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.


Thursday 18 July 2024, 5:30pm to 7:30pm

Friends of the Turnbull Library AGM

Notice of Meeting

VENUE: Programme Rooms, Te Ahumairangi (Ground Floor), National Library, corner of Molesworth and Aitken Streets, Thorndon, Wellington

Nau mai, haere mai, welcome

All members are invited to the annual general meeting of the Friends of the Turnbull Library. For copies of the AGM papers – please see the links below.

Reflections on being a Māori curator

Following the meeting there will be an opportunity to hear from the Paul Diamond (Ngāti Hauā, Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi), until recently the Turnbull’s Curator Māori. Paul was awarded a Friends of the Turnbull Research Grant in 2007.

In this talk, Paul will provide an entertaining and well-illustrated overview of some of the highlights and challenges of this role. Explaining that it involved an oversight of all the Turnbull collections, he discusses some of his favourite discoveries.

Paul Diamond (Ngāti Hauā, Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi) became the inaugural Curator Māori at the Alexander Turnbull Library in 2010.  He is the author of Downfall: the Destruction of Charles Mackay, which was shortlisted for the 2023 Ockham Book Awards, and was the recipient of the 2019 CNZ writers’ residency in Berlin. His previous works include A Fire in Your Belly, Makereti, and Savaged to Suit. Paul now works at the Ministry for Culture & Heritage.

Light refreshments will be served at the conclusion of the meeting

Friends of the Turnbull Library – AGM papers:


2024 Speaker Programme

Go to the WHAT’S ON page to see details of what is coming up in our monthly programme of public talks. Wellington events are held at Taiwhanga Kauhau — the National Library Wellington Auditorium -entrance from Aitken Street, Thorndon.

In Auckland, talks are held at the Takapuna Library, 9 The Strand. The next Auckland event will be on Wednesday 18 September, jointly hosted by Friends of Turnbull Library and Friends of Takapuna Library. Details here: Claudia Orange at Takapuna


THURSDAY 24 JULY, 5.30 PM

Associate Professor Kealani Cook

The Imaginary Samoan that lives in the Colonial Mind

In this talk Kealani Cook will discuss aspects of the Samoan Mau movement in the context of his research examining non-violent civil disobedience movements across Oceania. In the late 1920s through the 1930s, the Mau movement challenged and at times negated the ability of the New Zealand colonial administration to rule over Sāmoa.

This presentation examines some of the internal documentation which colonial administrators used to shape and perpetuate imaginary visions of the Samoan people. These “Imaginary Samoans” served to justify the administration’s presence and repressive actions while denying the strength and legitimacy of the Mau movement. Policies shaped around these imaginary Samoans rather than real ones led to a persistent inability to comprehend the Mau and the persistent failure of attempts to end the Mau.

About the speaker

Kealani Cook is Associate Professor in the Humanities Division, University of Hawaiʻi-West Oʻahu, Kapolei, and author of Return to Kahiki: Native Hawaiians in Oceania (Cambridge University Press, 2018). In 2024 he was the recipient of a Travel Grant from the Friends of the Turnbull Library, His research project is a comparative history examining non-violent civil disobedience movements across Oceania. He plans to write a book bringing together four such movements: the Parihaka campaign of peaceful resistance, the Samoan Mau movement, the Maʻasina Ruru movement, and Operation Homecoming at Kwajalein Atoll.

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.

Register if you’d like to join this talk and we’ll send you the link to use on the day.

Register for a Zoom link


* For those who missed the MAY Speaker EventNorman Meehan: Jenny McLeod, Tracing Threads – the Speech Notes are now available (including links): Jenny McLeod – Tracing Threads [Turnbull Library]

2024/25 Subscriptions….

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

NOTE: If you have joined the Friends of Turnbull Library online in the past few months, and have paid your membership subscription via internet banking, PLEASE NOTE that we need your contact details. Copies of the annual magazine Off The Record were mailed to members in May. We need your postal address. Please contact us at turnbullfriends@gmail.com to supply your contact details.

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