1On Tuesday 8 December 2015 the Friends are holding their final event for 2015. Following drinks and nibbles committee members will read from favourite seasonal stories.

Time: 5:30pm drinks & nibbles
6:00pm readings
Venue: Tiakiwai Conference Centre
National Library of New Zealand (use Aitken Street entrance)

Photograph: Studio portrait of unidentified girl dressed as Christmas tree, probably Christchurch, ca.1915. Adam Henry Pearson Maclay
Reference: 1/2-185181-G Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington


2The 2015 AGM of the Friends of the Dorothy Neal White Collection was held on Thursday 7 May at the National Library, Wellington. The evening began, as usual, with drinks & nibbles, followed by a presentation by Dr Nicola Daly on her research into “Pākehā-Māori: European-Native – ethnic labelling in the Dorothy Neal White Collection”.

The presentation marked the end of the research Nicola had done as holder of the FDNW Research Grant. She is based at Waikato University and used her grant to make research trips to Wellington to explore her topic.

The photo at the right shows Nicola receiving her research grant from the Turnbull Library’s Children’s Literature specialist Mary Skarott at the FDNW AGM 2014
Photograph: Joan McCracken

The AGM followed Nicola’s presentation. Three long-term committee members were farewelled with sadness but with gratitude for their contribution to the society. As was mentioned in Newsletter 51:

  • Trevor Mowbray was one of the founders of the society in 1983, and for many years he was our treasurer. He is almost as well-known as the server of drinks at all our functions! Trevor is also the author of our most recent Notes-Books-Authors 12: The Nineteen-Forties: a turning point in writing for children.
  • Audrey Cooper has also had a long association with the Friends’ committee. With Margot Crawford she edited the very first Notes-Books-Authors: Papers on the Dorothy Neal White Collection in 1985.
  • Janet Blake joined the committee in 2007, taking over as Treasurer in 2009

On behalf of the membership small gifts were given to the three departing committee members, although only Trevor was able to be at the meeting to receive his.

Other committee members stood for re-election, and we were delighted that two new members, Chantalle Smith and Kathryn Walls, joined the committee. Kathryn introduces herself later in the newsletter – we’ll hear from Chantalle in the next issue. We still do not have anyone for the President’s position so the role of committee chair continues to be shared.

The Committee members for 2015-2016 are:
Patron: Barbara Murison (see below)
President: Vacant
Treasurer: Jeff Hunt
Secretary: Corrina Gordon
Newsletter: Joan McCracken
Research Librarian: Mary Skarott,
Committee: Barbara Robertson, Chantalle Smith, Kathryn Walls, Tania Connelly

Full minutes of the 2015 meeting can be found on the Friends’ website


We are thrilled to announce that Barbara Murison, a long-time member of the Friends, has accepted the role as Patron of the Society. This role has been vacant since the death of the Society’s first Patron, Margaret Mahy in 2012. Barbara’s appointment was announced at the Friend’s October event.

3Barbara has been a lover of books all her life. She considers herself to have been very lucky to have been born to parents (and grandparents) who all felt that after love, warm shelter, sufficient food and water, a child should be surrounded by books and given a library card at an early age.

She has spent over sixty years working with, and looking at, books and resources for children and young readers and continues to be part of the group that is dedicated to trying to keep a high standard of children’s literature alive in this country.

In 2002 Barbara was awarded the Betty Gilderdale Award for services to New Zealand children’s literature by Storylines: New Zealand Children’s Literature Foundation. In 2004 SLANZA (School Library Association of New Zealand Aotearoa) presented her with a Certificate of Recognition for innovation and contribution over 50 years in the development of quality resources and expertise in libraries for children and young people. Then, in the 2007 New Year Honours Barbara was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for services to children’s literature.

For nineteen years Barbara produced a three-monthly book review bulletin for schools, colleges and public libraries. Although this part of her business stopped in November 2010 Barbara continues to offer a Manuscript Assessment service, particularly for those writing for children and young adults, helping to develop them to a possible publishing standard. She also reads many new children’s and young adult’s books and reviews them on her blog site Around the bookshops http://barbaramurison.blogspot.co.nz/

As well as all of this Barbara still finds time to walk in the bush, and enjoy going out to dinner, the movies, and various book events – including Friends of the Dorothy Neal White Collection talks!

