Monday, July 15, 2024

International honour for historic Auckland papers collection

Auckland Council Libraries staff say they are delighted to have the locally-held Clendon Papers added to the UNESCO Memory of the World Register.

The Clendon Papers comprise the papers, photographs and correspondence of the Clendon family and are jointly held by the Auckland Council Libraries Heritage Collections and Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga.

Kirsty Webb, Auckland Council’s Principal Curator for Archives and Manuscripts worked on the submission to the UNESCO Memory of the World Register with colleagues from Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga and feels the addition of the Clendon Papers highlights the historical importance of the collection.

“The collection gives us an insight into the beginnings of Aotearoa New Zealand. Not only is there an early translation of the English version of the Treaty of Waitangi into Te Reo, but there is also correspondence that dates to the 1830s when the Clendon family settled in the Bay of Islands,” she said.

“This collection will continue to help historians, both local and international, well into the future.”

Manuscript map and sketch of property at Okiato, Bay of Islands. 1833. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, NZMS 849/1/8; Map 5449.

The Clendon papers include personal, business and official correspondence and papers, letterbooks, registers, journals, memoir, ephemera, photographs and inscribed books. Some material is in te reo Māori, including letters, land leases and a manuscript copy of the Treaty of Waitangi in Māori.

From the 1830s to the 1850s they show the importance of family and financial links with England, Australia, and the United States for the early traders. The development of government in New Zealand is seen through James Reddy Clendon’s sale of land at Okiato, his part in the Northern War and his lifelong administrative roles.

Thereafter the papers reflect the changing bi-lingual, bi-racial society of the Hokianga through the Clendon family’s correspondence, business and leisure affairs and their administrative roles in government.

Chair of Auckland Council’s Planning, Environment and Parks Committee, Councillor Richard Hills says the addition of the Clendon Papers highlights the important work the Heritage Collections team does.

“I am personally thrilled to see such an important collection being added to the Memories of the World Register. It is an honour for this national taonga to be held by our Heritage Collections team and they do a magnificent job ensuring these are preserved but also available for the public to view,” he said.

Auckland Council Libraries have online records for the Clendon Papers as part of their Kura Heritage Collections Online platform, meaning some of the items can be accessed from home. For more detailed use of the items, researchers will need to visit the Special Collections Reading Room at the Central City Library or Clendon House in Rawene.

The Clendon Papers are the seventh addition to the UNESCO Memory of the World Register held by Auckland Council Libraries. The others are the Grey New Zealand Māori Manuscripts (added to the register in 2011); God Defend New Zealand original score and lyrics (2013); the John A Lee Papers (2017); the JT Diamond West Auckland History Collection (2018); the CP Dawes collection (2019);  and the Richard Davis Meteorological Records (2019).

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