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.”

 

Stirring up the stacks #2: The parfait on the blackboard

Wednesday, March 13th, 2019 | Hocken Collections | 1 Comment

Post cooked up by David Murray, Archivist

In our last ‘Stirring up the Stacks’ post, my colleague Kari laid down a challenge: find old recipes in the collections, try them out, and inflict them on fellow staff members for their verdict.

The recipe I found comes not from a publication or manuscript, but from a glass plate negative (reproduced above), noticed when rehousing records of the University of Otago’s former Home Science School. It dates from the 1930s. Four instructors in uniform stand in front of a group of fifteen women. These women don’t appear to be students, and possibly the class was one of the demonstrations given through the Home Science Extension Bureau, or one of the ‘refresher’ courses offered to former students.

Behind the instructors, written in chalk on the blackboard, are five recipes. One of the great thing about glass plates is the level of detail that can often be found in them – you can really zoom in! Richard, our reprographics wizard, scanned the plate and was able to pull up the recipes with some clarity. The titles were clearly visible: vanilla ice cream, coffee mousse, orange water ice, pineapple mousse, and peach parfait. Most of the text for the last two recipes is readable, partially obscured by an instructor staring down the camera.

Choosing the parfait, I thought I might have to fill in the missing parts of the recipe, but after a fair bit of hunting I fortunately found a beautifully handwritten copy in the first-year practical workbook of Rae Vernon (1915-2001). Rae was a Home Science student from 1934, and later joined the staff herself. On the same page is a coffee mousse recipe that also appears on the blackboard:

Peach Parfait

Mashed peaches 1 cup
Sugar 1 cup
Water ⅓ cup
Egg whites 2
Juice of 1 orange
Cream 1 cup
Almond essence ¼ tsp

Method: Boil sugar and water to 238˚F or until it threads and pour gently into the stiffly beaten egg whites, whipping constantly. Combine peaches and orange juice. Beat in the white mixture. Stir briskly until cool and then fold in whipped cream and almond ess. Pour into a mould cover with waxed paper and press on the lid. Pack in two parts of ice and 1 of salt for 4 hrs. If canned peaches used the amount of sugar should be reduced to ¾ cup.

My prior knowledge of frozen parfaits was somewhere between non-existent and negligible, but this is apparently a fairly conventional recipe, except it only uses the egg whites and not the yolks. The most unusual ingredient is the almond essence, and I was not entirely convinced it would go with peaches, but looked forward to finding out.

The cooking process was fairly straightforward. I did use tinned peaches, and so used less sugar as directed. I wasn’t quite sure how mashed they should be, but erred on the side of a smoother consistency. The trickiest bit for me, not having a thermometer, was boiling the sugar and water to the correct ‘threading’ stage. To add to the fun I found a vintage (though not 1930s) mould. Unwilling to experiment with packing in ice (apologies to those wanting closer authenticity), I covered the finished mixture tightly in its mould and put it in the freezer overnight.

Turning the parfait out of its mould was a bit tricky, but dipping it in a bath of warm water did the trick. I tarted it up with some more peaches and a sprig of mint and hoped it would pass muster.

Reaction in the Hocken staff room was favourable, a common theme being pleasant surprise about the peach and almond flavour combination. Some comments:

“Proper grandma food”

“Delicate and dreamy”

“If was a synaesthete I would say it tastes like a floral dress”

“Love the almond flavour”

“I enjoyed the flavour combination”

“Very sweet, but also quite light”

“I was a little apprehensive re tinned peaches but very pleasantly surprised how nice it tasted. The almond flavour was a surprise, but subtle”

 “Would be a lovely dessert to cleanse the palate”

Overall, it turned out better than I expected, and I would make it again. It was fun to bring to life the obscure detail of an image in the collections.

Image references:

Glass plate negative showing cookery class. University of Otago School of Consumer and Applied Sciences records. Hocken Collections – Uare Taoka o Hākena. MS-1517-034-005.

