Otaki Library, November 2015

NO15_LIB_Hocken.jpgHocken: Prince of Collectors

Donald Jackson Kerr

Dr Thomas Morland Hocken (1836–1910) arrived in Dunedin in 1862, aged 26. Throughout his busy life as a medical practitioner he amassed books, manuscripts, sketches, maps and photographs of early New Zealand. Much of his initial collecting focused on the early discovery narratives of James Cook, along with the writings of Rev. Samuel Marsden and his contemporaries, Edward Gibbon Wakefield and the New Zealand Company and Maori, especially in the south. He gifted his collection to the University of Otago in 1910. Hocken was a contemporary of New Zealand’s other two notable early book collectors, Sir George Grey and Alexander Turnbull.

In this well researched volume, a companion to his Amassing Treasures for All Times: Sir George Grey, colonial bookman and collector, Donald Kerr examines Hocken’s collecting activities and his vital contribution to preserving the history of New Zealand’s early post-contact period.

NO15_LIB_James_Burney.jpgSailing with Cook: Inside the Private Journal of James Burney RN

Suzanne Rickard

James Burney kept his modestly sized personal journal against Admiralty Instructions while sailing with Captain Cook during his second exploration between 1772 and 1775. Despite often challenging circumstances, Burney managed to maintain his account from mid-1772 until late1773. On 18 December 1773, on New Zealand’s South Island, tragedy struck the Adventure’s crew, and thereafter the journal pages are empty. Despite the voyage’s vicissitudes, the journal’s covers are intact without signs of sea water damage, the paper is strong, the ink has not faded much and, importantly, Burney’s youthful account remains vigorous and, occasionally, astounding.

The context of the journal is important. Here was a potent mix of family ambition, Britannia’s determination to explore and ‘rule the waves’, and an unpolished yet fascinating account produced by a young man from one of England’s prominent 18th-century musical and literary families. James became distinguished in his own right. He wrote extensively. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and he was eventually promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral.

NO15_LIB_Johnny_Enzed.jpgJohnny Enzed: the New Zealand Soldier in the First World War 1914–1918

Glyn Harper

The New Zealand soldiers who left these shores to fight in the First World War represented one of the greatest collective endeavours in our history. Over 100,000 men and women would embark for overseas service and almost 60,000 of them became casualties. For a small nation like New Zealand this was a tragedy on an unimagined scale. Using their personal testimony, this book reveals what these men experienced — the truth of their lives in battle, at rest, at their best and their worst. Through a comprehensive and sympathetic scrutiny of New Zealand soldiers’ correspondence, diaries and memoirs, a compelling picture of the New Zealand soldier’s war from general to private is revealed. This is not a campaign history of dry facts and detail. Rather, it examines minutely the everyday experience of trench life in all its shapes and forms.

Diverse topics such as barbed wire, the use of the bayonet, gas attacks, rats, horses, food, communal singing, infectious diseases and much more feature in this riveting account of the New Zealand soldier in WWI. It is the story of ordinary men thrust into the most extraordinary circumstances imaginable.

OutcaNO15_LIB_Outcasts_of_the_Gods.jpgsts of the Gods? The struggle over slavery in Māori New Zealand

Hazel Petrie

‘Us Māoris used to practise slavery just like them poor Negroes had to endure in America…’ says Beth Heke in Once Were Warriors. ‘Oh those evil colonials who destroyed Māori culture by ending slavery and cannibalism while increasing the life expectancy,’ wrote one sarcastic blogger. So was Māori slavery ‘just like’ the experience of Africans in the Americas and were British missionaries or colonial administrators responsible for ending the practice? What was the nature of freedom and unfreedom in Māori society and how did that intersect with the perceptions of British colonists and the anti-slavery movement? In a meticulously researched book, Hazel Petrie looks closely at a huge variety of evidence to answer these questions, analysing bondage and freedom in traditional Māori society; the role of economics and mana in shaping captivity; and how the arrival of colonists and new trade opportunities transformed Māori society and the place of captives within it.