, p.30), and shaving warts until they bleed before applying lunar caustic (silver nitrate) (ed.1, p.30). Billiousness was treated by drinking salty water and “nerves” were improved by numerous glasses of cold water and getting out of bed earlier (and a better attitude is implied!) (all in ed.1). It was recommended invalids be protected from visitors (e.g. ed.1, p.26).

Beauty tips included “cures” for numerous complaints ranging from scurf (aka dandruff: cured with kerosene, ed.3, p.48), dry skin, and baldness, to freckles (ed.1, p.32). Much of this content was repeated without variation throughout editions.

 

United Cash Orders

United Cash Orders advertisement (back cover of 5th edition)

Etiquette for occasions such as visiting, dining out and weddings is described in great detail. The dense lists for these sections contain some conventions still familiar today such as not reaching across your neighbour at the dinner table or spitting out bits of bone onto your plate (ed.2, p.4-6). Declining a dish at a meal was acceptable, but offering a reason was not (ed.2, p.4-6). Carrying a stick into someone’s drawing room was within the realm of good manners, but wielding an umbrella or wearing an overcoat was considered impolite (ed.2, p.4-6).

Conversation brought a whole raft of dos and don’ts: the familiar rules against interrupting and whispering are listed along with the recommendation you don’t talk about yourself or your maladies, or afflictions  (ed.2, p.4-6). It was advised when telling jokes to laugh afterwards, and not before! (ed.1, p.25).

Wolfenden and Russell

Wolfenden & Russell (edition 5, p.11)

Fortune telling appears to have been popular with many editions containing hints on reading tea leaves (e.g. ed.2, p56), and large sections of many booklets were dedicated to interpreting dreams (e.g. ed.1, p.54-62). One booklet includes a section that explains mole position and your resulting fortune: for e.g. a mole on the nose means success in everything, but on the left knee indicates an indolent, thoughtless and indifferent person (ed.2, p.58).

Enquire within also offers tips for motorists, hints for fixing common radio problem, advice for gardeners, meanings of a select few given names, and guidance on the care of animals.

 

 

Good things come in small packages…

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

Blog post by Debbie Gale, Arrangement and Description Archivist

I have recently returned to work from a year’s parental leave and while I am very pleased to be back, my mind is still often occupied by all things ‘baby’.

During one of my more recent 4am night feeds, I thought now would be the perfect time to take inspiration from this maternal period in my life to focus on the ‘wee ones’  whose care I am partly responsible for in my professional life.  Those ‘littlies’ in the archives that may be small, but are also perfectly formed.

Our “octavo” sequence of archives is broad in range, and runs to a full 90 linear metres in length.  It includes personal volumes such as diaries, reminiscences, letter books, notebooks and bibles, as well as records of organisations such as minute books and ledgers.  Many of the volumes are in a very fragile state and have preservation copies so that researchers can have access to them, without further harming the original.

Octavo is a book binding term that refers to small volumes which were originally made by folding a full sheet of paper three times to make eight leaves, each leaf being 1/8 the size of the original sheet of paper. In practice such volumes are roughly 8-10 inches in height.

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Our octavo archives shelving

 

 

 

 

However, our diminutive friends are not just to be found within the octavo sequence alone – they will often be found dotted throughout the collections in various guises, from the tiny appointment books of poet, editor and Hocken benefactor Charles Brasch through to the miniature soldier’s diaries that have miraculously survived through rough war conditions.

This blog takes a look into just a few of the more significant of these babies, safely ‘swaddled’ within their phase boxes for maximum care and protection.

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Diary of surveyor John Wallis Barnicoat, kept during a voyage from England to New Zealand in the ‘Lord Auckland’, 1841-1842. Misc-MS-1451/001.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The diary includes pen illustrations of the ‘Lord Auckland’, detailed life aboard ship and diagrams of the ship’s accommodation and deck layout. Misc-MS-1451/001.

 

 

 

 

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In March 1844 Barnicoat was employed to assist Frederick Tuckett in selecting a site for the future Otago settlement. This beautifully sketched map shows ‘The route from Molineux [sic] to Otago’. Misc-MS-1451/003.

The corresponding diary entries (written in pencil on the sketch page and partly transcribed below) relate to the purchasing of the Otago Block.

‘S. June 15: …This [sketch] shews to what extent it is proposed to effect purchases from the natives for the purpose of the New Settlement.’

‘Th. June 20: Tuawaike, Karetai & Taiaroa signed a memorandum binding them to sell the whole country from Otago to Molineux as shewn in the sketch…with a single reserve for the sum of £2400.’

