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An Unhappy Prince In New Zealand

An Unhappy Prince In New Zealand


The prince receiving a very enthusiastic reception from school children in Parliament grounds, Wellington. Throughout the country the Government provided free public transport to school children so they could welcome the prince, and 100,000 union jacks. (photo credit: Alexander Turnbull Library)

Those interested in a largely forgotten but fascinating episode in New Zealand history might enjoy a lunchtime talk at the National Library next week. It is to be given by David Colquhoun, Curator of Manuscripts at the Alexander Turnbull Library

The talk is about the visit to New Zealand of the Prince of Wales in 1920. This was Edward, the heir to the throne at the time, who later achieved great notoriety in 1936, when he became king, then abidicated so that he could marry his divorced American girlfriend.

The tour in 1920 was a huge event. It was part of a series of world tours by the Prince, designed to strengthen support for the British Empire after the ravages of world war one. Nowhere was he more enthusiastically welcomed than in New Zealand.

Bill Massey’s conservative government only confirmed the visit a few months beforehand but from then on all the resources of the state were devoted to making the tour a success. Countless soldier presentations, children’s parades, civic balls, school visits, and parades were organised through nearly all the cities and towns between Auckland and Invercargill

It was all a bit much for the prince. Particularly as he was hopelessly in love at the time with a married women back in England, Lady Freda Dudley Ward. He sent her long letters nearly every day complaining about how we treated him.. He found many of our civic leaders unbearably pompous, bemoaned the lack of dancing ability among New Zealand women, and was embarrassed by having to wear cloaks at Maori ceremonies.

The tour was extensively written about, photographed and filmed at the time. The talk will feature film of the tour from the New Zealand Film Archive, include excerpts from the Prince’s letters, as well as showing photographs of the time.

David Colquhoun said “It is a fascinating story, and an entertaining one. But it also provides an insight into what New Zealand society was like in the years immediately after the first world war. The event is held in association with the major exhibition at the National Library Gallery – “Welcome Sweet Peace: Returning Home after the Great War”.

When and where: “Returned soldiers & shrieking crowds & school children are all I will remember. An illustrated talk by David Colquhoun of the Alexander Turnbull Library, with support from the New Zealand Film Archive. National Library auditorium, 12.10pm. 26 February.

Caption: The prince receiving a very enthusiastic reception from school children in Parliament grounds, Wellington. Throughout the country the Government provided free public transport to school children so they could welcome the prince, and 100,000 union jacks. (photo credit: Alexander Turnbull Library)

ENDS

Events At The National Library Gallery

Welcome Sweet Peace
Returning home after the Great War

Collecting Pandemonium: John Milton in the Alexander Turnbull Library

Leo Bensemann: the Fantastica drawings

2 December 2008 to 14 March 2009

LUNCHTIME EVENTS

Guided tour of Collecting Pandemonium: John Milton in the Alexander Turnbull Library by Brian Opie, School of English, Film, Theatre and Media Studies, Victoria University of Wellington.
Monday 8 December, Gallery, 12.10pm

Guided tour of Leo Bensemann: the Fantastica drawings by exhibition curator Aaron Lister.
Thursday 11 December, Gallery, 12.10pm

Guided tour of Welcome Sweet Peace: returning home after the Great War by exhibition curator Andrew Francis.
Thursday 18 December, Gallery, 12.10pm

In the Shadow of War: New Zealand soldiers on arriving home and the aftermath of World War One
An illustrated talk by Nicholas Boyack and Jane Tolerton, producers of the oral history book In the Shadow of War: New Zealand soldiers talk about World War One and their lives, published by Penguin Books (NZ) Ltd, 1990. Nicholas and Jane recorded more than 90 interviews with World War One veterans during 1988-90 for the World War One Oral History Archive.These recordings are now held in the Oral History Centre of the Alexander Turnbull Library. Nicholas Boyack is a reporter at the Hutt News and Jane Tolerton is a writer at Te Ara – Encyclopedia of New Zealand.
Thursday 12 February, Auditorium, 12.10pm

Guided tour of Leo Bensemann: the Fantastica drawings by exhibition curator Aaron Lister.
Thursday 19 February, Gallery, 12.10pm


‘A rotten way to see a fine country... Returned soldiers & shrieking crowds & school children are all I shall remember...’ The Prince of Wales' 1920 tour of New Zealand
An illustrated talk by David Colquhoun, curator of Manuscripts at the Alexander Turnbull Library, with support from the New Zealand Film Archive.