Adapted from the “About me” page on Barbara’s Around the bookshops website
Photograph: Barbara with flowers presented at the FDNW event in October 2015 when it was announced she had accepted the role of Patron of the society. Photograph: Joan McCracken


Professor Kathryn Walls joined the FDNW committee at the 2015 AGM. Here she introduces herself to members.

I was born in Wellington. Before heading for a classical 1950s childhood in Invercargill (and some readers will know, or know of, its “Juvenile Library”) I was a pupil of Clyde Quay School. When we returned to Wellington I went to Brooklyn School before going on to Wellington East Girls’ College, Victoria University, and the University of Toronto, where I did my PhD on medieval allegory.

I am now a Professor of English at Victoria. While I still teach medieval literature, my teaching and research interests have always been quite wide. My most recent book, God’s Only Daughter: Spenser’s Una as the Invisible Church (Manchester University Press, 2013) was on the late sixteenth-century allegorical romance, the Faerie Queene. In the late 1980s (when I had two young daughters), I pioneered the teaching of children’s literature at Victoria. Now, however, I am just one of a large group teaching a popular undergraduate course on the subject.4

I have a particular interest in Margaret Mahy. I have published various articles and contributions to books on Mahy’s work. These include a chapter on her treatment of money in A Made-Up Place, (illustrated right) the Victoria University Press anthology on NZ YA fiction co-authored by my colleagues Anna Jackson, Geoff Miles, Harry Ricketts and Tatjana Schaefer. Right now I have an article on the generic ambiguity of The Changeover forthcoming in Children’s Literature Association Quarterly.

Naturally, I value the Collection, and the excellent work that the Friends have done over the years. I have joined the Committee for these reasons, but also because it seems to me that the interests of the Committee very much coincide with the interests of those studying and teaching children’s literature at Victoria. Victoria is currently promoting itself as a “capital city university”, and one of the most important institutions in Wellington as is, needless to say, the National Library.


At the October Friends event we were delighted to host Dr Tatjana Schaefer of Victoria University’s English Programme. Tatjana gave a wonderfully lively and informative presentation on Alice in and out of Wonderland. In her introduction she said: “Alice is now 150 years old. Her creator, Lewis Carroll, had many strings to his bow: mathematician, poet, photographer, and (most controversially) child-worshipper. The inhabitants of Wonderland are equally varied and peculiar, as are the adventures Alice has with them. During her adventures Alice herself frequently changes in size and temper. And yet she is exactly the same at the end of the story as she was at the beginning.

5While Alice herself is incapable of significant change, the question “Who is Alice?” has created a multiplicity of metaphorical, psychological, contextual, and real-life Alices”.

In her talk Tatjama looked at “some of the Alices that were before she went in, and some of the Alices she has become since she has come out of Wonderland”.

From the time it was first published in 1865 Alice dominated Lewis Carroll’s life. Tatjana discussed how Carroll’s interest in young girls, including Alice Liddell the book’s namesake, was part of the contemporary cult of “purity and innocence” and it wasn’t until later that this focus was questioned. In the same way his photography was seen as technologically advanced and “artistic” and only later was viewed as inappropriate.

Tatjana outlined Lewis Carroll’s early life and influences – though very little is known about his first 11 years. She wished that we might know what he read as a child, but through a survey of the books available and popular when Lewis Carroll was young it is possible to see which might have influenced his writing. There were the books that gave information about the real world such as the Peter Parley series; tales of virtue from which the reader was supposed to learn something uplifting; and cautionary tales in which characters (and the reader) learn a lesson from something nasty happening.

Although Alice isn’t written in any of these genres, aspects of them are reflected in Carroll’s writing – often turning the expected outcomes upside down (sometimes literally!). The moral outcome one might expect won’t be found.

It took a long time for Alice to be treated as a literary text. Tatjana explored three particular “readings” of Carroll’s writing. William Empson gives a Freudian reading of the text in “The child as swain” (1935) – for instance he suggests Alice is born into Wonderland in a pool of tears that represent amniotic fluid. In a later reading James R Kincaid1 sees Alice as a disturbance in Wonderland, like the serpent in the Garden of Eden – Wonderland was peaceful until she tried to introduce logic and reason, ideas that don’t belong there.