Page from Rae Vernon’s Foods 1 practical workbook. Association of the Home Science Alumnae of New Zealand records. Hocken Collections – Uare Taoka o Hākena. MS-1516/023.

 

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).

 

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.

What’s that thesis about?

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

Blog post prepared by Dr Ali Clarke (Reference Assistant)

University of Otago History theses at The Hocken Collections

University of Otago History theses at The Hocken Collections

It’s always encouraging to see the final results of research carried out at the Hocken, from books and interpretation panels to newspaper articles and television shows. But undoubtedly one of our favourite things is to see the dissertations that post-graduate students have been sweating over, often for several years. 2014 was a stellar year for graduations of people who spent many hours poring over the treasures of the Hocken for their dissertations. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, some of these can even be read on-line.

Nister Kabir came all the way from Bangladesh to study at Otago. He made extensive use of our newspaper collection for his PhD thesis, New Zealand media constructions of Islam and Muslims: an analysis of selected newspapers between 2005-2006.  Also from the Department of Media, Film and Communication at Otago was 2014 PhD graduate Donald Reid, who made good use of our serials and books collections for his thesis Solid to liquid culture: the institutional, political and economic transformation of New Zealand state broadcasting. He also found the Hocken a peaceful place in which to write! Another PhD graduate who made good use of our serials collection was Trudie Walters, of Otago’s Department of Tourism. Her dissertation, An analysis of media representations of the luxury in and of second home ownership in New Zealand 1936-2012,  revealed the value of all those old home and building magazines.

Archaeologists dig out information from archives, books and pictures as well as from the ground, and a couple of 2014 graduates from Otago’s Department of Anthropology and Archaeology used the Hocken while completing their dissertations: Peter Petchey’s PhD was titled The archaeology of the New Zealand stamp mill  and Megan Lawrence’s MA was Backyard historical archaeology: unraveling past lives through analyses of the archaeological remains from 26 St David Street, Dunedin.

Unsurprisingly, some of our biggest users are the post-graduate students of Otago’s History and Art History Department. We were delighted to see the completed PhD theses of Grace Bateman (Signs and graces: remembering religion in childhood in Southern Dunedin, 1920-1950),  Sarah Carr (Preserving decency: the regulation of sexual behaviour in early Otago 1848-1867), Daniel Davy (Lost tailings: gold rush societies and cultures in colonial Otago, New Zealand, 1861-1911),  Jill Harland (The Orcadian odyssey: the migration of Orkney Islanders to New Zealand 1949-1914 with particular reference to the South Island)and Jane McCabe (Kalimpong kids: the lives and labours of Anglo-Indian adolescents resettled in New Zealand between 1908 and 1938) last year, and also the MA theses of Nic MacArthur (Gold rush and gold mining: a technological analysis of Gabriel’s Gully and the Blue Spur, 1861-1891)  and Christine Mulligan (The Dunedin Hospital art collection: architecture, space and wellbeing).  All delved into our archives and publications collections – we saw a lot of Daniel, Jill and Nic in particular. Then there were all the BA (Hons) dissertations. History and art history students found material in our collections on a wide range of topics for these in 2014: pensions, shipboard writing, Smithells and physical education, women in the police, Philip Trusttum, Maori divorce, surveyor John Turnbull Thomson, US intelligence, female assisted migrants and Robin Morrison.

Of course, not all our student researchers are from the University of Otago, or even from New Zealand. We have met postgrads from Canada, the United States, Japan, England, Australia and the Czech Republic over recent times. In 2013 Hocken researchers completed dissertations in several Canadian and Australian universities. We aren’t aware of any who graduated in 2014, but we’re keeping an eye out!

