Poutama Ruma, Archives New Zealand, Wellington 6:00pm, Wednesday 23 May 2012

CHAIR: David Retter MINUTES: Joan McCracken

Twenty-five members attended the AGM
Last year’s minutes Minutes of the 2011 meeting)
2013 minutes

1.Apologies: Lynne Jackett

2.The Minutes of the Annual General Meeting 2011 were circulated and accepted – Emma MacDonald / Mary Skarott

3.Matters arising
FDNW Event Programme – Joan commented that two of the suggested events for 2011 have been postponed. William Main has been unwell but is interested in doing a presentation to the Friends. We are hoping that the auditorium in the Molesworth Street will be available to us when the building re-opens and as this seems a more appropriate venue for Bill’s magic lantern show. Mary Skarott’s session showing online resources to support research into children’s literature will also be offered on our return to Molesworth Street.

4.President’s report
David Retter circulated and spoke to the President’s report for 2011-2012. He highlighted the activities held during the year and the publication of two newsletters. David commented on the good service that is being provided to the DNW collection through Archives NZ, but noted that researchers are looking forward to again having access to all the children’s literature collections in one place when the NL building re-opens. The “in-person” enquiries detailed in the statistics do not include queries to staff at Archives NZ as these are not kept at present.
David thanked Lynne Jackett for her work locating and purchasing publications to fill gaps in the DNW collection. He also expressed his appreciation to the members of the Friends for their continuing support, and to the members of the committee for their contributions.
BarbaraRobertson / Alison
Matters arising from the President’s Report Barbara Mabbett suggested that the incoming committee investigate ways to encourage more members of the Friends – especially school libraries. It was agreed that moving back to the Molesworth Street building will offer an opportunity for marketing and promotions.

6.Treasurer’s Financial Report
Janet Blake presented the Financial Report for 2011-2012. She noted that the Friends are in a good financial position at present, with funds recently being re-invested in a term deposit.
Janet Blake / Margaret ?
Matters arising from the Treasurer’s Report
The Treasurer was asked what the Friends were intending to do with the $20000 currently invested as this is quite a large sum for a small society. Janet explained that over half of this sum came from a generous donation from Susan Price, with the express purpose of supporting the research grant. David Retter pointed out that having these funds available (and growing) will allow the Society to increase the value of the research grant if this seems appropriate.
Mary Skarott thanked the Friends for the $1000 that has been made available to her to spend on publications for the DNW collection. She is purchasing these as they are identified and will pass the receipts to the Treasurer for reimbursement. Motion: That the membership fee be retained at $20 per annum.
Janet Blake / Joan McCracken

7.Friends of the Dorothy Neal White Collection Research Grant report
David Retter recapped on the change from the scholarship, available only to Victoria University of Wellington students, to a research grant available to applicants from across New Zealand, and the increase in value from $500 annually to $2000 biennially.
David invited people to nominate suitable applicants and to provide them with information.

8.Friends of the Dorothy Neal White Collection website and newsletter report
Joan reported on behalf of the webmaster, Jeff Hunt, that in the last year the website has been updated with the November 2011 and May 2012 newsletters, and with the papers from the 2011 Annual General Meeting. Where possible links are inserted into the newsletters online to take readers to the websites where the original articles have been sourced, and therefore to additional information that may be of interest. As the cost of printing the newsletters in colour is prohibitive we will continue to produce these in black & white, but the online version is in colour so has “added value”.
The texts for N-B-A 10 Willingly to war: British and imperial boys’ story papers, 1905-1914 by Andrew Francis, and N-B-A 11 Keeping ‘each of the twos in its right place’:the problematic return journey in The Cuckoo Clock and The Tapestry Room, by Mrs Molesworth, by Beatrice Turner, have also been added during the year.
Joan encouraged members to submit news, original articles, notices of events, links to relevant websites, and other items of interest to both the website and the newsletter.

9.Election of Officers for the 201/2013 Committee
After three years as President of the Friends, David Retter stood down at the AGM. Joan McCracken offered a vote of thanks to David for his contribution.
Emma MacDonald generously agreed to take on the role of President.

The following officers and committee members were re-elected unanimously, by acclaim:
Patron: Margaret Mahy
Treasurer: Janet Blake
Membership Secretary: Trevor Mowbray
Minutes Secretary: Lynne Jackett
Newsletter: Joan McCracken
Committee: Audrey Cooper, Alison Grant, Mary Hutton, Barbara Robertson, and Mary Skarott representing the National Library’s childrens’ literature collections

Corrina Gordon was welcomed on to the committee.

10. General Business
a) The National Library re-building project and DNW services Mary Skarott reported that the service that has been offered through the reading room at Archives NZ to some Turnbull collections and the Dorothy Neal White Collection will close at 5pm on Friday 25 May 2012. During the following 10 weeks the collections will be packed and returned to the Library’s Molesworth Street building. The Dorothy Neal White Collection will be housed alongside the National Children’s Collection in the SSC Basement.

On 6 August 2012 access to the collections and services of the National Library and the Alexander Turnbull Library will re-open from the Molesworth Street building. In her role as the Children’s Literature Specialist, Mary will have responsibility for research services from the DNW, NCC and Turnbull juvenile collections.