Daniel Bivona2 argues that Alice is “the most impressive comic critique of British ethnocentrism in the age of imperialism”. Wonderland is a “foreign / exotic land” where things should work just as they do in Alice’s world (England). This cultural myopia is common and, like colonial settlers elsewhere, she assumes a dominant role, but is a stranger having to play by local rules while trying to impose her own.

Tatjana’s presentation was followed by some interesting questions from the audience. Corrina expressed the thoughts of the audience when she thanked Tatjana for an illuminating and entertaining talk.

1. James R Kincaid, “Alice’s invasion of Wonderland” PMLA 88 (January1973)
2. Daniel Bivona Desire and contradiction: imperial visions and domestic debates in Victorian literature (Manchester University Press, 1990)

Joan McCracken
FDNW Newsletter Editor
PS For some other interesting interpretations of Alice see Kevin Jackson’s A-Z of Alice in Wonderland published by the Independent http://tinyurl.com/AliceAZ


The British Library have an Alice in Wonderland exhibition that sounds like a “must see”.

Happy Birthday Alice! To celebrate 150 years of the publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, this exhibition explores how Alice has captured our imaginations for so many years. Although the story has been adapted, appropriated, re-imagined and re-illustrated since its conception, we are still enchanted by Carroll’s original, much loved story, which continues to inspire new generations of writers and illustrators.

Come and see Lewis Carroll’s original manuscript with hand-drawn illustrations, alongside stunning editions by Mervyn Peake, Ralph Steadman, Leonard Weisgard, Arthur Rackham, Salvador Dali and others.

There’s also an Alice in Wonderland pop-up shop in the British Library Entrance Hall, from 21 October 2015 until 31 January 2016.

This exhibition is supported by a generous legacy from David Bacon, who was a great friend and Patron of the Library. See more at: http://tinyurl.com/AliceatBL


It was noted at the annual general meeting that, although only about 20 had paid the current year’s subscription, we had over 80 addresses on our membership list. A number of these were libraries and bookshops that we want keep informed about the Friend’s activities, but that still left quite a few people we hadn’t heard from for a while. Consequently our treasurer, Jeff Hunt, has been emailing or writing to all of you on the contact list asking if you want to keep receiving the society’s publications and notifications of events, and encouraging the payment of subscriptions.

Thank you to everyone who has responded so far – we are delighted with the number of renewals we’ve received. We would still like to hear from you if you haven’t been in touch as yet. If you are able to provide an email address that certainly helps with event and subscription notification, though we will continue to post out the newsletter so we do also need a mailing address. Anyone we don’t hear back from by the end of December 2015 will be considered to have lapsed and be taken off the list.

From 2016-2017 we will ensure we send subscription reminders to match the financial year of 1 April to 31 March. This should help us all keep better records! To join or renew a subscription to the Friends use the membership form on this site.

If you want to contact the Society about subscriptions, contributions to the newsletter, or any other matters, please email friendsdnw@gmail.com or write to us at PO Box 12499, Thorndon, Wellington 6144


On 5 October 2015 it was our pleasure to host a tour by some of the children’s authors who had been attending the Tinderbox Conference for Children’s Writers and Illustrators. Our visitors had a tour of the reading room and visited the stacks to see the Dorothy Neal White Collection and the National Children’s Collection. They also spent some time looking a selection of material chosen to give them a taste of the collections, including various editions of Alice in Wonderland, examples of publisher’s bindings, Edwardian gift books, children’s annuals, and the ever-popular School Journal.

On 12 and 13 November I was very fortunate to be able to visit Dunedin to attend a symposium organised by the University of Otago Centre for the Book: A Sense of Wonder: reading, writing and illustrating children’s literature.

On the evening of 12 November Julia Marshall, founder of Gecko Press, gave a talk at Dunedin Public Library about “Creativity and Diversity in Children’s Publishing or … Picking a Good Book”. Gecko Press specialises in bringing translated children’s books to the English-language market, providing a valuable window into the wider world of children’s literature. Currently only around 2-3% of books published in English are translations. Gecko’s publishing output includes 15 translated books each year, which are distributed in the North American, UK, Australian and New Zealand markets.