Several students from other New Zealand universities completed theses based on significant research at the Hocken. Genevieve De Pont read lots of Hocken diaries for her Auckland PhD, ‘Tourists like ourselves’: New Zealanders’ international travel diaries and their journeys, 1919-1963,  and Joanna Bishop used our archives for her Waikato PhD, The role of medicinal plants in New Zealand’s settler medical culture, 1850s-1920s.  Claire Le Couteur also delved into our archives for her Canterbury PhD, Dentist, doctor, dean: Professor Sir Charles Hercus and his record of fostering research at the Otago Medical School, 1921-1958. Rachel Patrick of Victoria University of Wellington based her entire thesis – An unbroken connection? New Zealand families, duty, and the First World War  – on our large collection of archives of the Downie Stewart family. We’ve seen quite a bit of Vic post-grad students in recent years; others who graduated in 2014 were Nicholas Hoare (New Zealand’s “critics of empire”: domestic opposition to New Zealand’s Pacific empire, 1883-1948) , Erin Keenan (Maori urban migrations and identities, “Ko nga iwi nuku whenua”: a study of urbanisation in the Wellington region during the twentieth century),  Rebecca McLaughlan (One dose of architecture, taken daily: building for mental health in New Zealand)  and Richard Thomson (At home with New Zealand in the 1960s).  Material from the Hocken also appeared in the dissertations of a couple of Massey University graduates, Tupu Williams (Te Poihipi Tūkairangi: te poutokomanawa o Ngāti Ruingārangi/the central support post of his hapū Ngāti Ruingārangi)  and Annabel Wilson (From Aspiring to ‘Paradise’: the South Island myth and its enemies. A critical and creative investigation into the (de)construction of Aotearoa’s Lakes District).

Our hearty congratulations to everybody who graduated in 2014! We salute your hard work, your contribution to knowledge and the creative use you have made of our collections.

Winifred Betts – botany pioneer

Monday, September 8th, 2014 | Anna Blackman | 2 Comments

Post prepared by Dr Ali Clarke, Library Assistant (Reference)

This year the University of Otago Department of Botany is celebrating its 90th anniversary. In honour of the occasion, I’ve been looking back at the beginnings of botany, as revealed in the university’s archives here at the Hocken. Although the “department” is generally dated from 1924, when John Holloway began as lecturer, botany was taught as early as the 1870s. In the university’s early decades, when student numbers were small, there were very few teaching staff and they had a wide brief. The first professor of “natural science” – F.W. Hutton – taught geology as well as biology. The 1877 University Calendar offered a general introductory course called “Principles of Biology,” as well as papers in zoology and botany. This pattern was to continue for several decades. The 1877 botany course covered “the structure, functions, and distributions of the orders of cryptograms, and the principal orders of phanerogams,” as well as “the use of the microscope.”

Geology and biology were separated into two positions after Hutton left in 1880. Thomas Parker held the chair in biology from 1880 to 1897 and William Benham from 1898 to 1937. Both were brilliant scientists, but their chief research interests were in zoology rather than botany. As the university grew, the workload of teaching all aspects of biology to science, medical, dental and home science students became increasingly burdensome. Professor Benham managed to get an assistant – Winifred Farnie – to help with biology teaching from 1916 to 1918. In 1918 he suggested that it was time for the university to appoint a lecturer in botany, but the Council decided to delay for a year. The 1919 calendar notes that instruction in botany “is not provided at present” – presumably Benham had decided he was over-stretched and could no longer offer the course. He repeated his request for a botany lecturer to the council that year, and this time approval was granted. Benham already had somebody in mind for the post – his former student Winifred Betts.

OU Review 1917

Otago University Graduates of 1917, including Winifred Betts and Winifred Farnie

Rather than simply appointing Betts, the council decided to advertise the post of botany lecturer. Were they, perhaps, reluctant to appoint a woman? As it turned out, they received three applications, all from women, and selected Betts as Otago’s first botany lecturer. For Benham, this was a long overdue development. In 1919, writing in honour of the university’s jubilee, he commented: “It is a curious fact that in each of the four colleges in New Zealand it has been expected that one man shall undertake to teach efficiently those two subjects [zoology and botany], which in England, even in fourth-rate educational institutions, have for many years been entrusted to two distinct individuals.” He was happy to report that Otago had now “set the example to the other University Colleges by appointing a lecturer in botany”.