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This volume of handwritten notes on New Zealand and Otago history and people, is part of the original ‘nucleus’ collection of Dr Hocken, and is dated around 1892. MS-0037.

 

 

 

MS-0037_te kooti name

One of Dr Hocken’s entries on the origin of Rongowhakaata leader, military leader and prophet Te Kooti’s name – a transliteration of Coates, the name he received in baptism.  MS-0037.

 

MS-0123

MS-0484/001.First volume of reminiscences, began in 1916, of Civil and Mechanical Engineer Edward Roberts (1851-1925). It spans his upbringing on the Bendigo Goldfields of Victoria, his arrival in Dunedin in 1881 and engineering career. There are some excellent ink sketches and an interesting account of the Dunedin and Kaikorai Tram Company in 1894. MS-0484/001.

 

 

MS-0123_cover

I will finish with this interestingly titled volume from Rev. James West Stack (1835-1919), the oldest son of missionary James Stack. It consists of handwritten anecdotes and reminiscences drawn from a period of more than forty years, many relating to Stack’s experiences among Maori.  MS-0123.

MS-0484_001

MS-0123

The Treaty of Waitangi – The Wai 27 Claim records

Thursday, February 5th, 2015 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

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Boxes of Wai 27 Claim on the shelves in the archives stack

Through the generosity of Sir Tipene O’Regan, the Ngai Tahu Maori Trust Board and the Crown Law Office the Hocken Collections holds copies of the Wai 27 claim papers that are available for researchers to use. The picture doesn’t really do the papers justice, there are a total of 82 boxes of papers rich with information on the history of Ngai Tahu. To find the papers search by the reference numbers AG-653 and MS-2448 in the Hakena database.  

The papers are a rich source of information not just on the claim but also of Ngai Tahu history.

The Kai Tahu (or Ngai Tahu) inquiry began with a claim, Wai 27, registered in August 1986. It was brought by Rakiihia Tau and the Ngai Tahu Maori Trust Board, but as the Tribunal said, it was ‘really from and about Ngai Tahu, an amalgam formed from three main lines of descent which flowed together to make the modern tribe’. The inquiry was extensive – over a period of three and a half years, 23 hearings were conducted and the Tribunal received 900 submissions and heard from 262 witnesses and 25 corporate bodies. The claim was presented in nine parts, known as the ‘Nine Tall Trees of Ngai’. Eight of these ‘trees’ represented the different areas of land purchased from Kai Tahu, whilst the ninth represented Kai Tahu’s mahinga kai, or food resources. A number of grievances were attached to each of the nine tall trees, and these came to be known as the ‘branches of the Nine Tall Trees’. There were also a number of smaller claims, which came to be described as the ‘undergrowth’, or ancillary claims. The Ngai Tahu Report came out in 1991, the Ngai Tahu Sea Fisheries Report in August 1992, and the Ngai Tahu Ancillary Claims Report in May 1995. In the Ngai Tahu Report, 1991, the Tribunal concluded that many of the grievances arising from the Crown’s South Island purchases, including those relating to mahinga kai, were established, and the Crown itself conceded that it had failed to ensure that Kai Tahu were left with ample lands for their needs. The Tribunal found that, in acquiring more than half the land mass of New Zealand from the tribe for 14,750 pounds, which left Kai Tahu only 35,757 acres, the Crown had acted unconscionably and in repeated breach of the Treaty, and its subsequent efforts to make good the loss were found to be ‘few, extremely dilatory, and largely ineffectual’. After the Ngai Tahu Report was released, the Tribunal also put out a short supplementary report in which it referred to the need for tribal structures to be put in place to allow Kai Tahu to conduct remedies negotiations with the Crown. The Tribunal supported the proposals regarding representation that the claimants had made and it recommended that the Ministry of Maori Affairs introduce legislation constituting the Ngai Tahu Iwi Authority as the appropriate legal personality to act on behalf of the iwi in those negotiations. The ‘Sea Fisheries Report’ dealt with the issue of Kai Tahu’s fisheries, and reported that, as a direct consequence of the loss of their land, Kai Tahu were ‘unbable to continue their thriving and expanding business and activity of sea fishing’. The Tribunal found that, in legislating to protect and conserve fisheries resources, the Crown had failed to recognise Kai Tahu’s rangatiratanga over the fisheries and in particular their tribal rights of self-regulation or self-management of their resource. It also found that the quota management system then in place was in fundamental conflict with the terms of the Treaty and with Treaty principles. The Tribunal recommended that the Crown and Kai Tahu negotiate a settlement of the sea fisheries claim, that an appropriate additional percentage of fishing quota be allocated to Kai Tahu and that Waihora (Lake Ellesmere) be returned to them as an eel fishery, and that the Fisheries Act 1983 be amended to allow for ‘mahinga kaimoana’, or specific marine areas set aside for iwi. The ancillary claims report dealt with 100 of the ‘undergrowth’ claims and showed how the 35,757 acres that Kai Tahu had been left with were further eroded by public works and other acquisitions. Of the 100 claims, 41 were found to involve breaches of the Treaty, and as a result, the Tribunal recommended that the Public Works Act 1981 be amended and proposed changes to the way that the Crown acquired land from Maori for public purposes. (From the report summary prepared by the Waitangi Tribunal).

