Post researched and written by Nick Austin. Nick is a General Assistant at the Hocken. He is also a practicing artist.
I spent my Easter break delving into a stack of issues of the Listener (ranging between 1987 – 1990) found in the garage during a lockdown tidy up. With the sudden closure of Bauer Media Group this month (the Listener’s most-recent publisher – and of many other household titles too, of course), I could only read with my Covid-19 glasses on.
Below is a selection of ‘clippings’ assembled to form a narrative of this moment, derived from this lockdown browsing. It is interesting to me how some images rhyme closely with issues now. (What lessons we might take from the economic turmoil of the late 1980s when forming Covid responses, though, it is not my intention here to suggest – as useful as that subject may be.) Others clearly have nothing to do with Covid-19 but I can’t help making associations. My selection reflects, I hope, the exhausting omnipresence of the virus and its implications right now.
*The Listener was published from 1973 – 2020. It succeeded the New Zealand Listener (1939-1973); N.Z. Radio Record: and Home Journal (1932-1939); The Radio Record (1927 – 1932). Hocken Collections has significant holdings of most of these titles. A former Hocken staff member posted this article in 2014, on the occasion of the publication’s 75th anniversary. Her conclusion still stands:
“Unfortunately, Hocken’s holdings of the Listener’s first three years are extremely sparse … and we also have many gaps in later years. We will gratefully receive donations of early issues – please contact the Periodicals team (email@example.com) for details of collection gaps.”