Wednesday, August 25, 2010

NZ history in Photographs

I've just been reading 'How to do local history' by Gavin McLean 2007 Otago University Press. He has a chapter on visual documents and illustrations, page 47.

Did you realise that New Zealand has grown up with photography? Gavin says 'the first New Zealand Company immigrants left Britain for Port Nicholson just a month after the invention of photography was announced in Paris.'

I never knew that. The photographs which have survived are mostly hidden in filing cabinets and drawers. You have to know where to look and my history of looking hasn't found me much. They were then wrapped up in a sort of  'beware of using for publication' language which put a barrier between me and them. Even at National Archives which I believe have thousands of photos - I've never seen one and I go often. Seems such a shame.

Gavin has written of the links he knew of in 2007 which I will look at, since that year, more has come online. But this must be only a fraction of what it available still.

The ones below are of an unidentified school and they are never far from my mind, especially when I survey the latest listings of postcards of New Zealand cities on Trademe. I'm always looking for a clue. Trademe being more use than the repositories which probably have millions of photographs.


  1. I might have found a match. Te Aro School in Wellington, pulled down in 1933. What do you think?$67109&l=en

  2. I have an old friend who has been taking photos and making videos for years. He has captured his work in the early years in the Powerstations on Waikaremoana, Tuwai, many weddings and birthdays; videoed for a Probus club for a perod of time. He is now in a rest home, and I know his videos, slides and photos are languishing in his garage. He tells me his family will not be interested in any of it, apart from the family photos. Before it heads to the tip - has anyone any ideas where it should be heading?