Going for UNESCO Gold – A second Memory of the World Registration for The Hocken Collections!

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

We are very excited to announce that the Hocken Collections has again been successful receiving a Memory of World Registration.

This year it is Dr Thomas Morland Hocken’s collection of Church Missionary Society papers that has been added to the register.

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Some of the collection laid out on furniture from the original Hocken Library reading rooms

We made application this year as part of our programme of work to commemorate 200 years since the mission at Rangihoua in the Bay of Islands was established. Our current exhibition Whakapono : Faith and foundations showcases some of the documents in the collection, and the Marsden online website provides sophisticated tools to search a portion of the documents.

This collection of records acquired by Hocken from the Church Missionary Society in London contains the letters and journals of Rev Samuel Marsden and the settlers who came to New Zealand in 1814 to begin establishing missionary settlements.

The records document the development of the Anglican mission in the Bay of Islands including Marsden’s celebrations of Christmas Day 1814. In describing what they saw and learnt in detail the authors created a rich resource for developing our understanding of New Zealand in the pre-Treaty of Waitangi era. They provide a first-hand account of  Maori world around the Bay of Islands; describing people, places, events, conversations, battles and gatherings, who was important and why, relationships between local iwi and hapu, Maori cultural practices, rituals, religion and arts, Maori horticulture, fishing and foods, and the land and sea, forests and lakes.

The writers also describe their work introducing European agriculture, new plants and animals, teaching reading and writing, how they learnt Te Reo Maori, the development of early Maori orthography and also their own tiny community’s internal strife, failures and successes as they struggled to live together in a foreign and isolated place.

The documents are written by a variety of people principally Samuel Marsden, Thomas Kendall, William Hall, John King, John Butler, Reverend Henry Williams, James Kemp, Richard Davis, George Clarke, James Hamlin, William Colenso and the CMS officials in London.

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Part of a letter from Reverend Samuel Marsden to the Church Missionary Society in London with list of items sent to the Society. The list includes items of Maori clothing such as fine cloaks. MS-0054/087

From the early 1800s Maori were beginning to explore the wider European world. They were intensely curious about European technologies, literacy, religion and trade.  Seeing the potential benefits these could bring to their people Nga Puhi leaders Te Pahi, Ruatara and Hongi Hika used their relationship with Samuel Marsden to encourage him to send teachers, agriculturalists and artisans to New Zealand.

The records registered are MS-0053, MS-0054, MS-0055, MS-0056, MS-0057, MS-0058, MS-0060, MS-0061, MS-0062, MS-0063, MS-0064, MS-0065, MS-0066, MS-0067, MS-0068, MS-0069, MS-0070, MS-0071, MS-0072, MS-0073, MS-0176/001, MS-0176/002, MS-0176/003, MS-0176/004, MS-0176/005, MS-0177/001, MS-0177/002, MS-0177/003, MS-0177/004, MS-0498.

Hocken was an active collector of publications and archival material documenting New Zealand’s history and culture. He was particularly interested in the early mission period. These records were primarily acquired by Dr Hocken directly from the Church Missionary Society in London in late 1903. Whilst initially reluctant to part with the records the CMS eventually agreed that they should be returned to New Zealand. Hocken later sent £250 to the Society. Hocken also acquired some of the documents in the collection from descendants of the missionaries.

Dr Hocken’s collection was transferred to the University of Otago in 1907 under a Deed of Trust that established the Hocken Collections.

Further additions of complementary Church Missionary Society records have been made by donation and purchase, notably the purchase from D.K. Webster of London in 1967 of the papers comprising MS-0498.