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…

Wednesday 7 June at 5.30pm

Helen Beaglehole, historian, editor and writer:

“Sources, Silences, Perspectives and Prejudices: the challenges of writing the first history of settlement in the Marlborough Sounds”

Helen Beaglehole is a Wellington historian who has spent over 40 years sailing and exploring in the Marlborough Sounds. Having written well reviewed books for children and young adults, she has since published well received histories: Lighting the Coast: A history of New Zealand’s lighthouse systemAlways the Sound of the Sea: The daily lives of New Zealand’s lighthouse system and Fire in the Hills: A history of rural firefighting in New Zealand. She has also contributed to the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography and Te Ara, New Zealand’s online encyclopedia.


Wednesday 21 June at 6.00pm



“The Māori writer as New Zealand practitioner and indigenous artisan”

Witi Ihimaera DCNZM, DCM, is an acclaimed writer, anthologist and librettist. This event celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Witi’s ground-breaking novel, Tangi.

Author of the immensely popular novel, The Whale Rider, Witi Ihimaera was Professor of English and Distinguished Creative Fellow in Māori Literature at University of Auckland until 2010. Witi is an influential figure in New Zealand literature and over his long career has won numerous awards for both fiction and non-fiction.

His first memoir, Māori Boy, won the Ockham Book Award for non-fiction in 2015, and Witi received a Prime Minister’s Award for fiction in 2017. This will be a very special event, with refreshments offered after the lecture. RSVP is essential.

Our public programme will continue every month until November. Please visit our ‘WHAT’S ON’ page for more event details…

 2023/24 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