Friday 13 November was symposium day, with a full programme of 15 speakers each giving a 20 minute presentation. Presentations were grouped into four sessions: Children’s literature and trauma, Fantasy in children’s literature, Children’s literature in the modern world, and Children’s literature in history.

It was certainly a diverse programme and it is very hard to pick favourites, but there were some particular highlights for me. Port Chalmers based illustrator David Elliot spoke about his fascination with Lewis Carroll’s poem The hunting of the snark and his work on the illustrations which accompanied the limited edition book, produced as part of the Printer in Residence Programme at the University of Otago Library. Nicola Daly, our most recent FDNW research scholar explained the development of the New Zealand Picture Book Collection and the New Zealand Pacific Picture Book Collection. Kay Hancock, currently studying at Victoria University, explored didacticism in the 1963 Ready to read instructional reading series, books that were groundbreaking at the time because they attempted to combine early reading materials with interesting stories using natural language. To round off the day Elaine Webster introduced some fascinating examples of the link between goodness of character and blonde hair in children’s literature illustration. [Editor’s note – for more about the Ready to read series see below.]

My own presentation came in the last session of the day and was entitled: “Special prize for gardening: School and Sunday school prizes in New Zealand during World War I – examples from the Dorothy Neal White Collection”. This built on some of the research I did for the exhibition A child’s war, when I first became aware that many schools gave up their prizes and instead donated the money to various war funds. However, some schools did still give out prizes, and I looked at why prizes were given, what books were chosen as prizes, and what they were about.

Related links
David Elliot’s Hunting of the snark: http://www.davidelliot.org/lewis-carroll/
New Zealand Picture Book Collection: http://www.picturebooks.co.nz/
NZ Pacific Picture Book Collection: http://www.pacificpicturebooks.co.nz/
1963 Ready to read books digitised by the NZETC:

Mary Skarott
Research Librarian, Children’s Literature


#6 Aesop’s Fables
This display ran from the start of June 2015 until 28 August 2015.

The fable is one of the oldest literary forms. The earliest known examples date back to around 3000 B.C. and the fables attributed to Aesop, a Greek slave, date from around 500 B.C.

Although originally intended for adults, Aesop’s fables have now established themselves firmly in the domain of children’s literature. They provide concise, entertaining stories with a moral lesson, and the presence of animals as the main protagonists in many of the tales adds to their enduring appeal.

6On  display were some examples dating from the late 19th and early 20th centuries with pictures by some of the prominent illustrators of the day. Randolph Caldecott chose to include contemporary social comment in his work, while Walter Crane’s elaborate illustrations were accompanied by the fables in the form of five-line limericks. Title pages by Charles Robinson and Arthur Rackham showed typical Art-Nouveau elements.

A page from The baby’s own Aesop, illustrated by Walter Crane. For more images see the related entry on the library’s Facebook page here: http://tinyurl.com/q972olw

The baby’s own Aesop has been digitised and you can read it at the International Children’s Digital Library website here: http://tinyurl.com/qx8hv43

Books included in the display:
Alfred Caldecott. The Caldecott Aesop: twenty fables: a facsimile of the 1883 edition. Illustrated by Randolph Caldecott. (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1978.)

Walter Crane. Baby’s own Aesop: being the fables condensed in rhyme, with portable morals pictorially pointed. (Tokyo: Holp Shuppan, 1981)
Facsimile edition reproduced from the Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books, Toronto Public Library. Originally published: London: George Routledge & Sons, 1887.

Aesop’s fables. Illustrated by Charles Robinson. (London: J. M. Dent, 1895)

V. S. Vernon Jones, Aesop’s fables: a new translation. Illustrated by Arthur Rackham.(London: Heinemann, 1912). 1967 reprint

Aesop’s fables. Illustrated by J. Wolf, J. B. Zwecker and T. Dalziel. (London: George Bell and Sons, 1898)

# 7 Victorian Children’s Annuals
This display commenced on 28 August and will run until early to mid December.

Children’s annuals were first published in the early nineteenth century and increased in popularity during the Victorian era. By the end of the nineteenth century most publishers produced an annual of some kind.

