The Friends of the Turnbull Library


The Friends of the Turnbull Library (FoTL) is a national organisation, supporting the work and activities of the Alexander Turnbull Library since 1939.

Titiro ki muri kia whakatika ā mua.
Preserving the past to enlighten the future.

The Alexander Turnbull Library is a guardian of our heritage, a great research institution serving the general public and scholars in the fields of historical research, literary, cultural and genealogical studies.

The Friends of the Turnbull Library promotes public interest in the Library’s collections and supports research and use of its collections.



Over 2019-2021 the Friends joined the Turnbull staff, the Turnbull Endowment Trust and many others to celebrate the Library’s anniversary. An account of the celebrations can be found here: ATL100 celebrations

Looking to the future….
With the anniversary behind us, the Friends are looking forward to continuing to support the Turnbull through our programme of publications, public events and research.

“What’s next? One hundred years from now what will the Turnbull Library be like? Certainly, it won’t be like it is now. It can’t be. The only ‘must’ in the Turnbull’s future is the promise of care for the ever-growing collections, the promise to make the collections available, and – one hopes – ongoing acknowledgment of the many donors who make all of this possible. Thank you Alex H Turnbull et al.”  Chris Szekely Chief Librarian Off the Record 2021

Coming up…

Thursday 10 November, at 5.30pm:

Dr Oliver Stead

“The Paper Knife: Patrick White and Katherine Mansfield”

In this talk, Oliver Stead will discuss the influence of Katherine Mansfield on Patrick White, a British-born writer who grew up in Australia to become a renowned novelist and playwright. White is still the only Australian to have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature (in 1973). On a visit to the Turnbull by Patrick White in 1961, the unusual link connecting the writers was first revealed. White donated to the library a silver and greenstone paper knife (pictured right) that had belonged to Katherine Mansfield.

About the speaker

Dr Oliver Stead, Curator, Drawings Paintings & Prints at the Alexander Turnbull Library, holds degrees in Art History and Information Studies. Prior to joining the Turnbull team, he held curatorial and collection management roles at Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Auckland Museum, National Library of Australia and the Wallace Arts Trust.

Venue: Taiwhanga Kauhau Auditorium, Lower Ground Floor, National Library of New Zealand, Thorndon Wellington.


You may join us either in person or on-line for this event.

If attending in person an RSVP is requested. Please email

Can’t make it in person?

This event will also be delivered using Zoom. You do not need to install the software to attend, you can opt to run zoom from your browser.


Smart Alex 2022

The Friends are delighted to announce the fourth year of our creative writing competition Smart Alex. The competition was created to inspire and encourage students to enter the world of the Alexander Turnbull Library and discover its many treasures.

This year Smart Alex coincides with the release of Te Kupenga, and students are encouraged to use this taonga to become familiar with the work and collections of the Library. Click HERE for more details…

 2022/23 Subscriptions….

…are now due.  Please see the Join Us  link above.



Tuesday 28 JuneFOUNDER LECTURE 2022
Tuesday 28 JuneFOUNDER LECTURE 2022
Tuesday 28 JuneFOUNDER LECTURE 2022
Tuesday 28 June