Winnie Betts was just 25 years old when she commenced her new position at the beginning of 1920. Born in Moteuka, she was educated at Nelson College for Girls, receiving a University National Scholarship in 1911. She then came to Otago, graduating BSc in 1916 and MSc in 1917. She was clearly one of the more capable students of her era, and by 1915 Benham had selected her as a demonstrator in biology. On completing her MSc she received a National Research Scholarship – one was awarded at each university each year. This provided her with an income of £100 a year along with lab expenses so she could carry out independent research. In 1919, at a lecture to an admittedly partisan audience in Nelson, distinguished botanist Leonard Cockayne described Betts as “the most brilliant woman scientist in New Zealand.”

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Winifred Betts

 

In December 1920 Winnie Betts married another brilliant Otago graduate, the mathematician Alexander Aitken. Aitken, whose studies were interrupted by war service (he was badly wounded at the Somme), was by then teaching at Otago Boys’ High School. This was an era when most women left paid employment when they married, so it is intriguing that Winnie Aitken continued working as botany lecturer for some years. She joined a handful of women on Otago’s academic staff. As well as the women of the School of Home Science, there were Isabel Turnbull in Latin, Gladys Cameron in Bacteriology and Public Health and Bertha Clement in English; others came and went during Winnie’s years at Otago.

Winnie Aitken’s career as botany lecturer came to an end in December 1923. Her husband had been awarded a scholarship for postgraduate study and they moved to Edinburgh, where he had a long and distinguished academic career as a mathematician. Alexander died in 1967 and Winnie in 1971; they had two children. Various women have since taught botany at the University of Otago; indeed, it has been one of the more gender-balanced of the academic departments. As the department celebrates its 90th anniversary with Prof Kath Dickinson at its head, it seems an appropriate moment to remember the woman who pioneered it all!

NZ Music Month 2014

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

Post prepared by Amanda Mills, Liaison Librarian – Music and AV

Music Month has rolled around once again! This year, to draw attention to the recordings and music-themed material we have in the collections, we have created six posters that illustrate our interesting (and often decorative) holdings.

Archway Hocken Poster A2 May 3 14

The posters are currently displayed in the University of Otago’s stone archway on campus. They represent the various aspects of the music collections, including The Dunedin Sound, locally-focussed music sheets, and early 20th Century Māori music released on major international labels (and the attractive sleeve that accompanies it). We have also included an image of some of our more interesting and rare formats: cylinder, mini-CD, and (intriguingly) a disc the size of a business card. Also featured are examples of our music posters and music ephemera: programmes dating back to the 1920s.

Some of the images are well-known: the cover of ‘Doledrums’ by The Chills is hand drawn by the bands founder, vocalist and songwriter, Martin Phillipps; while the cover of ‘Bird Dog’ by the Verlaines is by John Collie, local musician and artist. The sleeve for Columbia Records’ Māori Recordings would have been familiar in the 1930s, but is now mostly forgotten to all except collectors and music historians. Graphically designed in red and black, the sleeve speaks to the Māori Marae design on the disc’s label. This label was used for local Māori recordings on Columbia Records.

Archway Hocken Poster A2 May 5 14

The eye catching poster for the Royal Comic Opera ‘Our Miss Gibbs’ dates to 1911 and this production was described in the Otago Daily Times at the time as “…the Greatest Musical Comedy Success Of Our Generation.” The ephemera collection includes a large number of programmes for a variety of musical events in Dunedin from the late nineteenth century through to the present day. Some colourful examples of these are represented on one poster and they demonstrate a few of the musical genres included in the collection.

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.