Annuals were produced at the end of the year, with the Christmas market in mind. Some were made up of a specially compiled selection of material, and others were bound volumes of weekly or monthly magazines that had been issued during the year. Examples of both types are on display. Their tone ranged from moral and religious to more adventurous and secular, and content included stories, poems, informative articles, letters from readers, puzzles and quizzes.

The image shows the title page from Peter Parley’s annual, 1882. The use of shocking pink really caught my eye when selecting the books for display. This issue has been digitised and can be viewed online here: http://dbooks.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/books/PDFs/555044039.pdf7

Books included in the display:
Peter Parley’s annual. (London: Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co.) 1882

Nister’s holiday annual. (London: Ernest Nister ; New York: E.P. Dutton & Co.) 1901

The prize. (London: Wells Gardner, Darton, & Co.) 1900, bound volume of monthly magazines

Aunt Judy’s annual volume. (London: George Bell & Sons) 1880, bound volume of Aunt Judy’s magazine, issued weekly

The children’s friend. (London: S.W. Partridge & Co.) 1899, bound volume of monthly magazines.

Mary Skarott
Research Librarian, Children’s Literature


The Library & Information Association of New Zealand made the following announcement recently.

Over the last 70 years the LIANZA Children and Young Adult Book Awards have celebrated excellence in children’s books in New Zealand. Starting with the Ester Glenn Award in 1945, the awards grew over the years to include awards for illustration, non-fiction and young adult.
Awarded annually, the LIANZA CBA’s were judged by experienced librarians who provided a unique and practical understanding of the qualities required of award-winning children’s books. Recently LIANZA was offered the opportunity to merge our awards with the equally prestigious New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. It wasn’t a decision that we took lightly considering how vital the awards have been to our legacy. After many weeks of deliberation, negotiation and discussion, we are pleased to announce that we have merged and we look forward to working with the New Zealand Book Awards Trust as well as the New Zealand Book Council during this transition.

Further details about the merger were sent to members

LIANZA will be gaining a permanent position on the New Zealand Book Awards Trust.  We will be putting out an EOI for our first representative in early December.

  • A librarian will always be included on the judging panel.
  • Te Rōpū Whakahau will remain the judges of the Te Kura Pounamu and will partner with the New Zealand Book Awards Trust to continue to deliver the Te Reo awards.
  • The Russell Clark award will be added to the prizes award by the New Zealand Book Awards Trust.
  • The names Esther Glen and Elsie Locke will be maintained.
  • The history of the LIANZA awards and their incorporation into the New Zealand Book Awards will be acknowledged on their website and also in the 2016 awards ceremony.
  • The New Zealand Book Awards Trust will continue to hold a separate ceremony for the Children and Young Adult awards.

If you want any further information on the 2016 awards, please contact Catriona Ferguson, the CEO of the New Zealand Book Council.

BOOK REVIEW – John Joe’s Tune (How New Zealand got its national Anthem) by Tania Atkinson

Tania Atkinson aka Tania Connelly has done it again. Another delightful children’s story, penned by Wairarapa author (and FDNW committee member), has brought to life a little known piece of folk history – the story of how we came to have the tune which accompanies the New Zealand National Anthem.

Only a couple of years ago Tania published the picture book Over the hill to Greytown which was well received by adults and children alike. In seemingly no time at all she has produced yet another, with an equally charming tale.

The story is told with a lovely rhyming verse, sure to appeal to children, and beautifully illustrated by Christine Ross, also a Wairarapa resident, who has also shown her talents in a number of books including the Dragon’s telephone by Margaret Mahy. Christine Ross has previously received the Unesco Noma Concours Award, the Russell Clark Award and the Aim Children’s Book Award.

9John Joe’s Tune tells the story of John Joseph Woods, nick-named John Joe for the purposes of this telling, who wrote the music to the poem written by Thomas Bracken for a competition. John Woods was a young school principal in Lawrence, Otago, when in 1876 he composed the anthem in response to a competition advertised in the Tuapeka Times. A dedicated Christian and talented musician, with a fine singing voice, he loved teaching others to sing, especially children. He was inspired to create a setting for the words of Thomas Bracken’s ‘National Hymn’ because of an ardent belief that the singing of an indigenous anthem would unite the diverse peoples living in New Zealand and make for harmony and peace. For his efforts he won the princely sum of ten pounds and ten shillings, which at the time was no small amount of money, and brought the tune to hundreds of thousands of people for generations past and present.

