Dorothy Neal White
Newsletter 26
June 2000


At the Friends’ meeting on 2 December 1999 guest speaker Bob Kerr presented us with an early Christmas treat—a talk illustrated with slides and original artwork. The books that influenced him as a child seemed mostly to feature Europeans killing something – first animals and later the indigenous people of North America, Africa and Asia (but it never did him any harm). Bob spoke of his pleasure when he encountered his first New Zealand picture book Crayfishing with grandmother by Jill Bagnall and illustrated by Barbara Strathdee (published in 1973) – New Zealanders, too, he discovered, can write and illustrate books!

Bob then showed preliminary drawings and finished artwork from Mechanical Harry (a book based on his own childhood interest in how things work). He also had the photographs he had taken as a guide for his drawings for the Joy Cowley books The day of the rain and The day of the snow. It was fascinating to see the similarities (and the differences) between the original pictures and the illustrations he created from them.

Bob also spoke of the suspicion he aroused when he visited North City Plaza to seek out suitable subjects for the cover photo of his book of short stories for young adults Strange tales from the mall. The cover eventually featured a girl who asked him what he was doing and volunteered to have her photo taken.

Picture missing ********

Opposite: Cover of Strange tales from the mall

by Bob Kerr (Wellington: Mallinson Rendel, 1998)

Cover photograph by Bob Kerr

The audience really appreciated sharing Bob’s insights into his art, his writing and his reading.

The sales table that followed was a great success with many satisfied customers leaving with books, cards and copies of Dorothy Neal White: a tribute.

Lynne Jackett

Books Alive!

At the beginning of April I attended the launch of the exhibition Books Alive! at Capital E. Described as an ‘exciting new interactive journey through the evolution of written and oral language from hieroglyphics to the World Wide Web’ the exhibit is the first of a planned annual event timed to coincide with the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards. Gavin Bishop and Bob Kerr opened the exhibition by cutting the ribbon. The exhibition features huge free standing pages of several New Zealand children’s books including Bishop’s New Zealand Post 2000 Book of the Year award-winning The house that Jack built, and books written and illustrated by school children. The Friends of the Dorothy Neal White Collection provided 30 books so children could experience reading books popular with their parents, grandparents and great grandparents. The exhibition ended in Wellington on 28 May but will be touring New Zealand for several more months.


I have recently had several visits from students attending the International School of Design in Wellington. After introducing them to the Dorothy Neal White and National Children’s Collections I talk about the distinctive features of picture books. Students then complete an assignment to create their own picture book. I have been impressed by the samples of their completed work that I have seen.

Bibliographic Project

In mid March Diane Lowther joined Lisa Mullis as Project Cataloguer. The pair made rapid progress and have now reached books by authors with names starting with ‘S’. Diane left on 25 May and Sarah Knox from the Schools Team in Collection Services is assisting Lisa part-time until the end of June. At the completion of the project, funded by a research grant from the Trustees of the National Library, there will be a small number of fiction books remaining with interim (very short) catalogue records. The next tasks will be to upgrade the records for non-fiction titles and the annuals and serials collection. Karin Andersen of the Schools Team is cataloguing books that are held in the ‘secure’ cabinet. (A cabinet containing rare items and formats that are not suitable for the main shelves, such as miniature books and large floppy ones.)

Conservation Project

There is now a project under way for the National Library’s Conservators to repair the damaged dust jackets of books in the Dorothy Neal White Collection. It is expected that 10 per month will be treated.


The collection has received a number of donations recently. I was particularly grateful to receive a donation from the Colonial Cottage Museum Society. The 26 books include: three small history books published in 1789; several volumes from the My first book of… series, published in the 1860s, which are in a catechism question and answer format; and, most intriguing of all, So do my to up in, a primer reading and counting book from the eighteenth century in which most words are 3 letters long. I am currently assessing a donation of 63 books from the McGregor family.

Lynne Jackett
Curator, Dorothy Neal White Collection


It’s that time again! The Annual General Meeting of the Friends of the Dorothy Neal White Collection will be held on Monday 19 June 2000, in the Lower Ground Floor Meeting Room at the National Library of New Zealand at 6pm. The evening will begin in the Auditorium foyer (entrance off Aitken Street) 5.30pm for preliminary drinks, nibbles and chat. A talk by well-known writer and broadcaster Kate De Goldi, intriguingly entitled LM, KM, EL, ME and Me KDG, will follow the AGM. For details see below.

Unlike recent years this meeting is going to see changes to the Friends’ Committee. After many years of efficient and generous service, the President, Mary Hutton, and the Secretary, Alison Grant, have decided it is time to step down from these positions. With great regret the Committee has accepted the inevitable and I am sure everyone will join me in expressing our deep gratitude to them both for the contribution they have made to the Society. Both have very gracefully agreed to stay on the Committee for another year.

