Thursday, 16 December 2010

Turbine 2010 is online now.

The 2010 issue of literary journal Turbine is now online, featuring new writing from emerging and established writers, with motherhood, earthquakes, and snow emerging as themes in this year's quietly apocalyptic selection.

Turbine is published once a year by Victoria University's International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML).

Sixteen of this year's IIML Masters students have work on display, including this year's Adam Foundation Prize winner, Rayne Cockburn, with an excerpt from her reading journal offering an insight into how reading great literature feeds the creative process.

Also in this issue are two new poems by, and an interview with, 2010 Victoria University Writer in Residence Jenny Bornholdt, former Poet Laureate, who talks about the poetic quality of children's writing, and what is meant by the term 'school of poetry'.

Audio recordings by six poets, including Jenny Bornholdt, 2009 Biggs Prize winner Bill Nelson, and Victoria University Lecturer Anna Jackson, offer the chance to hear poetry come to life.

Two new storm-buffeted but enchanting poems appear from Bernadette Hall, who will be taking up a teaching fellowship at the IIML next year to stand in for senior lecturer Chris Price, who will be spending much of the year in Menton, France as recipient of the 2011 Mansfield Prize.

"The 2010 edition of Turbine is full of award-winning writers, with a startling piece of fiction set in a disquieting theme park from two-time Macmillan Brown Prize winner Cate Palmer, and poetry by no fewer than three previous Adam Prize recipients Cliff Fell, Lynn Jenner, and Ashleigh Young," says Chris Price.

"The issue traverses the high brow and the low. Cliff Fell's work alone ranges from classical Latin love poetry to an examination of Kiwi profanity."

The NZETC works with the IIML to publish Turbine and hosts the journal on our server. If you wish to see the other editions of Turbine you can do so here: Turbine index page.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Scholarly editions of 19th Century Novels

The NZETC is proud to highlight the work of ENGL489 students from Victoria University of Wellington who have been working with works in our 19th Century novels collection over the past two years. The students have researched a novel of their choice and created a scholarly edition complete with editorial glossing through footnotes, bibliographies and relevant contemporary resources. These editions contribute to the understanding of little known authors and works.

The editorial editions are as follows:

Further information regarding the corpus of novels can be obtained here: Nineteenth Century Novels Corpus Page. We would like to thank Jane Stafford from the School of English, Film, Theatre and Media Studies for working to make the course a success.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Vacancy: Digital Projects Assistant

The Library Technology Services team at Victoria University is focused upon the delivery of digital content, tool and services to meet the needs of the Library and its community of users.

Applications are invited to for a permanent position within that team as Digital Projects Assistant. The role is to undertake the practical tasks required to both create new digital resources for the Library collections inlcluding the NZETC collection. It is a great chance to learn and gain experience across a range of digitisation and digital academic publishing projects.

Would suit someone with an enthusiasm for digital projects, an aptitude for technology and an eye for detail. Relevant experience in publishing, libraries or information technology would be useful but excellent communication skills and experience of working effectively in a team are equally important.

To view details of this position and to apply, please go to:

Ref: G260-10

Closing date for applications – Monday 29th November 2010

Monday, 8 November 2010

Copyright Mistakes

Alert users will have noticed that we've been having some difficulties in the last little while. A staff error resulted in the serving of works to the public under an inappropriate copyright license. When the error was identified we immediately took down the webserver and reversed the mistake.

Most of the content that we serve is either cached (webpages) or pre-generated (ePub and DAISY ebooks, PDF page images) and the number of works effected means that the re-cacheing and re-pre-generation will take some time. Until then our webserver is likely to be slow and some links to ePubs will not work. Our TEI, DAISY and PDF files appear not to contain licensing information so continue to be available.

We believe that we now have correct licensing information for all works on our website. If you have any questions about the licensing of particular works or corpora, please get in touch with us at Library Technology Services.

We are currently getting in touch with known re-users of our content to alert them to the situation and work through the licensing issues.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Zoology Publications of VUW

We are very happy to announce the launch of the Zoology Publications from Victoria University of Wellington 1949-1985. The Zoology Publications contain works of national and to an extent international relevance and will benefit marine and terrestrial biologists working in New Zealand through extensive keys and species descriptions. Articles in the publication often describe the discovery of new genera and species. Interestingly many of the articles in the publication’s history research species local to the Cook Strait and Wellington region as well as the rest of New Zealand. The Zoology Publications represent an important part of the university’s scientific research outputs.

Zoology is a broad discipline, at present many courses in the Ecology & Biodiversity and Marine Biology programmes contain significant zoological content. We anticipate that having the Zoology Publications readily available will be very valuable for students studying in these disciplines and will promote past and future research within the University.

This digitisation project has enabled fully searchable copies of the entire collection of 80 works that were previously difficult to access. Each article is also available to be downloaded in PDF and ePub formats.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Bilingual Websites

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the National Digital Forum, a gathering of galleries, libraries, archives and museum people from across New Zealand and around the world. I was invited to talk about the bilingual stuff we do at the NZETC, and I was talking alongside Andy Neale from the National Library and Basil Keane from the Ministry for Cultural and Heritage (and Te Ara in particular).

The Māori texts in the NZETC collection are created in exactly the same way as the English texts. The actual digitisation is outsourced and a quality specified as an error rate per character: when the texts come back we check the digital against to original ensure that the quality is met. The team who check the the quality have to check every character anyway, so the actual language doesn't matter (or not much anyway). The metadata (author, publisher, date, etc.) comes from existing library records, including the fabulous "Books in Māori." At no point does anyone actually need to read and comprehend the texts, which means that we don't need a team of fluent te reo Māori speakers.

Basil Keane at Te Ara is at the opposite end of the spectrum. Basil's work is inherently editorial: he needs to be able to read and understand the subtleties of the texts he's dealing with and also the constellation of factors which impact the interpretation of the work (especially the political ones). As such, he's a licensed translator. He also relies on sources like the NZETC and the various National Library and ArchivesNZ sources to locate particular source materials and also examples of particular language usage.

Andy Neale talked about the planning they did before they rolled out the current National Library main website about how exactly to handle bilingual content.

In the discussion after our talk, it emerged that there was a perceived lack of information about how to approach bilingualism when planning and implementing a website. A number of different groups have done work in the area, but no one is gathering it together in one place and promoting it to those just starting to introduce te reo Māori into their website. To make a start at this, I thought I'd assemble the information I have here:

* The original work in this area was done in print form. It's probably worth reviewing Books in Māori and the materials listed there to see how these problems were solved in print. Bilingual print has been around longer than bilingual websites, so they may have cracked some of the problems.
* Te Taka Keegan at Waikato published his PhD in the area of browsing of bilingual websites and since has a number of publications
* The study the National Library did into potential bilingual information architectures for their website is at
* The koha open source library software has been translated into te reo Māori and the translation strings are available in machine readable format from, for example which is a good source for some of the navigational terminology (next, previous, search, etc, etc).
* On the NZETC site there are a couple of URLs to look at for how we handle bilingualism: (notice the search for parallel texts and the explicit promotion of different languages) There is also a stylesheet I wrote at which converts our TEI into TMX files ( ), which is a format used by computer-aided translation software (including google translate). This only works with our bilingual texts derived from facing page translations. If anyone wants our texts as TMX files, give me a yodel, as doing it by hand will be slow.
* The position of Welsh in the UK is somewhat similar to the position of te reo Māori in New Zealand and there has been some interesting work there on bilingual websites, particular in terms of situating bilingual websites in the content of theory of language revitalization. See for example Daniel Cunliffe's and

If you know of any other good resources for building bilingual websites, got let me know: / / the comments below.

