Dorothy Neal White
Newsletter 23
May 1998



The AGM was held on Wednesday 26 November 1997 in the Auditorium Foyer, National Library of New Zealand. As usual, Friends met from 5.30pm for drinks, nibbles and chat. At 6pm they gathered for the AGM and to hear the Curator, Lynne Jackett, present her paper Early illustrated New Zealand children’s books in the Dorothy Neal White and National Children’s Collections.

The President, Mary Hutton, extended a warm welcome to the Friends. The AGM followed. In her report the President alluded to the positive developments that had taken place during the year. Most importantly, the relocation of the Dorothy Neal White Collection had recently become a distinct possibility. The Curator, Lynne Jackett, later confirmed that the Collection was indeed to be rehoused. Once the School Library Service stock had been transferred to Palmerston North, the Collection would be reshelved in the Lower Ground Floor where it would be more readily available to researchers and browsers. The Curator paid tribute to Elaine Hall, Assistant National Librarian (User Services), for her effort in pushing through the arrangement.

The upgrading of the Collection’s bibliographic access was well in hand. A $10,000 grant from the Macklin Bequest allocated for this project by the Trustees of the National Library, had made the work possible. Thanks were expressed to the National Library staff – Elaine Hall, Alison Elliott, Lynne Jackett, and Mary Atwool – for their work in getting this proposal approved.

Notes-Books-Authors no.7 was progressing well The President noted that because the booklet was to commemorate the life and work of the Society’s first patron, Dorothy Neal White, it would be a more substantial and distinctive publication than previous numbers had been.

Election of Officers

The committee was re-elected as a whole.

President:Mary Hutton

Secretary:Alison Grant

Treasurer:Trevor Mowbray

Other committee members:Mary Atwool, Audrey Cooper, Julie Eberly, Lynne Jackett, Carmel Jones and Joan McCracken.

The formal part of the evening over, the Friends settled back to listen to Lynne’s informed and stimulating paper.

Alison Grant


Lynne’s talk, Early illustrated New Zealand children’s books…, was first presented at the In Visible Languages conference in August 1997; due to its general interest the Friends were pleased that Lynne was willing to repeat the talk at the AGM. She was able to remind us of both old favourites, and unfamiliar examples of books published before 1970, many of which are in the Dorothy Neal White Collection. The focus of the paper was on illustration and Lynne had slides of illustrations from many historic books. Starting with Kate McCosh Clark’s A Southern Cross Fairy Tale from 1891, Lynne toured us through a number of books bringing out noteworthy themes and illustration characteristics.

One theme that stood out among the books was the emphasis on educating children about New Zealand flora and fauna. The audience was intrigued with the portrayal of New Zealand kiwis and flax plants in a distinctively European or Japanese style. The slides showed how much New Zealand illustrations conformed to international trends. Another theme evident in books such as The Book of Wiremu by Stella Morice, illustrated by Nancy Parker (Hamilton: Paul’s Book Arcade, 1958) and Turi by Lesley Cameron Powell, photographs by Pius Blank (Hamilton: Paul’s Book Arcade, 1963), is the strong emphasis on Maori inter-generational relationships. Grandparents and grandchildren are prominent to a degree not seen in the books about Pakeha families.

Picture missing ***************

Illustration from The Book of Wiremu by Stella Morice, illustrated by Nancy Parker (Hamilton: 1958)

Lynne finished by bringing the talk full circle to a New Zealand author’s book published in Britain, as the early books had been. Margaret Mahy’s book The Dragon of an Ordinary Family was delightfully illustrated by Helen Oxenbury when it was published by Heinemann in 1969.

After the talk members of the audience expressed their feeling that it would be valuable to publish the talk, particularly if it were appropriately illustrated. Perhaps a future edition of Notes-Books-Authors will take advantage of this suggestion.

Julie K. Eberly

Stop Press: Lynne is repeating her talk on 4 June 1998 in the National Library auditorium as part of the related events programme for the exhibition Show me!


The best news first—in January the Collection was removed from the National Library basement. Both the Dorothy Neal White and National Children’s Collections are now housed on the lower ground floor of the Library building. The books are on fixed shelving, so it is again possible for more than one person to use the collection at a time. Author/title requests can still be placed at the First Floor (Alexander Turnbull Library) Reference Desk any time during opening hours. Because my other work frequently takes me away from the area, visits to the collections are by appointment. However, if you are in the Library and wish to use the collection you can ask at the Ground Floor Information Desk (in the main foyer) to see if a visit is possible. There is an attractive visitor area with carrels for researchers to use and the walls are decorated with Sendak prints and children’s literature posters. The move follows years of lobbying by the Friends and the advocacy of Elaine Hall, Assistant National Librarian (User Services).