We do have a nomination for secretary –Lynne Jackett is willing to take on this important role. All other current members of the committee are happy to stand again, but nominations for new committee members are very welcome. If you are interested in supporting the Friends in this way please contact Mary Hutton (475 9268), or Alison Grant (476 4320), for further information.

We look forward to seeing you there.

LM, KM, EL, ME and Me KDG

We are very fortunate in having Kate De Goldi as our guest speaker at the Annual General Meeting of the Friends on 19 June 2000. Kate will be known to many members as the host of television’s Bookends, as a reviewer for the Kim Hill show, and of course as an author. Her last three books have been written for ‘young adults’ with the latest Closed, stranger being an Honour Award winner at this year’s New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards.

An article in the Winter 2000 issue of the New Zealand Book Council’s Booknotes quotes Kate as saying “[When writing young adult fiction I feel] the exact same responsibility I would feel to an adult reader, which is to present story and language in such a way that they reflect complexity.”

In her talk to the Friends Kate will reflect on the authors who influenced her life and her writing.

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

Opposite: Cover of Closed, stranger by Kate De Goldi (Auckland: Penguin, 1999).

Cover photograph by Bruce Foster


The New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards presentation was held at Government House in Wellington at 11.30am on Wednesday 5 April 2000. From 11am onwards the ballroom was full of excited chatter as guests – adults and children – took their seats.

The Governor-General and Lady Hardie Boys welcomed the guests. An interesting programme followed. Activities were ably compered by Judith Fyfe and included the awarding of certificates to all the short-listed authors; a stimulating performance of their original composition by the Wellington East Girls’ College choir accompanying themselves on a variety of instruments; a video presentation of children commenting on the short-listed books (also pictured); and a thoughtful overview by Anna Marsich, convenor of the judging panel.*

The moment of revelation came at last. The winners were as follows:

Book of the Year and Picture book of the Year

The house that Jack built by Gavin Bishop (Scholastic)

Picture Book Honour Award

Sydney and the sea monster by David Elliot (Random House)

Junior Fiction & First Book

2Much4U by Vince Ford (Scholastic)

Honour Book

A villain’s night out by Margaret Mahy (Puffin)

Senior Fiction

The Tiggie Tompson show by Tessa Duder (Penguin)

Honour Award

Closed, stranger by Kate de Goldi (Penguin)

Non Fiction

Te wao nui a Täne by Hirini Melbourne, illustrated by Te Maari Gardiner (Huia Publishers)

Children’s Choice Award

Hairy Maclary and Zachary Quack by Lynley Dodd (Mallinson Rendel). For this Award 40,000 children from around New Zealand voted for their favourite book!

At the end of the prize-giving the audience was reminded that this was the last time the New Zealand Post Book Awards would be held at Government House while Sir Michael Hardie Boys was Governor-General. Tribute was paid to him for his support of the Awards and his enthusiastic promotion of books and reading.

Guests enjoyed discussing the day’s events over the delicious lunch that brought this year’s function to an end. Visitors finally departed at 2.30pm.

* The judging panel comprised:

Anna Marsich (convenor)

Associate Principal, Dunedin College of Education

Chris Gaskin

Leading New Zealand children’s writer / illustrator with a special interest in wildlife

John McKenzie

Head of the Centre of Children’s Literature, Christchurch College of Education

Alison Grant

Mary Hutton

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

Illustration from The Juvenile Encyclopedia, including a Complete Course of Instruction on Every Useful Subject

(London: T Gillet, 1801) vol III, p 31 used on the website Te Waimano.


Illustrations from several books held in the Dorothy Neal White Collection and in the National Children’s Collection have been used on the Alexander Turnbull Library’s Millennium website, Te Waimano. The Minister responsible for the National Library, Marian Hobbs, launched the site, on 24 February 2000.

Te Waimano ‘the waters of a new millennium’, was edited by Dr Malcolm McKinnon for the Library. He selected material from throughout the collections – books, serials, manuscripts, photographs, drawings, maps and sound recordings – which highlight ‘the tides and currents of the past…’ You can choose items to examine by selecting a Time, a Place and a category of Knowledge – such as Science, Love or Arts and Culture. You can delve into the Library’s collections at 50-year intervals back from the year 2000 to 1750. Each selection you make will bring up a different combination of images. A bookmark giving the addresses of Te Waimano and Timeframes (a website with over 15,000 image from the Turnbull Library) is enclosed.


The 1999 Annual General Meeting agreed to hold the subscription rate at $20 a year. A plea was made for members to pay their subscriptions and to encourage friends and family with an interest in children’s literature to join too as the Society’s numbers were falling markedly. The response has been positive and we now have 46 personal members (compared to just 23 at the last AGM)! We hope the trend will continue. The Treasurer will be delighted to receive your subscription payment at the AGM, or by post to the Friends of the Dorothy Neal White Collection, PO Box 12499, Wellington, PO Box 12-499, Wellington.

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