Many of the NDF presentations, including ours, are up at

Friday, 1 October 2010

Barry Crump: Good Keen Man and Complex Individual

There are a small handful of personalities that have had, through their activities and relationships, a pervasive and influential effect on the direction and development of New Zealand's mid-to-late 20th century literary landscape. To this group must belong figures such as Allan Curnow, Frank Sargeson, and Charles Brasch, all notable in various capacities for their authorial, editorial and mentoring contributions to our literature.

However, one figure that is often overlooked in terms of impact and influence, both in terms of the popular audience but also amongst his peers, is that of Barry Crump.

Crump stands as one of a very few New Zealand authors to have sold more than quarter of a million of any given book (A Good Keen Man[1]), let alone of their entire output. He remains one of New Zealand's most popular and versatile writers ever, having produced a number of works of fiction (for both adults and children), memoir, verse, stage-plays, songs, having made numerous appearances in film and on television and radio, and even contributing to our national vocabulary[2].

Accordingly, we're happy to be able to make available online Rowan Gibbs' bibliography of Barry Crump, originally appearing in Kōtare Vol 4 No 2, 2001, and now part of the online version.

Gibbs' bibliography is exhaustive in capturing the range and detail of Crump's activities, collating his original works as well as detailing adaptations and reviews of these works, and covering many of his appearances in the media. This bibliography also refers to some of Crump's less well-known efforts, such as the assistance he provided to Dr Erich Geiringer in 1962 in promoting the benefits of cervical smear tests, after University authorities labelled pamphlets regarding cervical smear tests as obscene. As Gibbs relates:
In his periodical N.Z. Medical News 7 (29 May 1963), Geiringer prints a brief letter from "Barry Crump, North Queensland": "Dear Erich ... Why don't you publish details and results to date of the cervical smear campaign we did in Dunedin last year?". Geiringer replies that the number of smears done in Dunedin rose by 153%... "figures on beer consumption in Dunedin during our stay are unfortunately not available. I hope to publish some of the interesting details of our campaign in a leaflet to the boys who helped us. Please leave a few crocodiles alive to help the Medical profession weep for the women who still needlessly die of cancer of the cervix every year".[3]
Crump's literary career began with his novel A Good Keen Man, published in 1959 and written at the instigation of his good friend, Kevin Ireland. Crump's publishers, Reed, demanded extensive modifications to the manuscript, including changing the narrator's voice from third to first person, a move which was to result in Barry Crump becoming a cultural icon as well as an author.

A Good Keen Man was immediately popular, though popularity itself was not enough to gain Crump admission to the establishment. The radio adaptation of A Good Keen Man, broadcast in 1961, was voiced by Bernard Kearns after Crump was forbidden to narrate his own work on account of his accent. Any affront Crump might have felt was possibly ameliorated in 1967 when the Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind organised for Crump to narrate a sound recording for their listeners.

By the time Crump's third novel, One of Us, was published, he was on firmer ground, winning the Hubert Church Award for "the best prose published in the previous year," though the book had only been finished with the intervention of Crump's editor at Reeds, Ray Richards, as Crump had "gone bush"[4].

By the time of his fourth novel, Gulf (Crocodile Country), published in 1964, Crump was gaining considerable recognition overseas, having had earlier stories from his 1961 collection Hang on a Minute Mate translated into Russian[5], with an abridged Russian edition of Gulf being printed in a print-run of 100,000 in 1969 under the name of "Barri Kramp". It is hard to know how well Crump's iconoclastic vernacular was received by foreign-speaking audiences, but that it was received imperfectly can perhaps be seen by the fact that the title 'Hang on a Minute Mate' was translated into Russian as if it meant "hold on to your friend."[6]

Although the quality of Crump's output over the years was uneven, the early popularity meant that there was often a ready audience for his writing, and he managed to capitalise on this with forays into self-publishing when the terms of the established publishers weren't to his liking. He claimed that, by the mid-1960s, he was able to dictate a royalty equivalent "close to 20% of the retail price."[7]

Crump's work divided the reviewers, and opinions were not always as evenly divided as we might expect. Jim Henderson is possibly a typical example of the pro-Crump faction, claiming that Hang on a Minute Mate was "a book to cherish, to read to your sons. Many Kiwis will reckon this is THE New Zealand novel: she's sneaked up on us ... out of the scrub..."[8], while on the opposite side we find David Yerex, reviewing A Good Keen Man for the NZ Dairy Exporter opining that it was "good reading [for deerstalkers]... I doubt [others] will appreciate more than a paragraph or two"[9] and Denis Taylor seeing in Crump's work "... fluency of New Zealand idiom and material... [but] has not... fully realised his material... has hold of a myth equal to the way of life he described... [but] has constructed no organic action to bring it into full meaning. New Zealand must wait yet for its Voss..."[10]

However, a number of well-respected literary identities did see value in Crump's writing, with Dennis McEldowney seeing in Crump "a line that goes back to Samuel Butler and to Lady Barker's shepherd's yarns ... artfully artless..."[11] and James K. Baxter claiming that "One cannot dismiss Crump as a raconteur ... I suspect that One of Us is the satire on New Zealand manners and morals which nobody else has written, except Sargeson in an occasional equally wry fable..."[12]

Others in the literary scene saw Crump's writing style as something not necessarily to be emulated, and Maurice Duggan's reference in Along Rideout Road that Summer to "a genuine crumpy conversation" is probably best understood by the comments of Duggan's biographer, Ian Richards, that Duggan "had been watching Crump's rise in New Zealand literature since 1960 with quiet dismay"[13] and that Duggan "happily assumed [Fleur Adcock's poem 'Cold moon shining'] to be an attack on Barry Crump."[14] Crump possibly gets the last laugh on Duggan, by being referenced by C.K. Stead in the introduction to Duggan's Collected Stories: "I know of only two who have lived for any significant period of their lives by writing fiction and they are Barry Crump and Ngaio Marsh."[15]

Observing a balance of desirable and undesirable in Crump's writing, others were more circumspect: Patrick Evans, in the Penguin History of New Zealand Literature, noted that "Crump wrote too much ... but his fiction represents one possible way out of the limitations of the provincial novel."[16]

Although Crump became quickly identified with the humorous and care-free archetype of the New Zealand bloke, his private life was more convoluted, and Crump the individual was a much more complex and often darker character than his reading public realised, and was on occasion a less than ideal husband and parent. His five-month marriage in 1962 to Fleur Adcock was brief and tempestuous, as Adcock herself relates:
"...In January 1962 I met Barry Crump, a best-selling author of picaresque, anecdotal sagas about deer-culling, rabbit-shooting, and life in the bush or the pub, told in the casually colourful Kiwi male vernacular: not my kind of literature at all, nor my kind of man. A month later ... we were married. This was lunacy ... A year of confusion and melodrama followed eyes, bruises, and chipped teeth..."[17]
Crump was survived by a number of children to various partners, and during his life was not able to find time for them all; one of his children, Harry Crump, told a magazine in 1985 that he never knew his father well, and that he "learned about him by reading the newspapers,"[18] while a Dominion Post article of 6 July 1991 observes that "Two Raumati children had never met Barry Crump but were proud to be his grandchildren."[19]

That Barry Crump was larger than life owes quite a lot to the determination of many New Zealanders to identify with the traits of Crump and his characters that are seen as likeably roughish and maybe even anti-authoritarian. Therefore, in spite of the effort that Crump put into creating and promoting his persona, we need to also credit a willing audience, as is probably best evidenced by the popular reception to the series of television advertisements that Crump starred in alongside Lloyd Scott for Toyota between 1982 and 1995. We should also recognise that, as well as the person in the street, many in New Zealand's literary scene were also prepared to elevate Crump, with Graeme Lay for example stating that "The Australians had to invent Crocodile Dundee. We had a real one..."[20]