In Tania’s book we are taken into a warm farmhouse cottage where John Joe, surrounded by his animal friends, writes the music as he tests the notes on his piano. He works through the night to complete his work and delivers the letter by the early morning post. The way of living in times past is shown subtly by references such as these and the fine details in the illustrations.

One of the features which already characterises Tania’s books is the detail at the end. All of the original verses of the anthem in English and Maori are included, along with the music. In addition to this a history of the real John Joseph Woods explains the events which led to our National Anthem being created. Nothing is left out. The reader is presented with a beautiful children’s book with the added value of context, making it valuable both for pleasure and educational purposes.

Tania had long been interested in the story of Woods and the anthem. However, it was the current custom of singing the National Anthem in kindergartens and primary schools that prompted her to think of making it into a picture book. ‘The children sing God Defend New Zealand at their break-ups and assemblies and they love it!’ she says. ‘Many kids know the words in Maori as well as English and the teachers say it is not unusual to see groups of three year olds, with linked arms and hands on hearts, caroling away! I felt I wanted to write something that would familiarise youngsters with John Woods’s name and explain to them how this quirky tune had come about!’

John Joe’s Tune – How New Zealand got its National Anthem is published by Duck Creek Press, Auckland.

Corrina Gordon
Secretary, FDNW Committee


Get ready for a trip down memory lane as the Ready to Read books that many New Zealand children used to learn to read are now online.

The Ready to Read series was developed for students learning to read and was first published in 1963 by the School Publications Branch of the Department of Education. The series was ground-breaking in that it was the first attempt to provide early reading materials that were also interesting stories reflecting New Zealand children’s real lives and that used natural language.

The 1963 collection consisted of twelve “little books”, graded by colour (three books at each of four levels: red, yellow, blue, and green) and six longer anthologies.

The little books and the first two of the anthologies are available on the NZETC website at http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-corpus-readytoread.html.
Posted: 27 Oct 2015 12:30 PM PDT


In Newsletter 50 (November 2014) we began a series of articles by Barbara Robertson in which she shared her experiences travelling and discovering places where children’s literature is celebrated in institutions and in public art. We started by visiting Robert McCloskey’s ducklings and Louisa May Alcott’s house in Boston, and followed that with a trip to New York Public Library’s exhibition The abc of it – why children’s books matter. In part 2 we followed the literary plaques that lead to New York Public Library.
In the third part of this tour we return to New York to look at an astounding Lego display and then make several more literary connections.

If there are any readers of this newsletter who also have stories to tell involving children’s literature subjects discovered on their travels I would love to hear from you for future newsletters joan.mccracken@dia.govt.nz

1011Not children’s books but certainly a popular activity for children is the construction toy, Lego. In places like FAO Schwarz and the Lego shop at the Rockefeller Center in New York, as well as Hamleys and Harrods in London, not only can one buy sets of Lego, but there are enormous, intricate models made using millions of the tiny bricks. It was in FAO Schwarz that we first spotted Lego sets of Hobbit scenes and Lord of the Rings characters. There were also sets where you could build your own Sydney Opera House, Empire State Building, etc., etc. In the Rockefeller Center Lego shop there was a colourful dragon made of Lego bricks which was winding its way through the different floors of the shop; and a model of the Rockefeller Center had pride of place in the window.

Photographs show Lego displays at the Rockefeller Center in New York.

12As anyone who has ever been to New York with children, or even a memory of their own childhood, knows, Central Park is a must to visit the statuary of Alice in Wonderland. It is very difficult to photograph this much-loved feature due to the numerous children who are clambering all over the animals and Alice and posing for their parents and friends to take photographs.

Not so many visitors are aware of the Statue of Hans Christian Anderson which is a short distance south of Alice, but still one has to wait a little while in order to get a photo of this Danish author alone. This time I took time to actually read the book he is holding.