In the aftermath of World War I, Edward, Prince of Wales, was sent on a world tour of the Empire. Few places welcomed him as rapturously as New Zealand, and few visitors have been so unimpressed. This talk tells the story. Footage from the New Zealand Film Archive Ngā Kaitiaki O Ngā Taonga Whitiāhua will support the talk.
Thursday 26 February, Auditorium, 12.10pm
(Film Archive logo here)

Guided tour of Welcome Sweet Peace: returning home after the Great War by exhibition curator Andrew Francis.
Thursday 12 March, Gallery, 12.10pm

FREE EVENING EVENTS

Reading Him Now
A keynote address by John Rumrich, Thaman Professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin. Professor Rumrich is the author of Matter of Glory: a new preface to Paradise Lost and Milton Unbound: controversy and reinterpretation, and is one of the three editors of The Complete Poetry and Essential Prose of John Milton. (This event is being held in association with a seminar organised by the Friends of the Turnbull Library on the following day entitled ‘Miltonic Origins/Miltonic Innovations: Milton’s poetry and thought in New World societies and cultures’. Full information is available at www.turnbullfriends.org.nz/)
Friday 5 December, Auditorium, 6.00pm

Fantastica as a Graphic Novel: fact or fantasy?

An illustrated talk by Peter Simpson, Director of The Holloway Press and formerly Associate Professor and Head of English at The University of Auckland. Dr Simpson has studied Bensemann’s art for more than 25 years and is the editor of two volumes of his graphic art: Fantastica: thirteen drawings (2nd edition, Holloway Press, 1997) and Engravings on Wood (Holloway Press, 2004). He is currently writing a monograph about Bensemann and is co-curating a retrospective exhibition of his work to be shown at the Christchurch Art Gallery in 2010. This talk will explore the subtle interconnections between the drawings (and their literary sources) in Bensemann’s Fantastica and argue for the presence in the book of a buried and encoded narrative.

Thursday 19 February, Main Foyer and Auditorium, 5.30pm
Light refreshments will be served in the Main Foyer of the Library at 5.30pm, followed by Peter’s talk at 6.00pm.

Gallery Hours
Weekdays 9am-5pm
Saturday 9am-1pm
Closed Sunday
Molesworth Street, Wellington
Phone: 04 474 3000
www.natlib.govt.nz

Please check the entertainment section of Wednesday’s and Friday’s Dominion Post for confirmation of events.

Welcome Sweet Peace

The Armistice of 11 November 1918 brought to a close four years of fighting in which thousands of New Zealanders served with distinction in various theatres of conflict. The Armistice was cause for great celebration and considerable relief in New Zealand as elsewhere. The euphoric post-war celebrations were tempered, however, by the devastating influenza pandemic that left 8,600 dead, concerns over repatriation and rehabilitation of servicemen and women, and the uncertainties of a post-war society.

Welcome Sweet Peace brings together an array of material from the collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library that commemorate and celebrate the end of hostilities, and chart the dramatic transformation of the New Zealand home front during and after the Great War.

This exhibition is part of the government’s Coming Home, Te Hokinga Mai initiative. Please also visit An Impressive Silence: public memory and personal experience of the Great War at Archives New Zealand, Mulgrave Street, Thorndon, between 11 November 2008 and 29 May 2009. For further information on Coming Home, Te Hokinga Mai activities see NZLive.com

Collecting Pandemonium: John Milton in the Alexander Turnbull Library

The Alexander Turnbull Library holds one of the world’s best collections of Milton and ‘Miltoniana’, largely due to Library founder Alexander Horsburgh Turnbull and his visionary commitment to establishing a Milton collection in Wellington. This exhibition showcases Alexander Turnbull's collecting of Milton, and the Library's ongoing commitment to expanding and enhancing this rich inheritance.


Leo Bensemann: the Fantastica drawings

First published by the Caxton Press in 1937, Leo Bensemann's Fantastica: 13 drawings is a technical and artistic marvel. This exhibition brings together the complete set of 13 drawings for the first time. Bensemann’s intense, hypnotic drawings are rich with artistic and literary allusions, the latter stretching from Japanese folktales to the Brothers Grimm to Doctor Faustus. Don’t miss this opportunity to immerse yourself in the wondrous visions of one of this country’s most intriguing artists.

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