Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Rotorua's First Ever Newspaper is now Online!

 Brief History :

Hot Lakes Chronicle - 9 Jun 1885-1916

The first district newspaper, founded by Theodore Lechner, printed in Rotorua. Publication was suspended in 1886, reappearing Sun 8 Oct 1887 under ownership of P A Crawford. Very few copies from this period exist. In Apr 1889 it became the Hot Lakes Weekly Chronicle, with 12 pages and more news. At this time it was being printed in Tauranga. Then from Jul 1889 was again called the Hot Lakes Chronicle, Published by Crawford who had offices at Ohinemutu and then in Arawa Street.
Proprietor and editor from 1895, F. F. Watt. Cyclopedia of New Zealand referred to it as “a first class weekly chronicle of all matters pertaining to the thermal district”. During the tourist season of 1901 it was published as a bi-weekly, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, but reverted to the Saturday issue for the winter months. Eight columns of reading matter, apart from advertisements.

This Newspaper is now available to read online via the National Library of NZs database, Papers Past.  A link to this wonderful resource is also available on the Rotorua District Library Online Catalogue.

 Article of Interest from 20 February 1895
On page 2 : “Protection of Trout” A meeting to consider the best means of preserving and protecting the trout in the various rivers in the district was held in the Palace Hotel on Friday evening, the 8th inst.

A list of attendees follows this and includes: J.H. Taylor voted to the chair, C. Malfroy Esq. J.P., Messrs Dansey, McRae, Warbrick, Webb, Carnachan, W. Kelly, M.H.R. Thom and others from Auckland.

“The Chairman said it was absolutely necessary for measures to be taken at once for the preservation and protection of the trout in their rivers and to arrange a constant supply of them from the hatching ponds. He had heard that the natives had been spearing and netting them and he had been told that even white people had threatened to dynamite them…”  The article goes on to document every word said, by every attendee and makes interesting reading for those interested in how this predecessor of modern conservation of trout in the district began.

 Here's what else was in the paper on 20 February 1895

Microfiche of this newspaper is also available to view on the 2nd Floor of the
Rotorua District Library. 
Dates available : 15 Feb 1895 - 20 Feb 1897, 4-5 Nov 1905
Other Newspapers also on Microfiche :
Rotorua Post 6 May 1948 - 1960 ; Rotorua Morning Post 24 Aug 1931—May 1948 ;

Rotorua Chronicle 10 Aug 1931 ; Daily Post 1961 to Present Day

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Hot Lakes Chonicle and Tourists Journal, Christmas 1895

Hot Lakes Chronicle Christmas article with modern translation.

Wednesday, December 25, 1895

CHRISTMAS has once more come round when it behoves us to wish our supporters and our non-supporters – all the compliments of the season. Here, as in other communities there are carping individuals to be met and endured, who retort that in the struggle for existence now going on, there is little inducement to pass empty compliments. Our philosophy at Christmas-tide prompts us to make the best of existing things, and, standing as we are on the threshold of another year, trust that the coming months may be laden with a panacea for all our ills. With this brief homily we wish each and one of our readers, A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

CHRISTMAS IS HERE! And we wish everyone the compliments of the season. Here, as in other places, there are groaning gerties who struggle for something nice to say and whom we must put up with. Our thoughts at Christmas are to make the best of things and at the beginning of another year, trust that the coming months may be full of answers for all our problems. With this short message we wish all our readers, A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR.

Behove: be fitting, to be right and proper or appropriate for somebody.

Carping: finding fault, complaining or tending to…

Retort: respond sharply, say something sharp, angry or witty.

Inducement: a prospect or reward that gives somebody a reason for acting in a specific way.

Homily: a sermon on a moral or religious topic, a speech with a moralizing theme.

Panacea: a cure for ills/disease, solution to problems.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Book Review : Huia Short Stories. 10 : contemporary Maori fiction

Huia Publishers have been fostering new Maori talent for twenty years, this their 10th edition is a collection of the latest up-and-coming story tellers.

Available to borrow from the Kiwi Fiction Collection


A review of two stories from this awesome short story collection.

