Auckland Council Libraries: Auckland Library Heritage Trust

Auckland Library Heritage Trust

Help the Auckland Library Heritage Trust to support Auckland Libraries and Auckland Council to preserve, care for, add to, and promote the Sir George Grey Special Collections for the benefit of the people of Auckland.

Auckland Libraries Heritage Trust logo. This charitable trust is independent of Auckland Council. The Trust receives donations to help strengthen the library’s heritage collections.

These renowned collections provide us with a sense of Auckland’s identity and intellectual heritage.

The collections include heritage manuscripts, photographs, maps, books, letters and other documents, many of which are of particular rarity and value.

View more Auckland Library Heritage Trust collection items on the Auckland Libraries Instagram , read more on the Heritage et AL blog  or listen to our Real Gold podcast series on SoundCloud . You can also visit featured collections in person at the Heritage Collections Reading Room.

  • David Simcock (Chair)
  • Greg Morgan (Secretary)
  • Judith Bassett
  • Linda Bryder
  • Colin Davis
  • Ali Ikram.
Trustees’ expertise includes governance, law, rare books, history, medieval manuscripts, heritage music, historic places, art, media, communications and social history.

The Trust acknowledges the passing of two former trustees in 2021: Max Cryer and Christopher Parr. 

Max Cryer served as a trustee for 12 years until 2020. He was an expert witness for Auckland Libraries’ successful application to inscribe the lyrics and score of ‘God Defend New Zealand’ on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register. Max gave many talks at the Central City Library and was a champion of the Library’s Heritage Concerts series. 

Christopher Parr was a founding member of the Trust, and Chair for 17 years until 2008, bringing his expertise as a trust lawyer, his strong interest in early New Zealand literature and documentary heritage and his networking skills to great value for the Trust until his retirement in 2017. 

In 2022 Mac Jackson, Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Auckland, retired after 11 years on the Trust, and Dinah Holman QSO, author and historian, retired after 25 years on the Trust.

Development of the collections

The Trust has attracted several donations and bequests, including rare manuscripts and books.

The Trust has also funded a number of significant projects. These include:
  • digitising and preserving 4500 First World War photographs of soldiers, many posing with their families 
  • microfilming the first 3400 issues of The New Zealand Woman’s Weekly, from 1932 to the 1960s
  • obtaining funds for cataloguing the Reed-Dumas collection through a joint venture between the Government of France, the former Auckland City Council and the Trust. This is the most extensive collection of material relating to Dumas outside France.

Auckland Library Heritage Trust scholarship

The scholarship is funded by the Trust and is awarded annually to research scholars who have a particular interest in items in the Sir George Grey Special Collections. The scholarship seeks to:
  • raise the profile of the Sir George Grey Special Collections
  • encourage scholarly research based on material held in the collections.
The scholarship is open to overseas applicants as well as New Zealand citizens.

2020/2021 scholarship winner

Mary Kisler

Mary Kisler

Mary's research will culminate in a biography of James Tannock Mackelvie (1824 - 1885), whose archive rests in the Sir George Grey Special Collections. The archive comprises all the documentation sent to Auckland after Mackelvie's death and includes both business and personal files.

This material allows a focus on his own life, both in England, Europe and New Zealand, his relationship with the burgeoning city of Auckland, and the collections he gifted and bequeathed to the people of Auckland.

Read more about Mary's research on the Heritage et AL blog .

2019/2020 scholarship winners

The Auckland Library Heritage Trust has awarded two scholarships for 2019/2020. They both focus on documenting the changing landscape and demographics of Auckland.
Finn McCahon-Jones' proposal examines the built city, down to the details of the rocks and the streetscape, drawing on Auckland photographs in the collection. This may result in guided walks as well as an exhibition.

Read more about this research on the Heritage et AL blog .

Megan Hutching will be re-examining some of the 1990s oral histories held in the collection about the Glen Innes/Panmure area. Revisiting the interviews 30 years later brings the opportunity for further research and has a wide appeal for podcasts and interaction.

Listen to a recording of Megan Hutching's HeritageTalk on the Auckland Libraries podcast .

2018 scholarship winners

Chris Turnbull

Chris Turnbull
Chris Turnbull is commencing PhD research on New Zealand’s relationship with the Pacific Islands, and used Auckland Libraries’ heritage material to provide context on the appointment of Frederick Moss as the first British Resident of the Cook Islands in 1890.

Gareth Shute

Gareth Shute
Gareth Shute is an award-winning author and freelance music journalist who is working on a digital map of historic musical venues in Auckland. Gareth used Auckland Libraries’ photograph, ephemera and research collections to discover more venues and illustrate them on his digital maps.

Read more about Gareth’s research , as well as previous scholarship winners on the Heritage et AL blog .

Jake Bransgrove – Cook/Banks scholarship

Jake Bransgrove and Colin Davis

University of Auckland postgraduate History student Jake Bransgrove transcribed the papers and correspondence of Sir Joseph Banks, the botanist who sailed with Captain James Cook in his first Pacific voyage on the HMS Endeavour in 1768-17. 

To support the work of the Trust

Contact the Trust to discuss:
Contact Colin Davis (Chairman) by email: or

Registered charity number: CC22369 Auckland Library Heritage Trust

Auckland Council Libraries:Auckland Library Heritage Trust The Auckland Library Heritage Trust helps us preserve, care and develop valuable heritage collections.