As well as being mythologised in real life, Crump also appeared directly and indirectly as a character in other people's works of fiction. Jean Watson, an early partner of Crump, used Crump as a model for Abungus, a character in Stand in the Rain  who "played the guitar like a Maori and had a face like the god Pan."[21] One of Crump's later wives, Robyn Lee-Robinson, wrote "a novel focusing on a battered wife suffering abuse from a man who goes by the name of Mullet... describes Crump's sudden death as 'extraordinarily frustrating ... Now he's dead, the personal risk is diminished, but the myth is harder to beat'."[22]

In terms of looking to Barry Crump as a solution for a search for a local identity, it should be noted that Crump was himself looking for identity through much of his life. Jean Watson talks about her and Crump "following some dream of an ideal existence without being quite sure what this was,"[23] and in the 1970s Crump became a Baha'i, being quoted in an article in the Auckland Star in 1980 as saying "I suppose my personal attitudes to life have changed since I gave it all away seven years ago......quite suddenly ... I got sick of the scene ... there was no challenge left... Baha'i seemed to have all the answers." In another article he states that "I've superficially changed the way I live", and that he "was pretty careless morally beforehand. I was prejudiced about women, now I'm more realistic."[24]

If there is a philosophy to be detected in Crump's life and fiction, it possibly can be illustrated by an anecdote from the former owner of the Monde Marie coffee bar in Wellington, appearing in the Evening Post:
"... She had her fair share of embryonic celebrities: Barry Crump. He was with a drunken Maori lady and she got cross, I don't know why. And she stood in the middle of the place and tried to slug me. I really wanted to slosh her one. But one thing I couldn't face was vomit, so I said to Barry, who was sitting there with a silly grin on his face, 'Get her out of here!', and he said 'Oh Mary, you've got to observe life.' and I said 'OK I'll observe life but you hold the basin'."[25]
All references below are taken from Rowan Gibbs' Barry Crump: A Bibliography, appearing in Kōtare Vol 4 No 2, 2001:

1. B1: Crump's list in Life and Times gives total sales by Sept. 1991 as 275,000 copies. Ray Richards (Tribute p.74) talks of a total to 1996 of "300,000 copies ... and six million dollars (retail value)".

2. H188: Elizabeth and Harry Orsman's New Zealand Dictionary cites Crump as the source of several expressions, including 'Taking to one's scrapers'.

3. K: Crump and the Cervical Smear Campaign

4. B4: Ray Richards recounts that "I had to write the final chapter ... because Crump had 'gone bush' and the printers were waiting".

5. B2: As Gibbs observes, 'The Pahau Valley pub' and 'Not guilty, sir' were translated into Russian by la. Berlin as 'Gostinitsa Pakhau-Velli' and 'Ne vinoven, ser' in E. Dombrovskaia, ed. Novozelandskie Rasskazy, Perevody s angliiskogo. Introduction by V. Rubin. Translations edited by N. Gal'. Illustrated by A. Beliukin. Moscow: Isdatel'stvo Khudozhestvennoi Literatury, 1963.446pp. Pp.417-24, 425-8.

6. B2

7. H171

8. G2

9. G1

10. G2

11. G1

12. G4

13. H258

14. H258

15. H97

16. H159

17. H28. An interview with Adcock, appearing in The Guardian 29 July 2000, describes her as displaying "all the foresight and prudence of a lemming". The interview's writer, Sally Vincent writes that it was "...the most horrifying thing she could think to do to persuade herself out of more obsessive liaisons. He was soon routinely smacking her in the mouth. 'They do that, don't they?' she says. 'Manly men. They're fine in the pub telling jokes and stories, but in an argument they're not so good at the old logic, so that's when they smack you across the mouth.' The marriage lasted five months. By way of a divorce settlement, Mr Crump agreed to pay her passage to England, less the £30 she'd already salted away for the purpose ...".

18. H112

19. H220

20. H252

21. H34

22. H248

23. H34

24. H87

25. H224

Friday, 10 September 2010

Earthquakes: "heterogeneous confusion" and earthquake weather

Given the topical nature of the subject, I thought I'd write a few words about earthquakes as they appear in the NZETC collection.

The Earthquake of 1855
Given that the NZETC is Wellington-based and that we have a number of Wellington-themed texts in our collection, it should be no surprise that we have plenty of material online relating to the earthquake of 1855 that struck Wellington and the Wairarapa.

For example Early Wellington has a first-hand account of the 1855 earthquake, describing "heterogeneous confusion". The author of the account notes:
Amidst the general wreck of property, but one life has been sacrificed, and not more than four other persons seriously wounded.… This would appear astonishing to a person viewing the wreck of the houses, the mass of brickwork from the falling of the chimneys.… .the extraordinary rise of the tide, the entire destruction of some tenements, the collapse of others, the universal sacrifice of property and the natural terror and despair among the inhabitants, all tending to far greater personal disaster than fortunately I have to narrate.… . The hour was favourable to the escape of adults who seized the children from beneath the tottering chimneys, themselves not having generally retired to bed.
The timing of the earthquake, at 9:11pm, was fortuitous, as "Government House, had it been occupied, must have destroyed its inmates; for in every room, was a pile of brickwork, the chandeliers, etc., utterly destroyed."

An earlier earthquake, in 1848, had persuaded Wellingtonians to forego the use of brick as a building material, and the wisdom of this was borne out by observers:
“But upon going round Wellington and comparing the damage of 1848 with the present damage, I should say the amount was very much less than in 1848.
“This may easily be accounted for from the fact that there were not nearly so many brick houses, and those that were are all strongly bonded with wood and iron.…”
The death of the one person killed directly in the 1855 earthquake, the owner of Baron Alzdorf's Hotel, in fact appears to be a testament to the dangers of brick construction:
'They are repairing the bank, which got dreadfully shaken, and the Baron's (Alzdorf's) new brick hotel—poor fellow, he little thought he was building his death trap, he used to say: ‘Look at my house, that is the way to build against earthquakes; no shock will destroy that.’
A memorandum on the 1855 earthquake, appearing in Te Ika A Maui, describes in detail some of the geological consequences of the earthquake, and notes that the results were generally favourable:
Upon the whole the province of Wellington will gain considerable advantage from the earthquake:—

1st. Large portions of land can be easily reclaimed from the harbour for the extension of the town.

2d. The main road to the Hutt and the interior formerly suffered occasionally from the action of the waves during high winds, and many parts had to be retained by a sea-wall; now it will escape the damage of the one and the expense of the other, and the whole of that valuable valley will be rendered, if possible, more healthy from greater facility of drainage arising from the elevation.

3d. A much better coast road to the eastward is already formed for the temporary use of the colonists and the driving of cattle.
For the inhabitants of Nelson though, there were few beneficial effects of the 1855 quake, as an article by Rodney Grapes in the Nelson Historical Society Journal explains:
The earthquake caused the lower part of the Wairau Plain, together with parts of adjoining coast, to subside about 1.5m. According to Lyell, this allowed the tide to flow several miles farther up the Wairau River than formerly, and settlers had to go three miles further up the river to obtain fresh water than they had before the earthquake.
Oddly enough, many people initially thought this earthquake to be volcanic in origin, and this led to a comic interlude:
As with the 1848 earthquake, many people believed that the cause of the earthquake was the result of a volcanic eruption and they were eager to locate the source. It appears that while the Lady Grey, a steamer trading between the mainland and the Chatham Islands, was nearing the coast, those on board noticed "wreaths of white vapour rising in a thin and unsteady column" from a high and conical shaped mountain in the Kaikoura range, culminating in "a canopy of smoke," and it was concluded that a new volcano was in eruption. The "volcano" was sited about 20 miles south of Cape Campbell and was also apparently observed by shepherds at Flaxbourne.

This report, however, was not supported by passengers of the steamer Nelson that arrived in Wellington shortly after the Lady Grey, and an argument ensued. Indeed, when Weld left New Zealand for England in mid 1855 he was still of the opinion that a volcanic eruption had occurred, and it was not until New Zealand newspapers arrived in London, and after his interview with Sir Charles Lyell in May 1856, that he give up this idea as spurious.