Photographs: Barbara & Neil Robertson

The Hans Christian Andersen sculpture – details from the Central Park website

Location: On raised plaza west of Conservatory Lake, East 74th Street and East Drive13
Sculptor: Georg John Lober
Architect: Otto F. Langmann (Bench)
Description: Seated figure (heroic scale) on bench, cygnet figure
Materials: Figures–bronze; Bench–Stony Creek pink granite (polished)
Dedicated: September 18, 1956
Foundry: Modern Art Foundry
Donor: Danish American Women’s Association



3) Hat brim, proper right: OTTO F. LANGMANN / -ARCHITECT- / GEORG J. LOBER / -SCULPTOR- / 1956 ©

4) Hem of coat, proper left rear: MODERN ART FDRY N.Y.
Please note, the NAME field includes a primary designation as well as alternate namings often in common or popular usage. The DEDICATED field refers to the most recent dedication, most often, but not necessarily the original dedication date. If the monument did not have a formal dedication, the year listed reflects the date of installation.

Also in New York we went to see the musical “Matilda”, based (loosely) on the book of the same name by Roald Dahl. It was very well done and the girl who played Matilda that night (three girls share the role) was excellent and so full of energy. Since returning to New Zealand I have read the Roald Dahl book and can see that various incidents in the book were cut from the stage show – it would be difficult to have Miss Trunchbull swing a child around by her plaits as if the girl were a throwing hammer, or even suspend a boy by his ears! But the tone of the original story was maintained. We did find the high-pitched children’s voices, with their American accents, a little hard to hear at times.

Photographs: Barbara & Neil Robertson

Barbara Robertson
FDNW Committee


Barbara Milburn

It is with sadness we record the death of long-time supporter of the Friends Barbara Milburn, on 27 September 2015. Our condolences go to her husband Jim and to their many friends.

The following obituary was written by Yvonne Airey and was published in the Hutt Leader Digital Edition on 11 November 2015. Yvonne was pupil of Barbara’s at Eastern Hutt School and became a life-long friend. She has kindly given permission for her obituary to be reprinted in the newsletter.

Teacher, publisher, Soroptimist, sportswoman, animal and book lover – with the passing of Silverstream’s Barbara Milburn the city has lost an energetic community person.15

Whether it be organising the sales and merchandising of books for Price Milburn Publishers, selling Soroptimist raffle tickets and sourcing wool for knitting for the newborns in Outer Mongolia or as a member then Patron of Upper Hutt Animal Rescue, Barbara would put her heart and soul into her efforts.

Her husband of nearly 60 years Jim Milburn remembers her as a kind, warm hearted and intelligent woman. They had met in their student days and Jim recalled her sporting prowess as a tennis representative, netballer of note and Hutt Valley Squash representative. He noted a love for rugby had been nurtured by her father, a rugby referee. After graduating from Wellington Teacher’s College, (she later returned as a lecturer for a time) Barbara (nee Little) taught at Eastern Hutt School (which she herself attended as a child), Naenae Intermediate, St Oran’s College, and St Patrick’s College. She was principal at Manor Park School before spending 25 years with Price Milburn publishers, founded in 1958.

What began as a dining-room table effort by two husband and wife teams, the Price’s, (Beverley and her late husband Hugh, MNZM), and their friends the Milburns, led to the establishment of Price Milburn, a respected and highly successful publisher of children’s books, until the 1980s, when the company was sold to an Australian publisher, then taken over by an American firm. Price Milburn books are translated into many languages and are read in many countries including Canada, Britain and Denmark, along with Australasia. It is estimated they had sales of over 200 million books.

Many long-time residents of the Hutt area will remember the Price Milburn bookshop –Bilbo’s Books- in Silverstream, opened in the 1970s/80s under the enthusiastic Barbara Milburn.The Milburn’s joint membership of the English Speaking Union fulfilled a desire for their love of words and joining Upper Hutt Soroptimists fulfilled her desire to make a difference for the better to the lives of women in the wider world, whether it be supporting self-help home industries in Asia and India or mothers and babies in Outer Mongolia.

For five years Barbara organised and gathered prizes for a huge annual Pub Quiz at the Cossie Club. She also organised and knitted All Black teddies for sale through the Silverstream Pharmacy for many years. The Soroptimist knitting groups which she managed also sent woollen goods to the New Zealand forces in Afghanistan for distribution to the local population. Together with fellow Soroptimists she ran a stall at the upper Hutt Spring Carnival from its inception.

