Rolf Brednich, who has been researching a biography of the German-born New Zealander Augustus Koch (1834-1901), spoke about his life and work at a meeting of the Friends of the Turnbull Library on Tuesday 21 October.
Koch first visited New Zealand as a seaman on a sailing ship in 1855. He returned in 1858, bringing a printing press so that he could produce prints of his own artwork, and settled in Auckland with his bride. Within a few months he became known to other European New Zealanders – Dr Karl Fisher, Dr Ferdinand Hochstetter and Julius Haast – and subsequently joined the Austrian Novara Expedition as meteorological observer and later mapmaker.
Rolf Brednich retired from a long involvement in ethnology and folklore, and turned his attention to Koch’s remarkable immigrant career. Realising that this story needed to be documented, he has spent several years working on the biography which is to be published soon by Steele Roberts. It will include many of Koch’s sketches held in the collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library.