Apparently to settle the matter, a party went across the Strait in a whale boat and on proceeding to Flaxbourne, found that the cause of all the excitement was an old shepherd who had set fire to the fern on Benmore. The flames spreading up the mountain slope had ignited a clump of white birch trees on the summit, resulting in the "wreaths of white vapour" and "the canopy of smoke" that indicated the site of "Marlborough's active volcano."
The Tuatara Biological Sciences journal contains a more scientific analysis of the geological effects of the 1855 earthquake by Harold Wellman, focusing on the tilted marine beach ridges at Cape Turakirae and examining them as historical evidences of past earthquake.

The Earthquake of 1848
The earlier Wellington earthquake of 1848 resulted in the deaths of two children, and caused a number of people to try to flee Wellington for Sydney aboard the Subraron, although this resulted in another calamity when the Subraron was cast ashore:
Fearful of another such visitation, many settlers with their families determined to leave the Colony for Australia, and took passage in the “Subraon,” bound for Sydney. The vessel, however, in beating out of the Heads, missed stays, and ran ashore, when she became a complete wreck. The whole of the passengers were saved (amongst whom was Sir Wm. Fitzherbert, a former speaker of the Legislative Council), and the majority again took up their residence in the land of their adoption.

The homeless were sheltered by those who were fortunate enough to be living in wooden houses and the ministers of the several denominations likewise performed good offices, and prayers were offered morning and evening in all the churches left standing, and in most of the private houses of the settlers
This account, in Early Wellington, describes the effects of the earthquake in some details, and makes note of the numerous aftershocks, both in the hours and days following the main earthquake, and we can easily see a parallel with the last week in Christchurch:
“During Monday three or four slight quiverings were experienced. The weather cleared off in the evening, and the stars made their appearance, but few slept during the night, and at four o'clock and at half past seven in the morning, two slight shocks took place.
Early Wellington also contains a detailed report of the damage from the 1848 earthquake, containing the illustration below of damage and ending with the sombre observation: "NOTE.—All these buildings were repaired in wood".

The 1848 earthquake was also felt significantly in Nelson, and the Nelson Historical Society Journal has an historical analysis of the effects on the Nelson region:
Jones writes: "The Awatere during the 1848 shock suffered very much: a huge fissure having been made upwards of eighty miles in length: resembling a macadamised road and of about the same width." Jolliffe records that: "the earthquake of 1848 was severely felt throughout the Wairau Plains [probably means the Wairau area] and the ground there was torn up and displaced in a direct line for eighty five miles, in some parts as wide as a canal, in other places merely a fissure in the earth of various depths."
The Earthquake of 1931
The May 1931 issue of the Railway Magazine examined in detail the response to the 1931 earthquake that struck the Hawkes Bay, and remarkably, in spite of the devastation, the railway network was still largely operational:
The arrangements made covered a possible evacuation of 15,000 to 20,000 people, and within twenty-four hours there were available 150 railway cars and 50 railway bogie wagons each with a capacity (in emergency) of 100 people or 20,000 people in all.
Schedules were prepared to enable trains to leave at short intervals and had the necessity arisen the whole of the population could have been removed from the danger zone in a short space of time.
An article from the June 1933 issue of the Railways Magazine concentrates on the rebuilding of Napier after the devastating earthquake of 1931, and focuses on the Spanish Mission styles evident in the rebuilding rather than the Art Deco that we know now Napier for, and again touches on some of the favourable effects of the earthquake:
The Spanish style of architecture is mostly evident and the frontages have in many cases been finished in various shades of colour which are very pleasing to the eye. There are no posts to support the verandahs and this helps to give a graceful continuity of line to the long and widened thoroughfares...

Upon the Marine Parade great improvements have been carried out which will help visitors to Napier to enjoy their stay. A large area has been reclaimed from the sea and this has been laid out in lawns and shrubbery with very beautiful effect.

Earthquakes in Poverty Bay
Historic Povery Bay and the East Coast recounts the details of several earthquakes which have affected the area, and include some rather hair-raising details about ensuing tsunamis:
A fairly heavy, but not a damaging, earthquake at 8.33 a.m. on 26 March, 1947, was followed by two seismic (or so-called “tidal”) waves which affected the coastline between Tokomaru Bay and Mahia. It was most intense between Whangara and Tatapouri. The initial surge at 8.40 a.m. rose about 25 feet above normal sea level at Pouawa. A smaller comber followed a few minutes later. Mr. and Mrs. A. F. Hall, who had a beach cottage at Turihaua Point, had an alarming experience. They were in the kitchen with a lady visitor when the first outsize wave rushed in. With the water up to his neck, Mr. Hall held on to the mantelpiece, and the women clung to him. Before the next big wave came inshore they had reached a safe spot. Their home was practically destroyed.

At Tatapouri the waters reached up to the windowsills of the hotel, wrecked a motor shed and carried away some small buildings. A “bach” and motor shed nearby were demolished. The superstructure of the 36-year-old wooden bridge over the Pouawa River was carried half a mile upstream. In Gisborne inner harbour the sea rushed in at about 5 feet above spring tide level. Just north of Mahia the natives made a large catch of fish which had become trapped in low-lying maize fields. A smaller seismic wave, which followed an earthquake on 19 May, 1947, was most pronounced along the beaches adjacent to Tolaga Bay, but it did not do any damage.

Seismic waves had been experienced on the East Coast on several earlier occasions. In August, 1840 (Opotiki Native Land Court minute book, No. 9), a wave of this character threw H.M.S. Buffalo on shore at Whitianga (Mercury Bay) and wrecked her. Tokato block (between Te Araroa and Hicks Bay) was strewn with fish. A wave 10 feet high rushed inshore at Cape Runaway in August, 1868. Violent earthquakes had just been experienced in Peru.
Literary after-effects
As earthquakes have emotional and geological consequences, they also leave their trail in literature, and the NZETC collection has some evidence of this.

From the mythical (How Maui Challenged the Earthquake God, in Sport), through the ludicrous ("The Moral Causes of Earthquakes" in the New Zealand Evangalist of 1848) to the poetic (verse in the June 1933 issue of the Railway Magazine), there are many accounts and causalities given to earthquakes.

Some of the more literary effects include Earthquake, by Jack Hodges in Sport, and traces of earthquakes even show up in the writing of Katherine Mansfield who, in a letter of November 19, 1919, describes an earthquake and shows that the belief in "earthquake weather" is not just a contemporary phenomenon:
We had a severe earthquake last night at 11 o'clock. The little Casetta gave a creak and then silently shook. And to-day it is dead calm, airless, real earthquake weather
Growing up as a young child in New Zealand, Mansfield probably experienced occasional tremors, and her experience of these obviously supplied her with material for metaphor, as this comment in a letter of August 11, 1917 shows:
But between these lovely memories and me there opened a deep dark chasm—it trembled open as if by an earthquake—and now it is shut again and no trace of it remains.

Mansfield also recounts experiencing a Zeppelin air-raid in a letter of March 21, 1915, and casts it in terms of having experienced an earthquake:
finally when it was over I made some more tea and felt that a great danger was past and longed to throw my arms round some one. It gave one a feeling of boundless physical relief, like the aftermath of an earthquake

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Digital books for print-disabled users

The Victoria University of Wellington Library now provides 1064 of the works available through the NZETC collection in a new format to support the needs of those with print-related disabilities.

One of the potentially positive results of digitisation is that electronic documents hold the promise of substantially increasing access to material for people who are blind or have limited vision.  Through a collaboration with the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind we have now generated DAISY Books for the majority of titles in the NZETC collection. The work was funded through a grant from the Community Partnership Fund and the books are now freely available to download.  To try out a DAISY book click on the logo when you see it in the right hand tool bar for a text like this. You will also need a reader — here is a list of readers and here is a free one to download.

The DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) standard describes an open data format for the representation of interactive books that are accessible to those with print-related disabilities. Daisy books may have both a textual and an audio component and allow for an active reading experience. To read a Daisy book, a reader needs a hardware or software playback system. Unlike a book on a cassette tape that users typically listen to from start to finish, readers using a Daisy book player can easily move backward and forward in the book; they can move to chapters, sections, pages, or bookmarks they have created.

We worked with Brett Challacombe-King from the University Disability Support Services to understand how DAISY books would worked best for students. This was particularly important as some of the books now available in DAISY format are prescribed reading for courses. Examples include “Forest vines to snow tussocks : the story of New Zealand plants” (BIOL219) and “Everything is possible to will” (GEND409).  Brett advised that most students here have their own hardware with built in text-to-speech synthesizer which they will have adjusted to suit their particular needs and preferences. There was therefore no real advantage in providing our DAISY books with a generated audio component that would be little used and result in the books themselves being very large and time consuming to download.

We will monitor the use of the new format and if it proves popular extend the delivery to other titles in the collection. Tell us if you have other good ideas for improving the usability of digital content!


Friday, 6 August 2010

The Centennial Surveys: the establishment of modern New Zealand history

We're pleased to be able to make the Centennial Historical Surveys available online.

The centennial historical surveys comprise of eleven volumes (originally thirteen were intended) published between 1939 and 1942 to commemorate the 100 years since the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

The surveys were a milestone in New Zealand historical publications, representing a shift from a generation of amateur enthusiasts (such as James Cowan, Elsdon Best, Johannes Anderson, and T. L. Buick) to a generation of academically-trained historians (John Cawte Beaglehole, F. L. Wood, W. T. G. Airey, and James Rutherford). As Rachel Barrowman puts it in her essay, History and Romance: The Making of the Centennial Historical Surveys, "The new historians were trained in the research practices and academic standards of the British universities of the interwar years. For them, history entailed the presentation of thesis and evidence; it had footnotes and arguments."

As well as representing a sea-change in historical analysis of our country, the Centennial Surveys were also a typographical milestone, largely the accomplishment of Beaglehole's genius. As the Surveys were a government initiative, it would have been expected that the Government Printing Office would have been responsible for their eventual printed form. However, due to some skillful negotiation by Oliver Duff, the original series editor, and Joseph Heenan, the civil servant who developed the idea of the surveys, the printing was put out to tender and it was Wilson and Horton who secured the contract.

As Sydney Shep relates in her essay about the typographic production of the centennial publications, concerning the Government Printing Office Beaglehole was particularly irked that it was more willing to spend £500,000 on a new building, than a paltry £2-3000 on replacing its outmoded, 'poverty-stricken and ugly' types and thought that there was "some question how far it is competent to print a book at all."

Initially someone who thought the centennial surveys "a series of fatuities, all of them depraved", Beaglehole became an ardent supporter and collaborator of Heenan, and, as Shep relates:
dreamed of a superbranch in Internal Affairs comprising archives, historical publications, and a historical manuscripts and monuments commission. Safeguarding the country's heritage and disseminating it through popular and accessible publications, Beaglehole's new agency was fancifully termed a 'Tolerable-Printing-and-Graphic-Art-Education-Department'. It was later called 'Historical Branch' and remains today a unique entity in the western world.

The Historical Branch (now known as the History Group, part of the Ministry for Culture and Heritage), is responsible today for publishing New Zealand history in a number of guises, including New Zealand History Online, and has a close relationship with Te Ara Online Encyclopedia of New Zealand and the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography.

Although there are occasional deviations from form, the thirteen centennial surveys presented a important modern picture of New Zealand's first century of nationhood, and highlights of the series include Simpson's The Women of New Zealand (the best-seller of the series, and almost an afterthought of the editorial committee), Beaglehole's Discovery of New Zealand, McCormick's Letters and Art in New Zealand, and F. L. Wood's New Zealand and the World.

As well as the Centennial Surveys themselves, we are pleased to be able to make available the collection of essays Creating a National Spirit: Celebrating New Zealand's Centennial, which includes much interesting analysis of the Centennial from various points of view. We thank the authors of these essays, and the series editor, Bill Renwick, for their cooperation with this project.

Over time we hope to add to this collection, and future additions will include:
  • the 30-part pictorial series Making New Zealand
  • the Official Guide to the exhibition
  • the guide to the Centennial Art Exhibition
For more information about the Centennial publications, and the Centennial Exhibition itself, consult the following:

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Legal Māori Text Corpus released

Victoria University’s Faculty of Law is proud to announce that researchers and staff involved with the Legal Māori Project have just completed two of their major funded works: The Legal Māori Corpus and the Legal Māori lexicon.

The Legal Māori Corpus is an unprecedented collection of modern and historical Māori language texts, comprising 8 million words in total. “When we started the project two years ago we had no idea the final size of our corpus would be so great, and to our knowledge, it is the largest structured corpus of Māori language texts ever compiled,” says project co-leader and Faculty lecturer, Māmari Stephens.

All pre-1910 corpus files are now publicly available for researchers to use in order to analyse patterns of language use and vocabulary, with digitised versions of the source documents being available for download and re-use. The post-1910 texts will made available by the end of the Project once copyright permissions are gained.  

The Legal Māori Lexicon is a glossary of all legal terms identified during the course of the project so far. Almost 2000 terms have been collated with their English translations and will also soon be publicly available. These terms, and their frequency of appearance in the Corpus will form the basis of the final dictionary, due for completion in early 2012.

Says Māmari Stephens: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the hard word put in by all involved with getting these outputs produced on time and in accordance with our FRST agreement.  Many of these contributors are either current or former students of the Law Faculty, and I am grateful beyond words to all of them.”

They are: Assistant Professor Mary Boyce, University of Hawai’I; Tai Ahu; Dulce Piacentini; Paranihia Walker; Max Sullivan; Phoebe Monk; Emma Kuperus; Ed Willis;
Rachael Hoare; Debbie Broughton; Joeliee Seed-Pihema; Rama Chadwick; Hannah Northover; Harvey Buchman; Dave Moskovitz.

Ka nui aku mihi matakuikui ki a rātou.  Ka haere tonu te mahi, ka puta mai tonu nga hua.

For further information, please contact

Nicky Saker
Communications Adviser
Faculty of Law
(04) 463 6310

Tuesday, 13 July 2010


Linkypedia is a site which provides data on how web content is used in Wikipedia

“linkypedia aims to help reveal the connections between digital curation communities. To let cultural institutions get a handle on the rich metadata and contextual information found in wikipedia and to serve as a sign post for rich seams of primary resource material on the web.”

It is of particular interest to us as the Library’s New Zealand Electronic Text Centre collection listed with 1,752 links coming from Wikipedia. That’s less than Library of Congress (4,750) but more than the British Library (1,379). We already knew from our web stats that the collection receives a lot of referrals from Wikipedia but this site lets us delve a bit further into the detail.

Not unexpectedly the largest number of links from Wikipedia to content in the NZETC collection are from pages about the Second World War - the Wikipedia page on Operation Crusader to relive the 1941 siege of Tobruk contains 49 footnotes links to digitised editions of The Official History of New Zealand in the Second World War, many to paragraphs and sections in “The Relief of Tobruk” by W. E Murphy.

Most Wikipedia pages only have one or two links to NZETC digital texts but a couple of other highly linked topics include early New Zealand politics and the 1860s Pai Marire movement. The page on Pai Marire is a nice example of Wikipedia authors drawing on a range of source material which, because it is made publicly available online, they are able to link directly to in their footnotes and offer the reader opportunities for further reading and research. The articles uses footnotes to reference two books in the NZETC collection, one in Auckland’s ENZB collection and an article in digitised edition of Te Ao Hou.