Barbara’s love of cats was legendary and she came to also love her dogs, her latter day four-footed companions. She was generous in her support of animal welfare organisations. Alongside her husband Jim, Barbara was a great host and most recently gave three parties to celebrate Jim’s 90th birthday, such were their large number of friends. She loved films and the theatre and was generous in sharing the cornucopia of books in their extensive library, purpose-built into their Silverstream home under architect Jon Craig.

Barbara Milburn died peacefully on 27 September at Hutt Hospital and was farewelled at a service at St Mary’s Anglican Church on Friday 2 October. The huge turn-out of people representing many of the organisations so dear to her heart was a huge tribute to her enthusiasm and generous concern throughout her life for others.

William Taylor

William Taylor, ONZM, the ‘grand old man’ of New Zealand children’s publishing, acclaimed author of richly comic novels for children and powerful fiction for young adults, died 3 October 2015 in Taumaranui, aged 77.

16Kyle Mewburn, president of the New Zealand Society of Authors says, “Bill Taylor was undoubtedly an icon of New Zealand literature. Less well known is his enormous contribution to the wider literary community, including a stint as NZSA National President from 2001 to 2004. In 2009 he joined an illustrious group of writers appointed President of Honour. His advocacy for, and support of, all writers has left a lasting legacy.”

Taylor’s literary career began in early eighties, while he was mayor of Ohakune and a primary school principal. Six adult novels were published overseas, an apprenticeship, he always said, for his novels for children. During this period he also served six months with Volunteer Service Abroad in Bhutan.

Winning a Choysa Bursary in 1986 enabled him to become a full-time writer, producing a steady stream of books, one almost every year, until the last in 2010, a well-received memoir entitled Telling Tales: a Life in Writing.

Among his best known novels are the children’s classics Possum Perkins, The Worst Soccer Team Ever, Agnes the Sheep and Knitwits, while for young adults he produced ground-breaking novels exploring relationships between teenage boys, notably The Blue Lawn and Jerome. William Taylor’s novels won him multiple honours: Italy’s prestigious Premio Andersen Award, the inclusion of several novels in American Library Association and Germany’s International Youth Library’s “White Ravens” listings. He won a writers’ fellowship to the University of Iowa in 1996, and appeared at writers’ festivals in Melbourne and Chautauqua, New York State.

At home, his awards included the Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal for lifetime achievement and several Storylines Notable Books listings, the Esther Glen and AIM awards, as well as writers’ residencies at the Palmerston North Training Collage and later, the University of Otago.

In 2004 he was awarded an ONZM for services to literature and the community. Until very recently, he was chairman of the National Park Community Board.

Dr Libby Limbrick, chair of the Storylines Children’s Literature Trust, says, “From his warmly humorous books for younger readers, to his thought-provoking novels for adolescents, Bill’s contribution to literature for young people has been immense.”

Among author tributes, Joy Cowley writes, “We will miss his humour, his unfailing kindness, his courage, the books that could have been, but we are so grateful for the writings we have. Through his novels, future generations who never met him, will be glad to know him.”

Writer/illustrator Gavin Bishop, and a board member of the New Zealand Book Council, says, “For many years, Bill was an ardent supporter of the Book Council’s Writers in Schools scheme, visiting hundreds, if not thousands of schools throughout the country. His often challenging and beautifully crafted writing established a high benchmark for the younger writers who followed him. His substantial body of unforgettable work will ensure that William Taylor will never be forgotten.”

Author Janice Marriott remembers Bill as a mentor. “I’ll miss his wisdom. We both loved to put humour into children’s books, and we shared many laughs about our work and our lives.” Another long-time friend, author Tessa Duder, credits William Taylor as one of the emerging writers of the 1980s who, along with Margaret Mahy and Maurice Gee, raised New Zealand children’s fiction to a new level. “His was a unique comic voice, matched in New Zealand literature only by Mahy. Equally, he produced tough YA novels of unflinching realism, showing great sympathy for teenagers searching for a sense of self, often in terrible circumstances. As mentor of many creative writing students he was always generous and honest.”

William Taylor is survived by two sons, three grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Reproduced with kind permission of Fuseworks Media.
Published on Voxy Saturday 3 October 2015

Photograph from Booksellers NZ



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