The Maori Land March 1975: Democracy in action


Paul Diamond speaking at the National Library on 19 November

Paul Diamond, Curator Maori at the Turnbull Library, talked about the current exhibition in the Turnbull Gallery, “Not One More Acre …”, commemorating the Land March of 1975. The emphasis was on photographs, starting with the “defining image” of Whina Cooper and her mokopuna, as Paul explained the enormous significance of more than 250 colour photographs taken by an American, Christian Heidegg, which were donated to the Turnbull but are now serving an important new role in jogging memories and helping illuminate the sequence of events and the simultaneous process of consciousness-raising which occurred.

Fifteen years in China


Barbara Francis at the National Library on 10 November with her book “Our Secretary in China” published in 2010.

On 10 November Barbara Francis, Wellington researcher and retired teacher spoke about Agnes Moncrieff and China, 1930-1945: You don’t travel in China at the full moon’. Agnes (Nessie) Moncrieff worked as International Secretary with the YWCA in China from 1930 to 1945, describing her experiences and achievements in vivid weekly letters to friends and family and in monthly reports to the YWCA in New Zealand. Barbara Francis became a close friend in Nessie’s later years, and then she spent eight years transcribing and annotating Nessie’s papers – deposited in the Turnbull Library. She has now transcribed and edited Nessie’s correspondence for publication by Victoria University Press.

A collector of yacht racing trophies!


Peter Scott at the National Library on 13 October

On 13 October Peter Scott, with Philippa Durkin from the Rona Preservation Trust, spoke about the campaign to save the Rona: Alex Turnbull’s racing yacht. The Rona, a classic kauri racing yacht built for Turnbull, has been called as historically significant to Wellington as Katherine Mansfield’s house. Peter Scott (a former National Librarian) told the story of Alex Turnbull becoming a keen yachtsman and commissioning his first racing yacht in 1892. The wealthy young businessman – already an avid book collector – was happy to devote most of his weekends to yacht racing. And he was unstinting in his energy and enthusiasm: he bought smart outfits to look like a sailor, but he was also definitely competitive in his desire not just to take part but to win his races.

Stories, scholarship, subsidies and style


Fergus Barrowman at the National Library on 8 September

On Tuesday 8 September, Fergus Barrowman, Wellington publisher and literary editor, spoke about New Zealand Publishing Today, exploring trends in New Zealand publishing from the perspective of his 30 years as Publisher of Victoria University Press. Changes in technology, dwindling numbers of stock-holding bookshops, the influence of Bill Manhire’s creative writing course, the continuing need for subsidies and many other aspects of the book trade were covered in Fergus’s excellent overview.

Maori Land March anniversary

4_Paul-Diamond-SmOn Thursday 19 November at 5.30 pm:

Paul Diamond, curator of the Turnbull Gallery exhibition:

“Not One More Acre …” The Maori Land March 40 years on

Tiakiwai Conference Centre, National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa,

Aitken Street entrance

Public talk, all welcome

Panel Discussion: Thursday 17 September

The National Library 50 Years On: Its Role and Challenges for the Future

Panel Discussion: Thursday 17 September, 5.30 pm

Ground Floor, National Library, Molesworth Street

 To mark the 50th anniversary of the passing of the National Library Act 1965 the National Library Society and the Friends of the Turnbull Library jointly presented a panel of experts to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing the National Library in the next 50 years.


Alan Smith: Alan Smith was Deputy National Librarian through the 1980s introduction of online networking, the move into the present building, and the era of state sector reforms. Long-time member of both Friends of the Turnbull Library and the National Library Society, he was President of the latter 1998-2001.

Don Hunn CNZM: Eminent NZ diplomat and senior public servant, Don Hunn is the immediate past Chair of the Library and Information Advisory Commission, the statutory body which advises the Minister responsible for the National Library.

Professor Charlotte Macdonald: Professor of History, Victoria University of Wellington, Prof Macdonald is an authority on the National Library’s role, especially that of the Alexander Turnbull Library, as the repository of national literary taonga and a vital source for research.