Great to see people making use of the resources we provide.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Archeology in Aerial Photographs

We're pleased to announce a number of new texts now available on the NZETC website, including Kevin Jones' Ngā Tohuwhenua Mai Te Rangi: A New Zealand Archeology in Aerial Photographs, which the Department of Conservation has kindly allowed us to make available online.

Ngā Tohuwhenua Mai Te Rangi
Ngā Tohuwhenua Mai Te Rangi contains pictures of many important historic and pre-historic sites taken from the air, and shows how aerial photography can serve to improve our understanding of our geography.

Features such as the eel channels at Tangimate lagoon and the settlement patterns near the Whenuakura river are practically indiscernible from the ground, but become apparent from the air, and allow us to get a better understanding of land use (and abuse) of New Zealand since human settlement.

The gum-digging trenches on the Ahipara gumfields, created methodically by predominantly Croatian gum-diggers, demonstrate the scars that have been introduced into the landscape, as do the tailings from gold-dredging activities  near Cromwell.

Pre-European and European-era Pā are covered in detail, and the aerial photography allows us to appreciate features such as the ingeniously-constructed Tapui Pā, created by multiple ditches and banks on interlocking bends of the old course of the Te Arai River, near Manūtūke.

Images of fighting Pā such as Ruapekapeka  and Ohaeawai offer us the chance to more-easily visualise the settings of significant action during the Land Wars of the nineteenth century. As Jones describes:
Ruapekapeka, the last engagement in the northern phase of fighting in the New Zealand Wars, lies in hill country about 10 km south of the inner, estuarine reaches of the south-western Bay of Islands. The British soldiers used heavy cannon and howitzers with ball and shell against the pā; rockets were also used. Kawiti, the principal chief of the group occupying the pā, had designed the site with this in prospect. The interior defences of Ruapekapeka consisted of deep pits roofed over with timber and earth, 'bomb shelters', while the perimeter was defended by a heavily timbered palisade, flax-padding, and a continuous line of rectangular pits at the foot of an inner bank. Bastions and flanking angles were formed in the perimeter. These earthwork features all show clearly in the aerial photograph view.

In the fighting, the northern edge of the stockade was breached by cannon balls. As a result of the persistent cannon-fire, most of Kawiti's forces had been forced to camp in the rear of the defensive perimeter. On the advice of their Māori scouts, British troops attacked suddenly, on a Sunday morning. They found the fortification only lightly defended, and forced Kawiti himself to abandon it. The engagement was finished finally by the British forces occupying the pā against Kawiti's counter-attack from breastworks and the forest edge to the south. The position in which the British troops hac their cannon also survives as a shallow ditch and breast work. I photographed this site in February 1992, just after it fell into a light overcast. Luckily, there were distinct crop marks (browned grass) on the breastworks and their pattern shows clearly in the photograph.
Comparison of aerial images, such as the one provided by Jones of Ohaeawai, with a contemporary depiction of the scene of the battle, provide a better appreciation of the effect of the landscape on the outcome of the battle, and provide colour for passages such as James Cowan's account of the attack on Ohaeawai.

As well as the images of fighting Pā, aerial evidence of British and colonial fortifications such as the Kākāramea redoubt and Thacker's and Inman's redoubts — built during Cameron's Taranaki campaign of 1865-66 — give us the chance to appreciate the consequences in terms of fortifications of the imbalance between Maori (without significant artillery) and the European forces, who had support from land and sea-based artillery.

Comparison of images from different points in time allow us to determine the effects of development and erosion on the land, such as with the image of the Maketu peninsular, while images such as those of the storage pits near Paekākariki and the foundations of the Paremata barracks remind us that geographical evidence of history surrounds us, even if it is not always so obvious.

We've made these photographs available online at a higher resolution than we normally do with our texts, in order to let the viewer better see the detail captured. Although a thumbnail of the photograph is shown while reading through the text, repeated clicking on the image will bring up the full-resolution version.

As Jone's relates, the practice of taking aerial photographs involves getting a number of factors right, particularly the lighting which helps add relief to the scene.
To be seen effectively, then, New Zealand sites require strong oblique lighting conditions, typical of higher latitudes, winter, or early morning and late afternoon. Unfortunately, for perfectly valid reasons, it is typical practice in general aerial survey to take the photographs in summer and near midday, and archaeological features cannot be detected because of the lack of clear shadows and sometimes the effects of thistles or other seasonal vegetation growth. The problem is exacerbated in the far north where shadows almost disappear in summer at midday (because of the low latitude, 35°S).

The height at which the photograph is taken is very important in determining the size of the objects which can be seen on the ground: too far away and the site is imperceptible, too close and only the detail of a large site is visible. Archaeological sites vary in size: from a single spot where an artefact may have been found to a pā site that extends for more than a kilometre along a ridge. The plan of an individual storage pit may be as small as 2 by 1 m.
And perhaps another requisite for competent aerial photography is the possession of a good constitution:
High-angle oblique views require uncomfortably tight banks (steep turns) by the aeroplane to get a view unencumbered by its wheels.
Other recent additions
As well as Ngā Tohuwhenua Mai Te Rangi, we're pleased to also announce the following additions to the online collection of the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre:
Improved searchability
We're also been doing some work with access to and navigation around the NZETC's site, and we've introduced a much more comprehensive search interface that we think will help visitors to our site to more quickly be able to find the material they are interested in, and also enjoy the occasional fruits of serendipity.

For example, a search on Katherine Mansfield displays on the result page not only the works by and about Mansfield, but (by scrolling down) the user is able to see many of the photographs we have of, or connected with, Mansfield.

As always, we're interested in feedback about the texts that we make available online, and the experience that people have when accessing our collection.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Octavius Hadfield

We're pleased to be able to make Barbara MacMorran's biography of Octavius Hadfield available online.

Octavius Hadfield was a remarkable individual, and played a large part in the public life of New Zealand during the early years of european settlement.

Taking up his post on the Kapiti coast in 1839 as a CMS missionary, Hadfield quickly became one of the most influential figures involved in communications between Maori and Pakeha. Arriving at a time of large-scale unrest between lower north-island Maori factions — largely due to the involvement of Te Rauparaha — Hadfield found himself immersed in tribal politics and established dwellings at both Waikanae (home to Ngati-awa) and Otaki (Ngatiraukawa), travelling regularly on horseback between the two.

He embraced Te Reo, and made the friendship of Wiremu Kingi Te Rangitake, who would later become the central figure in the Taranaki land disputes. Hadfield's strength of character enabled him to ingratiate himself amongst the various Kapiti Coast iwi and hapu, although on at least one occasion luck played a part:
"Hereiwi, who had gone through his karakia making the kumara ground tapu, interrupted by pronouncing a curse upon me which was necessarily to lead either to my death, or to my removal from Otaki. I told him his curse would neither affect my life nor influence my proceedings, but was much more likely to injure him. I then left them. Early next morning I went to Waikanae. On my return after a few days I learnt that Hereiwi had died during the night after the affair in the kumara garden. This produced a profound impression on the Maoris, who attributed his death to his cursing me. In vain I endeavoured to explain that I had heard from some Englishmen who knew him that he had been suffering from a complaint in his lungs, and that his death was occasioned by the rupture of a large blood-vessel. Not altogether convinced they resolved not to meddle any more with me, but to allow me in future to disregard all their tapu ceremonies, and go where I liked. After that Te Matia and I were on friendly terms, at least we lived in peace."
Although preferring to work amongst the Kapiti Coast tribes rather than minister to the european community forming in Wellington, Hadfield was held in high regard by all. As Baraba Macmorran relates:
Hadfield's sympathies were very largely with the Maori in all the land troubles that ensued through the years with the Government and the colonists if he thought there was the slightest exploitation of the Maori, yet even Colonel William Wakefield, head of the New Zealand Company in the country, wrote of him in 1842— "Mr. Hadfield, who was educated at Oxford, and is a single-minded and sincere minister of the Gospel, well deserves the estimation in which he is held by all parties."
Hadfield's interest in the Maori language meant that he was able to understand attitudes and expectations from both sides of the race divide, and that he also understood who of his contemporaries had a good understanding of Maori. Praising Robert Maunsell in a letter to the Church Missionary Society, March 8, 1847, he wrote:
"He is by far the ablest Maori scholar in the country, and his translation, especially from the Hebrew, is really beautiful—perhaps even more so than scholars in England would consider possible . , . they are at once idiomatic and literal. Mr. Maunsell has a very accurate knowledge of the language, though he has not very clear views on the philosophy and the metaphysical part of the grammar. Archdeacon W. Williams comes next to him, though at some distance, and after him nobody."
Amongst other attributes, Hadfield was a keen yachtsman, and traversed the stretch of water from Kapiti to the Marlborough sounds and Nelson a number of times, almost coming to grief once when a gale carried the sale away and the rudder broke while trying to hold the boat into the wind.

