Archive for March 2013

2013 Trans Tasman ANZAC Day Blog Challenge


Easter Weekend brings with it the beginning of April, which also means that ANZAC Day is drawing ever nearer.

This is the day, that is a national day of remembrance for Australian and New Zealanders who died during armed conflict.

Do you have a story to share about an ANZAC? We'd like to hear about not only their sacrifice, but the way it shaped their family history. Maybe you want to blog from the perspective of those that were left behind?

Your story doesn't have to involve a serviceperson who lost their lives - during times of war, all sorts of loss unfortunately are experienced. 

And you can write about those who served in other wars.

To participate:
  • Write a blog post about an Australian or New Zealander serviceman or woman's family, and the impact war had on their family history
  • Post a comment with the URL to your blog on the comments section of this page. Or if you don't have a blog then email us your story at
  • Publish your post by 25 April 2013.
After ANZAC Day, all submissions will be listed in a summary posting on Auckland Libraries' Kintalk blog.

Just to get you started, recommended resources for New Zealand and Australian research, see the Auckland Libraries Digital Resources. 

Access great online resources: 
Coming Home virtual exhibition 
The virtual exhibition consists of "albums" containing photos/images and documents. Virtual albums entitled "Gallipoli", "Lest We Forget", "New Zealand Maori Battalion", "Peace", "Postcards" and "Returned Services Association". Also has a portal for searching content nationwide from organizations such as libraries, archives, museums and galleries, including Auckland Libraries. Courtesy DigitalNZ. 
Index Auckland and New Zealand Card Index 
For references to articles and other resources regarding WWI and WWII. 
Manuscripts Online 
For diaries, letters, postcards and albums
And Papers Past 

Within the library catalogue: Auckland Libraries, search using World War, 1914-1918 or World War, 1939-1945 to find suitable resources. 

Searching using WWI or WWII etc will return you wonderful results of holdings throughout the whole of Auckland Libraries, which you can narrow down by location by using the "select location" dropdown menu on the right of screen. For example, available in all four Research Centres:- Central, South (Manukau) and West (Waitakere) and North (Takapuna) are gems such as:

and you'll also find Australian resources in the Central Auckland Research Centre; for example:
For other sites, try looking at:
Helen Vail's blog 100 NZ WW1 Memorials 1914-2014 is a mine of information about WW1 memorials, and individuals that she has researched. Helen's goal is to personally visit and collate information from 100 New Zealand World War One Memorials throughout New Zealand by August 2014 to commemorate the 100 year Anniversary of the start of World War One and to honour those who paid the ultimate price.
Here's last year's contributions and 2011's summary and blog responses to get you started!
Hopefully this will inspire you and provide you with some assistance in writing your blog!

The centenary of the First World War - 2014-2018
While thinking about your blog, remember that 2014 marks the centenary of the beginning of the First World War. 
The Ministry of Culture and Heritage is developing projects to assist with commemorations for next year, WW100 is providing a portal for New Zealanders who want to be involved in the commemorations, and NZ History Online provides a place for our school children to go to for homework and study assistance.
You may already have read about the launch of New Zealand's WW100 on our sister blog Heritage et AL .
Its worth considering how else you might want to contribute to commemorating, and ensuring that your stories are collected.

Each country will have its own WW100 commemorations, so if your ancestor was involved serving for another country, see what you can find out that country is doing.

FindMyPastAU and Inside History magazine have a joint initiative to create an ANZAC Memory Bank  and invite people to register to be notified of when the site goes live.

Blog away

Social history is about the stories - Dominion Road stories

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I often talk to people about how to begin family history research.

Part of family history research is interviewing family members to get their stories as well as the "facts". I recommend that people record these stories to keep with their research.

I often tell people that genealogy plus stories equals family history.

Recording interviews and people's stories is also called "Oral History". There is something quite special about hearing that person's voice in years to come. A voice can add so much more to the story, than the written word.

Oral histories are recorded to capture a community's history - what was life like in your town at that time? or to capture an event such as memories of a War.

This weekend, Auckland Libraries' is running the Dominion Road Stories at the Mt Eden War Memorial Hall. Its going to be heaps of fun!

Storytellers are invited to share and record their memories and stories of Dominion Road with our friendly team of oral historians. Anyone can be a storyteller.

Relax and enjoy Dominion Road stories, a short film by AUT University students, check out the poster exhibition of Dominion Road shopkeepers, and travel down memory lane through a collection of heritage photos of the area.

So come along and join in on this free community event! Read more about it here.

For enquiries and bookings to have your story recorded, please email or phone Oral Historian Sue Berman at Auckland Libraries on 09 440 7056.


Tombstone Tuesday: Eliza Anne Larkin and John Russell Larkin, St Mark's Cemetery

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Heritage Images database
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-RIC256

Showing the grave and tombstone of Eliza Anne Larkins and John Russell Larkins in St Mark's Cemetery, Remuera.

The inscription reads:

In loving memory of Eliza Anne the beloved wife of Frederick Larkins of this parish who fell asleep in Jesus September 14 1885. Until the day break and the shadows flee away.

Also of John Russell Larkin beloved and only son of Frederick and Eliza Anne Larkins who died May 31st 1886 aged 20 years.

'Thou gavest him a long life even for ever and ever'

Military Monday: First World War Pasifika graves

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O’Neill’s Point Cemetery, Bayswater, Auckland

From 1915, a number of recruits from the Pacific trained at Narrow Neck Camp in Devonport before being shipped to the battlefront. The Third Maori Contingent included 50 from the Cook Islands along with 153 Niueans, Tahitians, 15 Fijians, Gilbert and Ellis Islanders (now Kiribati) and Western Samoans. However, of the Niueans only 140 completed their training at Narrow Neck Camp and were sent to Egypt – 12 were discharged back to Niue due to illness and one, Private Vilipate, died at Narrow Neck Camp on 25 December 1915 and was buried in the O'Neill’s Point Cemetery. The Third Contingent sailed on 5 February 1916.

Showing exterior view of church at O'Neills Point Cemetery,
surrounded by gravestones
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-6273
Heritage Images
Two more Niuean soldiers and one Cook Island soldier were buried in that cemetery during the training of more Contingents in 1916. A returning Cook Island solider, Sergeant Beni Banaba was buried there as well in 1917, having served in Egypt and Palestine.

The influenza epidemic of late 1918 hit Narrow Neck Camp particularly hard, and at one stage in early October 1918 there were 226 cases of influenza at the Camp. Ultimately 21 either died in the Camp or in the nearby Barracks and all but one were buried in the O'Neill’s Point Cemetery, including three from Kiribati, one from Fiji and one from the Cook Islands.

In 1919, another Fijian soldier and two Cook Island soldiers were buried in O’Neill’s Point Cemetery, from Auckland Hospital. They were returning home in the troopships.

Visiting O'Neill’s Point Cemetery today, you can see the well-tended and orderly graves of Pasifika soldiers buried there, most with New Zealand Expeditionary or Defence Force emblems on their graves.

David Verran