Professor Anne Goulding: Professor of Library and Information Management, Victoria University of Wellington, Prof Goulding is the Research Degrees Programme Director. Her main focus is the management of public libraries. She is also Editor of The Journal of Librarianship and Information Science and has published widely on public library services.

Karen Clarke: Currently Library Manager, St Patrick’s College, Karen Clarke has worked in school libraries for 18 years. She is Wellington Chairperson of School Library Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (SLANZA) and the Wellington regional representative on the SLANZA National Executive.


Three new Guardians Kaitiaki appointed

Aroha Harris 2015

Aroha Harris at the Library in February

Minister for the National Library Peter Dunne has announced the appointment of Dr Aroha Harris, Dr Jock Phillips and Dr Sydney Shep to the Guardians Kaitiaki of the Alexander Turnbull Library. Helen Tait (Chair) has been re-appointed for a further three-year term. Helen Walker continues her current term of appointment.

Katherine’s kimono


Gerri Kimber at the National Library on 4 August

UK researcher Dr Gerri Kimber has been visiting New Zealand for the fourth time in her diligent search for more information about Katherine Mansfield. Her latest trip is as the 2015 recipient of the Friends of Turnbull Library Research Grant, investigating KM’s early years in Wellington.

Her public talk at the National Library on 4 August, called Tea, Zen and Cosmic Anatomy: the mysticism of Katherine Mansfield drew connections in Mansfield’s literary and personal enthusiasm for Japanese culture, evidence of her early reading of The Book of Tea, and analysis of poems written in 1909-10. Gerri explained that Mansfield took to wearing a kimono at home, read the poems of Yone Noguchi and talked about visiting Japan. This was at the time of the enormously influential Japanese-British Exhibition in London, and Gerri entranced her audience with her comment on Mansfield’s short Japanese-style bob hairstyle was similar to that of a Japanese doll available for sale at the huge exposition!

Turnbull Library Record, Vol.47, 2015

rsz_tlr_47This issue celebrates the 100th anniversary of composer Douglas Lilburn’s birth in Wanganui on 2 November 1915, and presents a selection of birthday offerings exploring our musical heritage and its future.

‘Dear Mr Lilburn, Yours sincerely, Max Hinrichsen’: A Chronicle of Correspondence, 1940–1953: Lilburn biographer Philip Norman analyses correspondence between Lilburn and his publisher in London.

A Matter of Trust: Reflections on the Lilburn Trust and the Archive of New Zealand Music: Roger Flury reflects on his years working at the National and Turnbull Libraries, and the role of Lilburn as patron.

The Taonga of Others: Interpreting Waiata from the James Cowan Papers: Ariana Tikao studies James Cowan’s song-collecting, done in the early 20th century, which revealed that Māori featured the sounds of the land, sea, flora and fauna in their music.

Johnny (Tahu) Cooper: The ‘Maori Cowboy’: In 2014, the library acquired the archive of Johnny Cooper, the ‘Māori Cowboy’ and father of New Zealand rock’n’roll. Keith McEwing describes these papers and recordings, as well as the artist’s career.

The Devil’s in the Detail: David Mitchell’s Cover Art for the 3Ds: Denise Roughan shows us the weird and wonderful 3Ds album-cover artwork, and explains the stories behind their creation.

Untouchable Girls in the Library: Arranging and Describing the Diva Productions Collection: Valerie Love explains her work organizing the recent donation of Diva Productions archival material, mostly relating to the Topp Twins, which charts the evolution of their career from buskers to national treasures.

Blurred Lines: Five Years of Archiving Online Music at the Turnbull: Sholto Duncan explores the challenges faced by libraries archiving music recorded in the digital age: much of it is distributed by the composers themselves using the internet.

Catching the Zombies: Experimental Music in Aotearoa and the Importance of Preservation: Matt Steindl explains the proliferation of experimental music and the crucial role of collecting institutions to support, capture and preserve it.