Hadfield found himself largely involved in intra- and inter-racial affairs as a peace-maker, and as Macmorran relates, he is credited with dissuading Te Rauparaha and his nephew Te Rangihaeta from attacking the Wellington settler population in the wake of the Wairau affair. At one point he found himself out-witting Te Heuheu's plan for an attack on certain of the Kapiti Coast tribes:
Te Heuheu was famed both for his imposing stature and for his commanding oratory and resounding voice. E. J. Wakefield in "Adventure in New Zealand" recorded that he met a large body of Port Nicholson Maoris who had been to a conference at Waikanae on the subject of a threatened attack by the Taupo war-party. "Mr. Hadfield had succeeded in frustrating all these warlike preparations," he wrote. "This gentleman had, after very laborious efforts, and in one instance at the peril of his life, managed to acquire a very extensive and honourable influence over the hitherto fierce chiefs of the Ngatiraukawa. Whatanui and part of his family had become mihanere, as well as several other chiefs of rank; and Mr. Hadfield had wisely managed to introduce the new doctrine without destroying the Maori aristocracy. He thus dissuaded Whatanui and through him the great part of the tribe from fighting. Heuheu, I heard, had been furious at this successful interference with his designs; but had ended by confessing himself fairly beaten when Mr. Hadfield calmly and courageously presented himself before him in the midst of his anger, overthrew his reasoning, and reproached the old chief in the conclave of his people with a want of the dignity and deliberation suitable to his place of patriarch."
Hadfield's charisma is evident in the regard which he was held and his views deferred to, even though spending four years from 1844 through to 1849 confined to bed in Wellington as a result of illness which had plagued him throughout his life. According to Macmorran:
From his bed he seemed to be aware of the pulse of the whole country, feeling any change in temperature, any deviation from normal. The Rev. Cotton, Bishop Selwyn's secretary, wrote a letter on December 8, 1846, during a visit to Wellington. "On Tuesday I went to Mrs. St. Hill's, whom you may remember I liked so much on my former visit. Mr. Hadfield is still the inmate of her home and she is as kind and attentive to him as if he were her brother. . . . His influence is greater than can be expressed. He does more to preserve the peace of this district than all the soldiers, etc. Though his body is weak, his tongue is sound, as the Maoris say, and he hears through his Maori teachers who continually visit him all that is going on among the Maoris, and the mere fact of his presence in Wellington has, as I have heard from several parties, more than once prevented an attack on the town."
Hadfield's insight was also appreciated by those such as Governor George Grey, with Hadfield writing in a letter of August 1, 1846:
"Affairs here would have taken a very serious turn had I not been able to give the Governor accurate information concerning the Maoris of this part of the country. . . . Since I last wrote several murders have been committed in this neighbourhood by a band of vagabonds—outcasts from various tribes amounting to about 150 under the notorious savage Te Rangihaeata. . . . The Government has apprehended Te Rauparaha and several others on suspicion of being favourable to the rebels. ... I have felt some satisfaction in being able to assist the Governor widi my advice as he appears a man sincerely intent upon doing what is right. . . . He has been in this part of the country for the last month, and he comes to me almost every day that he is in Wellington to ask my advice in some matter concerning the Maoris, and as he almost invariably acts upon advice I give him I feel a degree of responsibility which is rather too much for my state of health. I am thankful that I have not hitherto had to regret any advice I have given.
Hadfield became deeply involved as a commentator on the Taranaki land wars of the 1860s, and wrote a series of pamphlets that received wide publication in New Zealand and overseas. Realising that much of the responsibility for the conflict lay with the Governor, Thomas Gore-Browne, Hadfield was unstinting in his criticism:
When a flagrant act of injustice has been committed by the Governor of a British colony in the name of Her Majesty the Queen, it is not easy to determine on what course to pursue. If, indeed, an Englishman were the sufferer, either the Courts of law or the public press would afford a sufficient guarantee that the injustice would be remedied. But when an aboriginal chief is affected by such an act of injustice, neither of these avail him: he may be two hundred miles distant from any Judge of the Supreme Court; and he fails to enlist the sympathy of the public press. Feeling deeply convinced that such an act of injustice has been committed by Colonel Browne, the Governor of this colony, in his recent forcible expulsion of William King from land inherited by him from a long line of ancestors, I venture to address your Grace, as Her Majesty's Secretary of State for the Colonies, and to call your attention to the facts of the case.
Publication of Hadfield's pamphlets provoked hostility from a number amongst the european community, though his criticism was aimed largely at the Govenor Gore-Browne, rather than settler government itself; to quote Macmorran at length:
The Church Missionary Society did not approve of its missionaries being involved in political controversy, and as he became more and more outspoken in his protests Hadfield was regarded with suspicion even by them for a while. But eventually they recognised the soundness of his views, and in turn exerted pressure on British Cabinet Ministers in the matter, so that Hadfield was able to write later—"I am happy to say that it has been a great comfort to me and others that the Home Government has not approved of Governor Browne's proceedings in reference to the Taranaki war. The ablest men also in the House of Representatives have condemned the Governor's conduct in the matter. Nothing has produced such a good impression on the Maoris as this last circumstance; they see there is a power now in the country to check injustice on the part of the Governor. The Maoris of my district are all quiet and peaceably disposed; but it is impossible to say how long this will last, if they see the Government persecuting those whom they most highly respect."

Hadfield wrote three pamphlets on the Taranaki war, entitled "One of England's Little Wars", "The Second Year of One of England's Little Wars", and "A Sequel to One of England's Little Wars". Of the first one he wrote to the C.M.S. on May 29, 1860— "I presume you will hear from other quarters that the state of the country is not very satisfactory. The Maoris more immediately connected with me are quiet and well-disposed. I returned from Manawatu yesterday where I had a large congregation of 130 communicants. My particular object in now writing is to say that I have joined the Bishop of Wellington in address to the Duke of Newcastle which states our conviction as to the war at Taranaki. But as that did not fully represent my views, I wished to state them more fully. I have forwarded to London a letter to the Duke of Newcastle for publication. You will receive a copy of it. I purposely abstained from sending you the manuscript that you might not in any way be responsible for it.

I hope you will not think I have done wrong; but I feel so deeply on the subject, and think the Governor's conduct so disgraceful that I am prepared to bear any amount of blame in discharging what I consider an imperative duty in the cause of truth and justice. The letter was necessarily written very hurriedly but you may depend upon all my facts, and I hope my arguments are sound. I believe I know more on this particular subject than any other person in New Zealand."

George Clarke, Protector of the Maoris, investigated the claims to land in Taranaki before the war started, in company with the Commissioner of Lands, Mr. Spain. In his book "Early Life in New Zealand" he commented on a dispute about the rights of the absentees in this matter. ". . . and besides, Mr. Spain knew well my opinion and that of Mr. Forsaith, the Interpreter, as to the Maori law on the subject, and, what was of greater authority than ours, he knew the opinion of Mr. Hadfield."