The National Librarian, Bill McNaught, took the opportunity to thank the Friends for their support – and noted that the work of the Friends is part of the work of the National Library. He looked forward to welcoming the Friends to the Molesworth Street building once it is reopened.

b) Suggestions for future meeting topics and for Notes-Books-Authors topics.
David reported that it is a hoped that the Trevor Mowbray’s presentation to the Friends on 1940s books for children will become Notes-Books-Authors 12 and will be published in the next year.

Joan gave advance notice of other meeting topics
Mary Skarott will follow up her article in the April 2011 newsletter on the NL’s electronic resources on interest to children’s literature researchers with a hands-on session in the TQ reading room
William Main, well-known Wellington photography historian, will present a lantern slide show
Chris Szekely, Chief Librarian of the Alexander Turnbull Library and recent winner of the NZ Post Children’s Picture Book Award, has been invited to speak about his book at a meeting that will also include a tour for the Friends of Turnbull’s refreshed spaces and services

The meeting closed at 6:40pm

The AGM was followed by a talk by Wellington author, Fleur Beale


After the Friends’ Annual General Meeting on 23 May 2012, Wellington author Fleur Beale gave a talk about her novels. She started by showing some of the roughs for the cover of her 2011 book Dirt bomb (published by Random House). The book was inspired by the enthusiasm of Fleur’s nephew for his old Holden “paddock basher”. She discovered that city children did not understand that term so the name was changed to Dirt bomb and she worked with a local designer on a cover that would reflect the title. The designs were shown to students at Rongotai College and they gave their opinions on both the image and the fonts.

Having started with one of her most recent books, Fleur then talked about some of her earlier novels. She note that this seemed an appropriate way for her to structure her talk as it is the way she reads some books – when a book gets too tense she will read the end, then if it seems like it is going to work out happily she then goes back to continue from where she left off.

Fleur started writing for radio programmes such as Grandpa’s place, Ears and Storytime. At the time (the late 1980s) she and her husband were both teaching at Melville High School in Hamilton. Her classes were largely non-academic and the students had little interest in books and reading. She decided to write a book for them. At the time her husband was co-driving a rally car. Knowing Fleur didn’t like hearing the dangerous details of the races, he would give reports to a friend on the phone. Fleur overheard these and they formed the basis for her book Slide the corner. It took Scholastic two years to publish the book as at first they tried to interest Australia in co-publishing. This was not successful and finally it was just published in NZ in 1993. I 2009 a new edition of the book was published. Fleur updated the text to take account of new technologies and reflect educational changes (for instance she needed to have the characters sit NCEA rather than the exams of the 1980s). She found this an interesting exercise but more difficult than she expected and there were ramifications of the changes on the storyline that she had to incorporate.

Another book that came from her time as a teacher was I am not Esther (first published by Longacre in 1998, a new edition with a new cover came out earlier this year). The story was based on the experience of a boy at the school at which she was teaching. He wanted to be a doctor but his religious family insisted further education would open him to inappropriate knowledge and that he must leave school. He refused to give up his dream, and although banished by family he persevered with the help of friends and became a doctor. Fleur used some of his story in her novel.

This “true” story led to her being asked to tell the story of another religious family. Sins of the father: the long shadow of a religious cult : a New Zealand story (Longacre, 2009) tells of the experiences of Phil Cooper, the son of Neville Cooper the leader of the Cooperites, a religious community on the West Coast.

Fleur then talked about writing readers in the “Go for it” series for Gilt Edge Press. These books are published in Petone for the US educational market. She finds them interesting to write, but demands to make changes for American readers can be frustrating, and on some occasions, unacceptable. She has needed to write a “firm but fair” letter to the publishers when changes were made the really altered Fleur’s books. This resulted in the American editor being replaced.

Fleur commented that she likes to set her characters in difficult situations where they are need to be make hard decisions. This is the case for fourteen year old Minna in The transformation of Minna Hargreaves (Random House, 2007). Minna has a 17-year old boyfriend who is keen to start a sexual relationship with her. When Fleur talks to school groups she asks them – should she or shouldn’t she? Her audiences are usually split 50:50.

To end her session Fleur was asked about her Juno trilogy – the covers of which had attracted the attention of members of the audience. Fleur was in New York soon after the events of 9/11 and that lead her to imagine what it would be like to be in a place that was truly isolated. She did not set out to write a series, but at the end of Book 1 (Juno of Taris: Self, published by Random House in 2008) she felt she needed to continue the story. The series is set in a future where Juno and the inhabitants of Taris face changes and ultimately have to leave their must leave their dying island to live on the Outside. In Book 2 Fierce September (2010) Juno faces new challenges in a future New Zealand. When she finished Book 3 Heart of danger (2011) Fleur felt she couldn’t leave readers wondering what happened to Juno, so she has published Part 4 on her website and made it available to the world for free.

Asked what she is working on now, Fleur replied that she is writing a contemporary love story set in New Zealand.

The newly-elected President of the Friends, Emma MacDonald, thanked Fleur for a fascinating talk, and she was presented with flowers by Mary Skarott, Lynne Jackett, Emma Macdonald, Tania Connelly


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