List of Contributors, Vol.47

Sholto Duncan is an Electronic Publications Librarian/Selector, specialising in online music at the Alexander Turnbull Library. He has played a large role in developing the Library’s digital music selection policies and workflows, and is heavily involved in publisher/producer relations in negotiating permissions for archiving and making music accessible through the National Digital Heritage Archive.

Until his retirement in 2014, Roger Flury was Curator, Music at the Alexander Turnbull Library and Secretary to the Music Advisory Committee of the Lilburn Trust. Before that he spent 20 years developing the National Library’s general music collections and services, and 10 years at Canterbury Public Library. He served as Secretary General of the International Association of Music Libraries from 2003 until his election as President in 2010. His books on Mascagni and Puccini have won awards in the USA. Current projects include a volume on Dunedin-born conductor Warwick Braithwaite, and – in collaboration with David Vine – the complete compositions of Arturo Toscanini for publication in New York.

Valerie Love is Research Librarian for Digital Materials on the Arrangement and Description Team at the Alexander Turnbull Library. Before moving to New Zealand in 2011, Valerie worked as Curator for Human Rights Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut, and as Project Archivist at the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change, University of Memphis.

Keith McEwing has worked in music libraries for 23 years and is currently Acting Curator, Music, at the Alexander Turnbull Library. He has a Bachelor of Music (Composition) from Victoria University of Wellington, and in 2008 completed a Master of Arts, looking at the relationship of dance and music in the chaconne. Keith also teaches and performs Renaissance, Baroque, and modern social dance.

Dr Philip Norman was the inaugural Lilburn Research Fellow at the Turnbull Library in 2013, continuing research towards a book on composition in New Zealand. Author of an award-winning biography of Douglas Lilburn (CUP 2006), he was also editor and principal contributor to John Ritchie: A Festschrift (Nota Bene 2011), amongst other publications. Based in Christchurch, he is active as a writer, composer, conductor, speaker and advocate for the arts.

Denise Roughan is Assistant Curator, Drawings, Paintings and Prints, at the Alexander Turnbull Library. She has been an active musician in various bands in New Zealand and London for 30 years, including nine years playing in the 3Ds.

Matt Steindl is Music Research Librarian at the Alexander Turnbull Library. He lives in Kilbirnie, and plays music in Wellington bands The Golden Awesome and The Raskolnikovs.

Ariana Tikao is the Research Librarian, Māori (Arrangement & Description) at the Alexander Turnbull Library. She is of Kāi Tahu descent, with strong links to the Canterbury/Banks Peninsula area. Ariana is also a singer-songwriter, particularly interested in reviving waiata from her whānau, hapū and iwi, and is an avid exponent of taonga puoro. Last year she curated an exhibition in the Turnbull Gallery about the writer James Cowan and his role in the development of New Zealand’s cultural identity.

Highlights from a “dream job”

Speaking to the Friends of the Turnbull Library at this year’s AGM, Marian Minson, curator Drawings, Paintings and Prints, looked back over 36 years working at the Library, and revealed some personal favourites among the artworks for which she has been responsible for the past 15 years. Her highlights included several from Alexander Turnbull’s own collection, and her reminiscences ranged from the idiosyncrasies of staff members such as the redoubtable Tony Murray-Oliver, to the astounding growth of the Drawings, Paintings and Prints collections, which has trebled over the past three decades.

M Minson 2015

Marian Minson, Curator Drawings, Paintings and Prints

Delicate watercolours, delightful oils, architectural sketches, landscapes, historic scenes, early colonial towns, ships, portraits – this was a very special curator’s guided tour through nearly 50 significant items. Some were well-known artists (Heaphy, Fox, C D Barraud, G F Angas, von Guerard) but many others were lesser-known treasures, such as John Pearse’s “Mr Biggs House, Hutt, 1855” [E-455-f-053-1] showing fissures from the 1855 earthquake, and John Adams’ view of the Auckland waterfront in February 1844. [B-176-003].