When this first pamphlet of Hadfield's was published in England it brought forth a heated reply entitled "The Case of the War in New Zealand—from Authentic Documents", by E. Harold Browne, a professor of Divinity at Cambridge and brother of the Governor of New Zealand, Colonel Gore Browne. This in turn induced Hadfield to write his second pamphlet. He checked it with Bishop Abraham before sending it to England, and the latter could find no fault with his facts. When news of its impending publication reached the Government, Hadfield heard that the Governor and his ministers were very angry and "would like to hang me, if they could."

"The Second Year of One of England's Little Wars" begins— "The silence of the local press as to the real merits of the Taranaki war induced me to send home to England in May, 1860, a few remarks on that subject, which were published in the form of a letter to his Grace the Duke of Newcastle, the Secretary of State for the Colonies. The letter on its return was reprinted by the local press, and became widely circulated through the Colony. Nobody here has been rash enough to attempt a refutation of a single statement contained in it. But what nobody has ventured to do here, Professor Harold Browne has not shrunk from doing in England.. .. It is almost needless to say that I see no reason to recall or modify any expression contained in the letter which has called forth such unqualified condemnation from Prof. Browne."

After quoting some of Browne's charges against him, and reiterating his own views, he continues—"Professor Browne seems to think it is a sufficient answer to my statement to quote some scraps from what he calls "authentic documents"; which authentic documents generally turn out to be extracts from Mr. Bell's reports of his own speeches, or it may be extracts from Mr. Stafford's speeches, or portions of Mr. McLean's statements. He seems to have no suspicion whatever that he is overlooking the most obvious rules which should guide men in estimating the respective value of conflicting evidence. In the first place, all the persons just alluded to are paid officers of the Government. As Mr. Stafford knows nothing of Maori matters, it is hardly worth while to attend to any of his statements. Mr, Bell knows very little more than Mr. Stafford; but it is always quite certain that he will take the Government side in any dispute; he is a personification of red-tape. I pass on, therefore, to Mr. McLean. He is the head of the Land-Purchase Department. He comes forward to defend the proceedings of his own department. What I maintain is, that according to the ordinary rules for estimating the value of testimony, his evidence ought to be received with caution as that of a witness under the influence of an undoubted bias and considerable pressure. Mr. Fox says, 'He was considered as merely the mouth-piece of the Governor to lay a one-sided statement before the House'. Mr. McLean has been convicted of the grossest misstatements as to facts, some of which appear to have been made wilfully. . . . Mr. Fox says again—'Some of his replies, on cross-examination, exhibited a degree of ignorance on common subjects both startling and suggestive'. ... It would be absurd to expect from him any information as to Maori tenure of land."
During this early years on the Kapiti Coast Hadfield had made a close friend in William Martin, who became the Chief Justice, and was also to act as a commentator critical of the government's involvement in the Taranaki land conflicts of the 1860s, producing his own pamphlet entitled The Taranaki Question.

In spite of often fragile health, Octavius Hadfield enjoyed a long-life and became Bishop of Wellington (though refusing this post on the first occasion it was offered to him), and eventually Primate. He died in 1904 at the age of 91, having seen New Zealand develop from a society enjoying the early fruits of contact between Maori and Pakeha to a country on the doorstep of nationhood.


Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Celebrate Samoan Language Week with the NZETC

Talofa lava

This week at Victoria we are celebrating New Zealand's third most widely spoken language, Samoan. Originally started by Radio Niu FM, Samoan Language Week is now organised by the Human Rights Commission with a whole range of participants.

At the NZETC, we have a small but very heavily used collection curated in cooperation with Va’aomanū Pasifika. The Samoan-English dictionary by Rev. George Pratt from that collection is the highest usage page in our collection, with more than 4000 visits a month.

The library is holding a series of events; and the HRC has a list of dozens of events and activities across New Zealand.

Fa'afetai lava

Friday, 7 May 2010

Bill Pearson: No Fretful Sleeper

Given the recent publication of Paul Millar's biography of Bill Pearson, No Fretful Sleeper: A Life of Bill Pearson, it's an appropriate time to have a look at some of his work online.

Pearson is known primarily for two published works, the first being his essay, Fretful Sleepers: A Sketch of New Zealand Behaviour and Its Implications for the Artist, originally appearing in Landfall in 1952, and the second being his only novel, Coal Flat, which, at more than 400 pages, was the longest New Zealand novel when first published in 1963.

As Peter Simpson notes in his review of Millar's biography of Pearson, "Fretful Sleepers is a trenchant study of the drive to conformity in New Zealand", while Coal Flat embedded "within it the social analysis informing Fretful Sleepers, but focusing on characters and events in a small West Coast coal mining town (based on Blackball where Pearson had briefly taught school and worked in a mine)".

Due to Pearson's closeted homosexuality and his fear of being exposed in the intolerant years before 1986's Homosexual Law Reform Bill, his career as a novelist began and ended with the largely autobiographical Coal Flat, where he had originally intended the protagonist to be a gay man persecuted by the local community.

As Pearson himself wrote about Coal Flat in an essay in Sport:
It was to be about a sensitive young teacher, a follower of A.S. Neill faced with a problem child in an unsympathetic mining town, a man who has hardly admitted to himself that he is homosexual. He is falsely accused of a sexual offence against the boy and goes to gaol. Later I changed the outcome: he is cleared of the charge but in the course of his defence he has revealed enough about himself to make his return to the community more difficult than before. It was to be a very subjective novel full of anxiety and guilt.
The essay gives a broad outline of his development as a novelist, and covers many of the literary influences of the young Pearson, providing evidence that, had he found the wherewithal to get beyond his fear of being exposed as gay, he would have accomplished much more of importance to New Zealand fiction writing.

However, although not publishing another novel after Coal Flat, Pearson did go onto to publish other important work, including a detailed study of the Australian writer and poet, Henry Lawson, during his time spent living in New Zealand: Henry Lawson Among Maoris.
Another work — more entertaining albeit much shorter — that Pearson was responsible for was a short ditty about James K Baxter, which originally appeared in the Canterbury Student's magazine, Canta, while Pearson was editor and Baxter was the literary editor:
Mrs Baxter’s little Jim
Got immersed in sex and sin.
When the pangs of doubt grow violent
Beer’s the universal solvent.
But in between the rum and vomit
A poem flashes like a comet.
As Pearson recounts in an article in Kōtare:
For the last issue of the year Christine organised a page of mutual self-congratulation with cartoons of Baxter, herself and me accompanied by some teasing verse. Ray Copeland, then a fellow M.A. student of English chose to adapt some of Chaucer’s lines (on his Clerk) to go beneath the sketch of me, and I wrote the lines about Baxter. I recall the bad rhyme of the second couplet worried me at the time.
Pearson was a conscientious and sensitive individual, and was very concerned about — and involved in — the peace movement of the latter half of the 20th century. During the Second World War, he agonised about joining the army, eventually deciding to do so only in a non-combatant role (as a dental orderly), although he later accepted a posting to an infantry unit which give him much pause for thought:
In the army I re-thought my position and concluded I could no longer logically object to combatant service. So I made no objection when I was unexpectedly transferred to the infantry, and was a member of the last reinforcement to go to Egypt and Italy, and of the first party to go to Japan as part of the occupation force. At Ma'adi I saw a sergeant practicing with a flame-thrower and I asked myself, Would I be capable of using a weapon like that? For a cause that I believed in? But having thrown away the principle I couldn't come up with any answer that made me easy.
After Coal Flat, Pearson acted as editor of Frank Sargeson's Collected Stories (1964) and a selection of Pearson's essays and reviews on literature and society were collected in Fretful Sleepers and Other Essays (1974).

Returning from London to teach in the English Department at Auckland University in 1954, Pearson found himself becoming associated with the small community of Maori students (35 from a roll of over 3000), and assisting them both academically and financially. Interestingly, Dr Pita Sharples was one who benefited greatly from Pearson's input.