TJ Corrigan (Upokorehe, Whakatohea) drew on a chance encounter and the kindness of a stranger in writing “Hemi’s Gift”

Our main character (a girl), whose name we are not given, must travel by bus to Whangarei from Auckland. At the bus station, the bus slowly fills our girl has gone to the very back, in the hope of being alone, but,  a “Maori man gets on board carrying a battered brown bag and an ancient guitar. He’s dressed in old, sloppy clothes. His hair has an overgrown wild look, like unmown grass”  he strides down the aisle and throws himself down on the seat directly in front of her, she shrinks lower into her seat trying to become small.

 This is a story of stereotypes, which are prevalent in New Zealand, and just how wrong they are. A heart-warming story of the kindness of a stranger on a bus journey to remember always.

Tangai Waranga (Ngati Porou/Ngati Kahungunu) studies creative writing at Manukau Technical Institute. She is a member of Banana Boat (a Maori and Pasifika writers’ collective). 

“Tank” is about Tamahine, also known as Tank, and her life changes. From being at home with her family, to being told she will go and live with her Nan after her Papa dies. Tank does not know why she must go, but, she does what she is told. The story goes on to describe her first day back at school and what starts badly, when she arrives late, turns into a nightmare.  A bad encounter with a teacher who singles her out for a telling off that escalates to a beating and ultimately to revenge. An action packed story that tells a story of abuse and betrayal.

Well worth a read this summer!

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Book Review : The Aroha Pendant by Marlene Bennetts

The Aroha pendant : This story is set in the early 1920s.

"When Bernadette finds the letter and carved bone pendant amongst her dead mother's belongings, she is astonished to discover that the father she has never seen is an Arawa maori"

Bernadette or Bernie, as she calls herself, is the main character in this engaging story of how she sets of to search for her father, changes her name, cuts her beautiful curls off so she can pass herself off as a boy, (she figures it is safer that way) she has lots of adventures and meets some quirky (perhaps eccentric) characters along the way.

The story starts with Bernadette finding a letter and a carved bone pendant among her dead mothers personal effects. She has been living most of her life, in a quiet backwater near Westport with her Aunty May and Uncle Fred at their guesthouse, never knowing who her father is, or where he is.

Bernadette is now 13 yrs old and has just discovered what her Aunt would never tell her, her father's name, Hemi Waru, and possibly where he might be living, up north in Rotorua.   Getting to Rotorua is harder than it sounds, 1920s New Zealand is filled all manner of dangers. Travelling by horse and cart, old lorries, and meeting lots of men just back from the war and out of work, and then there's the problem of getting on a ferry to cross over to the North Island!    But Bernie is determined to get to Rotorua, lots of 'kind' people help her (him!) and finally she arrives in Rotorua and "Yak, whats that smell!" her kind driver drops her off at Mrs Emery's where she is welcomed without question.

 So... now what to do? She has heard her father used to work in a mill, but which one? Mamaku seems like a good place to start, Mr Emery says he knows of a man called Hemi Waru who works at the mill, and is happy to arrange for her to go up there. But alas this Hemi Waru is pakeha, not Maori and Bernie knows her dad is an Arawa Maori, so it's back to Mrs Emery's.  While there Mrs Emery encourages her to go to Whakarewarewa and meet Guide Rangi, this seems like a good idea, until standing next to Pohutu Geyser, it starts to 'play' giving her quite a fright!, but she really liked Guide Rangi.

Finally she has another lead to follow, which takes her to Lake Rotoehu where there is another mill.
Here she meets a man called "Digger" who takes her pig hunting! it is a day or two later that she discovers he is her father and introduces herself (or rather himself, bit too soon to admit she's a girl!),
much celebration ensues until a very angry Aunty May turns up looking for her! Aue! but all's well eventually and Bernadette decides to stay with her father and his people.

A copy of this book is held in the Don Stafford Room, Heritage Collection.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Book Review : "The Ringers stand" by Godfrey Bowen

A Tribute to Godfrey Bowen, co-founder of the Agrodome, and brother of Ivan Bowen who pioneered the Bowen Technique still used by shearers today.