Since the move the collections have been visited by:

the Master of Library and Information Science children’s literature option group

the Trustees of the National Library

a family historian locating books her father had enjoyed and written about

an illustrator seeking inspiration for pictures of fairies

two librarians working on a public library historical collection.

In the last newsletter I noted that the inaugural Macklin Bequest Award had gone to the project to begin upgrading the bibliographic records for the Dorothy Neal White Collection. All New Zealand and Australian titles held now have full bibliographic records and the “A” authors from other countries are almost completed. By the completion of the project about 700 records will have been upgraded.

In March I provided an interim report to the Trustees of the National Library on the progress of the project and they visited the children’s literature collections in their new location. As well as expressing their pleasure at seeing the collections made more accessible they announced that they are awarding a research grant of $15,000 to continue the bibliographic project. A cataloguer will be appointed to undertake this work starting in July or August.

Now that the collections are in their new location I have begun drafting a pamphlet about all of the National Library’s children’s literature collections. These include the resources held in the Alexander Turnbull Library and the Susan Price Collection as well as the Dorothy Neal White and National Children’s Collections. The Schools Collection is not included as its purpose is to support the school curriculum rather than children’s literature research.

In March I conducted two tours of the exhibition Show me! for Wellington Schools Centre cluster meetings. The exhibition contains original artwork by contemporary New Zealand children’s book illustrators and a case of books from the Dorothy Neal White and National Children’s Collections.

Linda Forbes completed her secondment as Children’s Literature Librarian in December 1997. Linda made great inroads in sorting out the additional resources housed with the Dorothy Neal White Collection but which were not part of that collection. She identified a large number of them for addition to the National Children’s Collection, either to make pre-1940 titles more widely available or to fill gaps. Linda also mounted a display on New Zealand children’s book illustrations and provided assistance to researchers using the collection.

In February I was appointed to the position of Group Leader, Collection Development. The position includes an allowance of two days per week to undertake work in an area of specialisation. This allows me to continue to curate the Dorothy Neal White Collection, manage the National Children’s Collection and manage the ConspectusNZ database. When working with the children’s literature collections I still bear the title Curator, Dorothy Neal White Collection.

Lynne Jackett

The Dorothy Neal White Collection cabinet in the Ground Floor foyer currently holds a display on Geoffrey Trease (1909-1998) mounted by Geraldine Krishnan from Collection Development.

Picture ********************

Frontispiece to Geoffery Trease’s A thousand for Sicily, illustrated by Brian Wildsmith (London, 1964)


An exciting exhibition of artwork by New Zealand children’s book illustrators is currently showing in the National Library Gallery.

Show Me! highlights the work of a selection of contemporary New Zealand children’s book illustrators. Featuring well-known illustrators together with those whose reputations are just becoming established, the exhibition provides ample evidence of the remarkable talent contributing to the children’s book industry in New Zealand. The exhibition shows finished artwork, preparatory drawings, and other material such as books by overseas illustrators which have provided inspiration and influence.

Artwork from well-loved classics such as The duck and the gun by Robyn Belton, Annie and Moon by Lesley Moyes, and Farmer Schnuck by Philip Webb are being shown alongside work from new books including The soldier and the bantam by Robyn Belton, which won last year’s New Zealand Post Picture Book of the Year Award and Alphabet apartments by Lesley Moyes, this year’s winner. Copies of books with artwork featuring in Show Me! are available to read in the exhibition.

In addition to the work of 14 contemporary illustrators, the exhibition includes a special section on the late Jill McDonald, whose work for School Publications in the 1960s broke new ground in children’s book illustration. Her career included employment with Penguin, in particular on their Puffin series of children’s books.

The exhibition has been curated by the National Library in association with the New Zealand Illustrators’ Guild and Learning Media Limited. The full selection of illustrators was made by Guild members, and includes: Robyn Belton, Betty Brownlie, Caroline Campbell, David Elliot, Kerry Gemmill, Murray Grimsdale, Gus Hunter, Jill McDonald, Tracey Moroney, Lesley Moyes, Karen Oppatt, Ruth Paul, Gwenda Turner and Philip Webb.

Show Me! will continue until 28 June 1998.

Associated events

Show me! the past

An illustrated talk about 100 years of children’s books by Lynne Jackett, curator of the National Library’s Dorothy Neal White Collection of historical children’s books.

