Friends’ bulletin board archive

Turnbull Library Record: Call for Papers

Contributions are now invited for the 2018 issue of the Turnbull Library Record. To mark the 100th anniversary of the death of Alexander Turnbull, the theme for this issue is Death and Legacy.

Articles or pictorial essays should be between 2000 and 5000 words in length. Contributions that have not been previously published are welcome, and before acceptance, will be independently double-blind refereed. Articles should have a scholarly underpinning and be written in a lively and accessible manner for an informed but not specialist readership.

The Editorial Board reserves the right to decline to publish an article, whether solicited or unsolicited.

The deadline for submitting articles is Friday 29 September 2017 (extensions by negotiation).  For more information, please contact the Managing Editor, Fiona Oliver (

Information about past issues of the journal can be found under ‘Publications’.

Rugby league history project wins research grant


Ryan Bodman, photo by Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Auckland researcher Ryan Bodman has been awarded the 2017 Friends of the Turnbull Library Grant of $15,000 to assist in researching his new project, a social and cultural history of rugby league in New Zealand.

 Ryan Bodman is an independent researcher, at present a contracted historian to the Waitangi Tribunal. His project arose out of his earlier research into the trade union movement, when support for the game of rugby league – introduced into New Zealand in 1907 – emerged as a recurring theme.

 “In the early days rugby league faced sustained antagonism from rugby union’s governing bodies. Forced to the margins of New Zealand society, the game developed a unique culture and ethos,” he explains. “It was popular amongst similarly marginalised groups such as Irish Catholics, Kiingitanga Māori, Pacific Islanders and working-class communities, who embraced the game as a source of community identity and cultural pride. Many aspects of the game’s social and cultural history is not well known because historical enquiries are often informed by middle-class interests. However, my project aims to explore rugby league’s unique ethos and culture, as well as the modern game’s emergence from the sporting shadows in the context of economic, social and political changes that have shaped present-day New Zealand.”

 In announcing the award, Rachel Underwood, President of the Friends of the Turnbull Library said: “Ryan Bodman is a hardworking, highly talented scholar whose book will explore some little-known aspects of the relationship between sport and social class from the start of the twentieth century to the present. We are extremely pleased to contribute to this major project which will be of considerable public interest. Ryan will have access to the rich and diverse collections held in the Alexander Turnbull Library, including oral history and photographic archives.”

Book launch: Mansfield’s early life and collected poems

km_launch_nov16Dr Gerri Kimber, who was awarded the 2015 FoTL Research Grant to write a biography of Katherine Mansfield’s early years, has now had her book published by Edinburgh University Press. The New Zealand launch of this book, KATHERINE MANSFIELD: THE EARLY YEARS, and a new book of THE COLLECTED POEMS OF KATHERINE MANSFIELD (edited by Gerri Kimber and Claire Davison and published by Otago University Press) will be held at the KM Birthplace in Wellington on 15 November.

Murder History project wins FoTL Grant

Jarrod Pic
Dr Jarrod Gilbert

Christchurch researcher Jarrod Gilbert has been awarded the 2016 Friends of the Turnbull Library Grant of $10,000 to assist in researching his new project, a social history of New Zealand focussing on the crime of murder.

Jarrod Gilbert is an independent researcher, a part-time university lecturer in sociology, and a columnist for The New Zealand Herald.

“Jarrod Gilbert is a highly talented writer and scholar, whose book on gangs, PATCHED, was praised for its remarkable combination of depth, ambition and accessibility. Now Dr Gilbert plans to tackle the history of murder in New Zealand, using specific murders – both well-known and little-known – as case studies that will chronicle our relationship with violence from pre-colonial days to the present. We are extremely pleased to contribute to this major project which will be of considerable public interest,” said Rachel Underwood, President of the Friends of the Turnbull Library. “Jarrod will have access to the rich and diverse collections held in the Alexander Turnbull Library, including newspapers and photographic archives.”

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.

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.