In 1982 he wrote a fictionalized account of Sheep Shearing competition “The Ringer’s stand” the book starts off with “Old Sam was a contractor of 30 years standing and he really knew his shearers. He had employed them all – good, average and indifferent – and occasionally the no-hoper” so begins the story of the Ringer.  The Ringer must prove himself worthy of his reputation and proceeds to do just that, and along the way sending the previous No.1 shearer back to No. 2 with some resentment but also grudging respect for the Ringer’s clearly the better, faster shearer.

Throughout the story some Shearing slang is used, these are just a few:

“Strangers” – the neighbours sheep with their owners earmark

“Fleeco” – Skilled shedhand who takes away the shorn fleece

“Wet ewes” – Ewes suckling a lamb

“Fadge” – An incomplete bale of unpressed fleeces, oddments or pieces

“Strides” – Shearers trousers

These slang terms give the reader a clear picture of the shearing shed and what is involved in shearing 800 sheep a day! Not a place for the unfit and fainthearted.

A copy of “The Ringer’s Stand” is held in the Don Stafford Room, Heritage Collection on the 2nd Floor.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Introducing our new blog

Rotorua District Library finally enters the Blogsphere.

Kia ora and welcome to our blog...

Now we’re up and running, our mission is to keep you in touch with our world, sharing views, opinions and ideas on reading, listening and watching. Our world is the world of information, so our team spend their working (and private) lives exploring books, movies, magazines, music, the web and more.

We’ll be sharing our experiences of our world through book reviews, introducing authors who are visiting the Library, showcasing collections that the Library has for you to use and enjoy, and lots more so keep visiting the blog to keep up with what's happening, or better yet sign up to follow us and we'll send you an email each time we post (Only once a week so we won't be sending lots of email's!).

We want your comments on the things we’ve got to say. This is a two-way street, so we want to know what you think about what we do. Feel free to share posts with your friends and family, after all, this library is your library.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Rotorua Street Names Disappear

Compare the maps

See if you can spot the differences

Have you ever been certain you know where a street is and it’s on the map you have had for years, but you drive to where it should be, but... where is it?

Wises Borough of Rotorua 1935

In the 1960s there was a street called ‘Pearce Place’ off Malfroy Road, and even earlier than this in 1927 there was a street called Te Mapu Street in Fenton Park and off Old Taupo Road another called Horohoro Road which is now Springfield Road.
Others are: Railway Avenue; Whaka Road; Wairoa Road; Donne Street; Forestry Avenue and Peneha Street. 

This map was published in a
brochure for tourists c1940
 Excerpt from "Rotorua Streets" by Philip Andrews
"The earliest street names of the township appear on a plan in 1882... All but two of the 14 streets had Maori names : Arawa, Pukaki, Rangiuru, Hinemaru, Hinemoa, Tutanekai, Haupapa, Pukuatua, Eruera, Amohau, Pererika and Amohia". Page 3.
Moving on a few years ...
"Adam Place was one of a number of street name changes requested by NZ Post Office in 1981 because of duplication or similarity in sound or spelling"
The original name was David Place after the son of K.M. Griffiths, of Griffiths Holdings which subdivided land on either side of Edmund Road up to Clayton Road". Page 9.
This fascinating book is available to borrow from the 2nd Floor, Rotorua Collection at 993.423z AND

If you remember any of these streets tell/ share with us your memories.

Kete Rotorua has copies of maps from 1910, 1927, 1979 and 1984. Click the link to see them. 

Friday, 7 November 2014

Discover Your World with Rotorua Museum and Rotorua District Library

Rotorua Museum collections on display at the Library

1 November – 27 November 2014

As part of a new initiative Rotorua Museum Te Whare Taonga o Te Arawa will now be putting up small installations from its extensive collection at the Rotorua District Library.
The exhibits will be on show in the first floor display case in conjunction with the Library’s themed book selections which will change monthly.

The first Rotorua Museum installation is based on the idea of travel. It includes a selection of souvenir items from other countries including a Native American headdress, a range of objects from the Pacific Islands and a curious Dutch clog lamp. The Museum will be doing three displays a year looking at different themes and subject matter.

Native American Headress

Dutch Clog Lamp

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Book Review : "The dragon and the taniwha"

The Dragon and the Taniwha : a comprehensive study of how Maori and Chinese interacted in New Zealand. Edited by Manying Ip.