Thursday 4 June 1998, Auditorium, 12.10pm

Watch me! make a book

Julie Greig and Penny Newman, Learning Media illustrators and publishers, show us how a children’s book happens from start to finish. An entertaining presentation suitable for all ages.

Saturday 20 June 1998, National Library Gallery, 2.00pm


Greeting cards featuring work showing in the exhibition have been published by the National Library. Illustrations by artists Robyn Belton, Ruth Paul, Tracey Moroney, Philip Webb, Jill McDonald, Karen Oppatt, Gwenda Turner, and Caroline Campbell are included in the series. The cards are available from the National Library Shop at a cost of $2.75 each or $19.80 for a set of eight.

Picture Missiing *************

Illustration from Just right by Jessica Wallace, illustrated by Robyn Belton (Auckland, 1998). Produced as a card in conjunction with the exhibition Show me! by the National Library Gallery, 1998.


A guided tour of Show Me! has been arranged for the Friends on Tuesday 16 June 1998. Our guides will be Peter Ireland, Manager of the National Library Gallery, and well-known writer and illustrator, Clare Bowes. Clare is a member of the New Zealand Illustrators’ Guild and Learning Media Limited, and was one of the selectors of the illustrators to be included in the exhibition. See the enclosed flyer for details of the tour.


The committee has accepted a quote from the publishers, Mallinson Rendel, to produce a special issue of Notes – Books – Authors to celebrate the life and work of Dorothy Neal White who was the Society’s first patron. Because this will be a more substantial publication than its predecessors a charge will be made for its purchase. It is hoped that the publication will be able to be launched before the end of 1998.

Mary Hutton


A reminder to any Friends who have not paid their 1998 subscription! The Treasurer will be delighted to receive your payment at any meeting, or post to the Friends of the Dorothy Neal White Collection, PO Box 12499, Wellington. The annual subscription is $20.


The successful 1998 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Festival culminated again this year in an enjoyable presentation ceremony held at Government House and hosted by Sir Michael and Lady Hardie Boys.

The New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards are the highlight of the children’s publishing calendar when writers, illustrators, publishers, librarians, booksellers and young readers gather to recognise the very best in children’s literature published during the previous year. All who attended this year’s function awaited the announcement with heightened anticipation.

Following Sir Michael’s words of welcome, Frances Plumpton, convenor of the judging panel, spoke of the criteria employed by the judges when deciding the winners, and of the wealth of talent from both new and established writers and illustrators, that have provided books which excite, provoke and challenge our children and young people as readers..

This year a total of 125 books were entered – comprising 47 picture books, 35 non-fiction, 31 junior fiction and 12 senior fiction. The judges Frances Plumpton, Dick Weir and Mere Whaanga, were impressed by the exceptionally strong field of senior fiction, and the large and diverse range of books within the junior fiction category. They found the judging both challenging and satisfying. A representative of New Zealand Post spoke of the company’s committment, and of the pleasure of being involved with such a prestigious festival.

Sir Michael Hardie Boys then announced the winners in each category and presented the awards.

Paula Boock won the senior fiction prize and the supreme prize of book of the year for Dare, truth or promise, published by Longacre Press.

Joy Cowley won the junior fiction prize for Ticket to the sky dance, a science fiction thriller published by Viking.

Jack Lasenby won an honour award in the senior fiction category for Because we were travellers, published by Longacre Press.

The prize for best first book went to Judy Knox for Trapped, published by Scholastic.

The non-fiction award went to Diana Noonan and Keith Olsen for The know, sow and grow kids’ book of plants, published by Bridge Hill.

Lesley Moyes won the picture book category for Alphabet apartments, published by Mallinson Rendel. This was also an overwhelming favourite with children (over 37,000 voted) winning the children’s choice category.

A delicious lunch followed the presentation of awards, providing an occasion for congratulations and meeting old friends. Government House is a splendid venue and all agreed that it was a great occasion.

Audrey Cooper

Picture missing ***************

Cover of Alphabet apartments by Lesley Moyes, published by Mallinson Rendel.

Winner of the 1998 NZ Post Children’s Book Award for best Picture Book.

Show Me! Show Me! Show Me!

Artwork by New Zealand children’s book illustrators.

A guided tour of this National Library Gallery exhibition

for the

Friends of the Dorothy Neal White Collection

will be held on

Tuesday 16 June 1998

Meet in the National Library foyer at 5.30pm

for drinks & nibbles

The tour will start at 6.00pm.

Our tour guides will be Peter Ireland

Manager of the National Library Gallery

& illustrator Clare Bowes



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