Monday, November 05, 2012

Secrets & Treasures: Our Stories Told Through the Objects at Archives New Zealand

Bizarre objects jostle with extremely significant ones in the almost 100 kilometres of holdings in Archives New Zealand, the official guardian of the record of government. The thousands of boxes contain all sorts of treasures and secrets, dating from our earliest days of settlement right through to today.
Intriguing items held include early historical artefacts, such as a rare letter written by Captain Cook, more than one Treaty of Waitangi sheet and the battle-worn flag of the warrior prophet Te Kooti; poignant letters written to David Lange from New Zealand children and a letter from Florence Nightingale to a New Zealand nurse; records of secret weapons; exotic gifts to our Prime Ministers; grisly exhibits from murder trials; even sightings of UFOs.
Now the story of these objects is gathered together for the first time in compelling book form. Secrets & Treasures tells the story of New Zealand and New Zealanders — through the things that mattered to us and were important enough to be stored and kept for posterity.

Detailing a cornucopia of unexpected objects, curious ephemera and the slightly bizarre, Secrets & Treasures is New Zealand’s story — at times familiar, such as the Mt Erebus crash, for which cockpit voice recordings are held, at other times unfamiliar, even state secrets, like the ‘Tsunami bomb’. There are objects which tell a light-hearted story, including the one-off law passed to protect the dolphin Pelorus Jack, and those which capture significant moments in New Zealand society, such as the huge scroll of the petition calling for women’s suffrage.
This book delves into the archives to tell a very human story of New Zealand, a story that involves love, death, war, immigration, disaster, protest, defiance, censorship and hokey pokey.

About the author
Ray Waru has been involved in the television and radio industries for more than 30 years. He joined Television New Zealand in 1977 and directed and produced such local favourites as Fair Go and Country Calendar. In 1980 he established the first dedicated Maori television production unit in TVNZ which created a stream of primetime Maori and Pacifica series and documentaries. In 1989 he was appointed chief executive of the Aotearoa Maori Radio Trust and established a network of Maori radio stations throughout the country. In recent years he has produced documentary projects on many subjects and worked with a diverse range of people including Alan Duff and Kiri Te Kanawa. In 2000, Waru co-produced the six-part history documentary series Our People, Our Century, which won Best Factual Series at the New Zealand Television Awards and in 2005 made the 13-part history of New Zealand, Frontier of Dreams, which won awards at the Houston International Film Festival and the US International Film and Video Festival. 
This is his first book.

Secrets & Treasures
Ray Waru
RRP: $59.00
Ranmdom House NZ

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