Sir George Grey Special Collections

Researcher in residence scholarship

A 19th-century Indian Qu'ran.  The Auckland Library Heritage Trust is pleased to announce the award of an annual scholarship of $1000 to assist with scholarly research and promotion of the material held in the Libraries' special collections. 

Every year, the Trust will award $1000 to a research scholar with a particular interest in the collections of Auckland Libraries given by Sir George Grey and added to by others in the decades since.

The award is open to overseas visitors to New Zealand, as well as to New Zealand citizens and residents.


Previous winners

The successful recipient will receive a grant of NZ$1000.

Previous winners 


  • Dr Aleisha Ward - research into the Jazz Age in Auckland.


  • Ross Calman - biography of Te Rauparaha

  • Dr Mark Bland - early English printed books


  • Dr Zain Ali and Dr Clare Wilde - Arabic, Persian and Turkish manuscripts
  • Dr Geoff Kemp - Cromwell papers (catalogued as the Thurloe papers) 


  • Dr Lawrence Marceau - Japanese illustrated woodblock printed books
  • Vanessa York - Early printed herbals
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History and background

The heart of the Sir George Grey Special Collections is the private library and letters donated to the citizens of Auckland between 1883 and 1894 by Sir George Grey (1812-98), who during his long career as a colonial administrator was Governor, Member of Parliament and Premier of New Zealand, as well as Governor of South Australia and of Cape Colony. Thanks to the generous contributions of subsequent benefactors, and timely acquisitions by the Library, the richly diverse special collections now named in honour of Grey are one of the three major heritage collections in New Zealand.

As well as rare and historic books and documents, the collections include maps, photographs, sketches, drawings, oral history and musical recordings, sheet music, and a host of ephemeral items, many relating to the performing arts. Performing arts also figure prominently in the papers and records of individuals and organisations collected in recent years by the Library, and so too do the activities of social and environmental action groups in the Auckland region.

Although one of the primary strengths of the collections is their bearing on all aspects of New Zealand history and culture from pre-1840 to the present day, with particular emphasis on the Auckland region, the wide-ranging interests of Sir George and subsequent benefactors are also well represented.

Rare books in the collections range in date from 1468 to contemporary fine printing and artists’ books. They also range widely across different subject areas such as literature, language, science, art, travel and the history of printing and illustration. A significant number are printed in Maori. The Colson Collection of children’s literature contains both international and New Zealand texts, and includes items dating back to the beginnings of children’s literature.

The books donated by Grey included medieval manuscripts (both European and Eastern), incunabula, and first editions of Shakespeare, Blake and Wordsworth. His network of correspondents included Charles Darwin and Florence Nightingale. More recent donations include the Reed Dumas Collection (the most extensive collection of material relating to Dumas held outside France), and two collections donated by John Stacpoole in 2005, one devoted to Anthony Powell and the other to Irish history and literature.


Terms and conditions

The successful applicant will be expected to agree to publicity in relation to the grant, and to provide a full written account of the project when it has been completed, for inclusion in one of Auckland Libraries' online publications.

The successful applicant may be asked to give a public lecture at Auckland Libraries. Any subsequent publication relating to the project undertaken by the successful applicant should acknowledge the award of an Auckland Library Heritage Trust Scholarship.


Form of application

Applications should be made in writing to:

The Chair of the Auckland Library Heritage Trust, c/o Auckland Libraries, Private Bag 92300, Auckland 1142.

Applications should include:

  • A specific indication of the material the applicant wishes to use
  • A brief account of the project to be undertaken
  • A brief CV
  • The names of two referees, who may be asked to confirm that the applicant has the necessary background to complete and present the project satisfactorily.

Applications for 2017/18 close on 6 June 2017.



To encourage research based on material held in the Sir George Grey Special Collections. Applications proposing the reproduction of collections of documents or the production of major guides to collections will also be considered.



Selection will be based on the experience and qualifications of the applicant, and the merit of the project. The selection panel comprises the Chair of the Auckland Library Heritage Trust, the Library Manager (or nominee) and one or more members of the Board with expertise in the relevant area(s).

Pictured above: A 19th-century Indian Qu'ran from Sir George Grey Special Collections, which features in the research of Dr Zain Ali (2014/15 scholar).


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