Latest additions reviewed by the office of the City of Literature
Railways Studios: How a Government Design Studio Helped Build New Zealand. Peter Alsop, Neill Atkinson, Katherine Milburn and Richard Wolfe
For many decades the Railways Department's design studios, Railways Studio, was New Zealand's 'go-to' advertiser. Its tourism and product ads appear on railway-station hoardings and billboards throughout the country, and it developed some of New Zealand's most iconic graphic images. This big, beautiful book brings this treasure trove of design together for the first time. The agency worked beyond transit and tourism taking on a breadth of commercial and retail projects—their work dominating Aotearoa outdoor advertising from 1920 through 1987. The studio’s outputs ranged from posters to billboards, editorial publications and brochures.
The pictorial descriptions of life in Aotearoa towns and the remarkable landscape each ‘destination’ offers are one of the things that make the Railways graphic work so iconic and so quintessential to the visual vocabulary of our country. Significant not only in terms of advertising the country’s rail network and scenery, the investment from Government in backing commercial art provides the reader with a fascinating insight into our rail history.
This book contains an especially comprehensive written account about the creation of the Studios, and offers real insight into why and how this operation was so successful over many decades. Rich in content including wonderful memorabilia, artefacts, and the most glorious examples of advertorial art created in the last 100 years, Dunedin residents can be especially proud as many materials were sourced from our own Hocken Collections!
Life and Times, Images from the Otago Daily Times Collection
A fine book created by the Otago Daily Times giving a remarkable insight into the lives and times of generations of people in Otago and the South. Including images from the early pioneering days and capturing many events and people who have shaped our region. A thoroughly enjoyable time to be had here browsing the wonderful pictorial histories accompanied by concise explanatory texts, this book is sure to be popular for years to come.
The foreword written by Barry Stewart, Editor of the Otago Daily Times, also gives a brief history of how many of the early photographs in the book were taken and developed, and highlights some of the dangers early processes bought with them. A fascinating history of journalistic photography and the great advances in technology in a relatively short period of time is explained.
Beautifully produced – this book creates a wonderful feeling of nostalgia. Enjoy!
Gaps in the Light. Iona Winter
Wonderful writing is on show in this collection of prose and verse by our own Iona Winter. Filled with raw emotion Iona displays a real gift in describing emotions in the world she lives in. The natural environment plays a key role often present as a point of balance or soothing entity during times of deep trauma or just plain anger. Filled with relatable scenarios this book is one that will resonate with many readers. I read Iona’s book from cover to cover and was hooked by the way disappointments, moods, doubts and difficult times combined with ultimate strength and determination were expressed within these pages. Highly recommended.
See also...news of an exciting new podcast with readings by the author of Gaps in the Light
Ngā Kete Mātauranga:
Māori Scholars at the Research Interface
In this publication of firsts, 24 Māori preeminent scholars bravely share their personal journeys, revealing what being Māori has meant for them in their academic careers. Their perspectives provide insight for all New Zealanders into how mātauranga knowledge – is positively influencing the Western-dominated learning disciplines.Each chapter of this book is devoted to one scholar and we get to learn of their kaupapa, what it was like for them growing up and what events led to a passion for their chosen field of academia. This provides us with a fascinating history of each person but also a broader social history of Aotearoa. Everything is on offer here, the arts, the environment, medicine, communities, health and well-being.
Beautifully produced by Otago University Press, we are given examples of howa Māori or indigenous world view that prioritises interconnections and recognises how we treat the environment and how we treat each other, are linked.
Valuable insights into the difficulties Māori have faced breaking into the academic world and the determination to continue this fight for future generations is a theme that is repeated throughout the book. The book is a personal and valuable record of the struggles Māori scholars have faced in the past while celebrating so many successes achieved to date. Rewarding and informative reading.