This book gives the reader a fascinating look at the history of these interactions and the role Maori have in Chinese immigrant’s experiences in settling into the NZ culture and lifestyle.
 Chapter 1 is by Jun Lu and is entitled “Ancient Maori-Chinese ancestral links

On his arrival in NZ 10 years ago he read an article in the NZ Herald about Maori and was greatly intrigued by the word “hui”. Although he could not find the word in an English dictionary, it did not prevent him from understanding the sentence, because ‘hui’ means ‘meeting’ in Chinese. He was puzzled why an English article should include a Chinese word. Later he was stunned to discover that ‘hui’ is a Maori word meaning ‘meeting’, and it’s pronunciation and meaning are exactly the same as the Chinese word ‘hui’.” 

Since his first encounter with the commonalities between Maori and Chinese, he has studied this topic and here in this book he shares what he has learned. An extensive bibliography accompanies his essay.

Read the book to follow on from and continue to be informed about the Maori-Chinese Interactions, are respectively, David Pearson; Nigel Murphy; Richard Bedford; Robert Didham; Manying Ip; James Chang, Sally Liangni Liu, Jennifer Hauraki, Margaret Mutu, Mark Williams and Cathy Ooi. 

Well worth a read by anyone interested in how New Zealand communities are made up and why it works for these two cultures in particular.

Available to borrow from the Maori Collection on the 2nd Floor of Rotorua District Library. At 305.8z DRA

Book Review of "Raj days to downunder"

Raj days downunder: voices from Anglo India to New Zealand.  Dorothy McMenamin. Stories derived from oral history interviews by the author.

Foreword by Megan Hutching, past president of, National Oral History Association of New Zealand. “The stories in this book together make a mosaic illustrating the experiences of New Zealanders from Anglo India”.

The first story is by and about Wilfred Ainslie {Bill} Barlow from Calcutta.

“Both sets of grandparents were Anglo Indians and both his parents were born in Calcutta. Both parents died young in their 50s. He was an only child brought up by an Ayah and went to boarding school in Kurseong, Darjeeling 6000 ft. up in the Himalayas; a government run fee paying school. For 9 months of the year he was at school and on holidays he spent all is time with the neighbour who he called “Aunty” and her 3 kids who were also Anglo Indian.

Later he trained as an engineer apprentice in Calcutta, a course called BOAT (Board of Apprentices Training).   After passing this course he went and worked for Kharagpur Railways, it was while he was there that Pre-Partition or Indian Independence occurred across India. The first he knew about it was when he and three mates got a few days off they hopped a train to Calcutta getting off at Howrah Station, a normally busy, busy station… but when they arrived it was deserted and on walking back towards home they discovered there was no traffic on the roads either, a truly frightening experience for them.

He then went to England to do his Engineering ticket, he found he fitted in well as he had been brought up the British way. On returning to India he ended up working for a steam-shipping company and this was his introduction to other steam-ship companies from around the world. He saw an advert for a job in NZ for the Union Steamship Co. applied and was accepted. He and his wife arrived in NZ in 1971 and have lived here ever since.

You can read this and other interesting stories of some 27 other Anglo Indians from all regions of India in this book, borrowable from New Zealand Collection on the 2nd Floor or Rotorua District Library. At 993.004914z RAJ

We will remember them

WW100: Commemorating the anniversary of WW1.

Excerpts from James Cowan's 'The Maori's in the Great War'

"In Rotorua there were scarcely any but older people, the women and children, every Arawa who could pass the doctor and look fit to carry a rifle and swag went into the camp to train for the great adventure. The age limit was liberally construed. There is a young Maori at Matata who enlisted with the Arawa in the 1st Maori Contingent, fought at Gallipoli in 1915 was invalided home where he married an Arawa girl and volunteered for further service abroad when his wife stopped his wandering by informing the authorities that he was only seventeen!"

