Hikoi remembering Alexander Turnbull — 1918–2018

28 June 2018: Hikoi remembering Alexander Turnbull – 1918-2018

9.30am – 10.30am, Thursday 28 June

Begins at the National Library of New Zealand’s front entrance

Staff and friends of the Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand and Archives New Zealand will walk a memorial hikoi on Thursday 28 June, marking 100 years since Alexander Turnbull's death and the gift of his library to the people of New Zealand.

Members of the public are welcome to join in, as they walk from the National Library to Parliament, and from there to the Turnbull family headstone at Bolton Street Cemetery, and back to Turnbull House on Bowen Street. Memorial wreaths will be laid along the way. The hikoi is expected to take up to an hour, at an easy walk.

Turnbull, 'the handsome dandy' as he is affectionately nicknamed by Library staff, was an avid collector, who, on his death at the age of 49 on 28 June 1918, left his library to the people of New Zealand. The scale of his bequest was unprecedented at the time it was made - the collection included more than 55,000 books, along with thousands of original artworks, prints and maps.

The gift formed the foundation of what is today known as the Alexander Turnbull Library, and forms a significant part of the National Library of New Zealand. The original Library was housed in Turnbull House on Bowen Street – one of the stops along the hikoi – and two years after his death on 28 June 1920, it was opened to the public as a national reference and research library.

Over the past 100 years, the collection has grown significantly, and now includes many items that Turnbull could never have even imagined. Music recordings, oral histories, cartoons, digital photographs and websites are as integral to the collections as books, newspapers and artworks. Even Katherine Mansfield’s ponytail has a place in the archives.

Together, the collections are still faithful to Turnbull’s early vision, of 'anything whatever relating to this Colony, on its history, flora, fauna, geology and inhabitants, will be fish for my net, from as early a date as possible until now'.

Route of the Alexander Turnbull memorial hikoi

Thursday 28 June, 9:30am to 10:30am — All welcome

Time Stop Location What's happening
9:30am National Library of New Zealand front entrance Corner Molesworth and Aitken Street Pūtātara sounds, hikoi begins
9:40am Stop 1: Parliament Steps by Seddon statue Speaker: John Sullivan, Curatorial Services Leader, Alexander Turnbull Library
9:45am Stop 2: View Turnbull House From Parliament Grounds
9:50am Stop 3: Alexander Turnbull's headstone Bolton St Cemetery Speaker: Bill Kaua, Karakia, wreath laid by Friends of the Turnbull Library, hymn: Whakaari mai
10:00am Stop 4: Memorial Garden. Progress out through Bolton St entrance to cemetery, sharp left along road past Ministry of Education Memorial Garden, resting place of Turnbull family Speaker: Kate Fortune, Friends of the Turnbull Library, wreath laid by Alexander Turnbull Library staff
10:10am Stop 5: Turnbull House (note: building is not currently open to the public) Bowen Street Hikoi concludes Speaker: Nicola Jackson, Heritage New Zealand, wreath laid by Heritage NZ, waiata: Te Aroha

For more information

Remembrance walk

Alexander Turnbull Library centenary

Attached — image of Alexander Turnbull

Photo Credit Alexander Turnbull Library collections

Media contact interview requests welcome

+64 27 535 8639


Picture of Alexander Turnbull
Photo of Alexander Turnbull by William Kinsey Ref PA7-14-35 Photo credit: Alexander Turnbull Library collections