"The Arawa and the Ngati Kahungunu of Te Wairoa were the first to volunteer to go to war for the British. They were organised into B Company and Platoon's 5 to 8 were shipped out to Auckland firstly on the troop-steamer 'Warrimoo' to Wellington where they took part in a Parade at Newtown Park before leaving for Gallipoli on 15 February 1915"

1st Contingent: B Company, Platoon 5 = Te Arawa; Platoon 6 = Te Awa-a-te-Atua to the East Coast and Waiapu ; Platoon 7 = Uawa (Tolaga Bay) and Gisborne ; Platoon 8 = Ngati Kahungunu from Te Mahia to Napier and Wairarapa.

The whole of the Maori contingents (1st and 2nd)then serving in Gallipoli were organised into the following platoon's and attached to NZ Infantry Brigades : Platoon's 1 & 2 - (Ngapuhi & Waikato) to the Auckland Battalion ; Platoon's 3 & 4 (West Coast of North Island, Wanganui & Wellington) to Wellington Battalion ; Platoon's 5 & 6 (Arawa, Bay of Plenty, Ngati Porou and East Coast, Taupo and South Island men) to Canterbury Battalion ; Platoon's 7 & 8 (Poverty Bay, Wairoa, Hawke's Bay and Wairarapa) to Otago Battalion.

By NZ Divisional Orders the formation of the NZ Pioneer Battalion was authorized on Feb 20th, 1916. The Battalion was to consist of officers and other ranks drawn from the N.Z.M.R.

"Captain Roger Dansey, whose dash has already been mentioned, himself killed three Turks with the bayonet. An anecdote of his alertness...was narrated by by one of his men long afterwards. "Captain Dansey", he said is as good a fighter as he was a footballer. Once a big Turk jumps up ahead of him he levels a rifle at his head. But Dansey just ducks and goes in for that Turk low down; the bullet goes over his head..."

Available to borrow, from the Maori Collection, on the 2nd Floor of Rotorua District Library. At 940.48z COW

Friday, 31 October 2014

Genealogy for Beginners

Beginners Guide to finding out “Who you think you are”

The basic steps of family history research are :

1.  Write down everything you know about your family.

2.  Contact other family members, especially older ones, and find out as much as you can from them. Carefully record who told you what and when.

3.  Bring together what you have found out from all your different sources. You may find you have conflicting versions of almost anything, differing names, dates, etc.

4.  Confirm what you have found using official records, etc.

5.  Fill in the gaps in your family tree.

For the Computer literate Genealogist, here are 4 steps to creating a Genealogy Research Log and get organized.     Source: Family Tree Magazine.

1.    Decide on a format. You want to be able to search the data and sort them. A spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel or Google Drive would work, or a note-taking tool such as Evernote.

2.    Decide what data you will record. This will determine the structure of your log. A few suggestions are : Ancestor/Family Name ; Record/Resource Title; Information sought ; Repository (i.e. Library, Family History Centre) ; Outcome ; Source citation (i.e. Ancestry.com) ; Date logged ; Status and Notes.

3.    Set up your document in your chosen format. A spreadsheet in Google Drive will allow you to access your log on any computer with internet access and on a smart phone.

4.    Maintain your log. This is the hardest part, but your log won’t do you any good if you don’t use it. You could keep it open on your desktop and enter any genealogy to-dos that occur to you, just remember to save any changes to your log. The next time you plan to visit a library or genealogy website, for example you can sort your log by the Repository/ Website Column, and take care of all those tasks.


Rotorua District Library has computers for your use on the ground floor, with access to Google Drive, you just have to bring a USB Storage device to save your desktop copy to.

Rotorua PhotoNews

The Photonews is an awesome source of photographs for a bygone era, the 60s in Rotorua. This popular publication was in print from 1963-1969

In Rotorua Photonews, No. 25, September 25th 1965, there are two pages of photographs, showing how Cook Islands Independence Day, September 11th 1965 in Rotorua, was celebrated. The Photonews says “it caught the local Cook Islanders by surprise as they were not sure what nationality they now are. The festivities were organised at short notice so were confined to an official luncheon with the Mayor and Mayoress, Mr & Mrs M, Linton, as guests of honour”.  Pages 56-57 show the Mayor and Mayoress taking part in the traditional hula and festivities of the day.

A full set of copies are available to peruse in the Don Stafford Room, Heritage Collection of Rotorua District Library. Come and have a look, you may even see yourself!