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Book & Print in New Zealand : A Guide to Print Culture in Aotearoa

Historical collections, exhibitions, museums, and awards

Historical collections, exhibitions, museums, and awards

An outstanding collection of typesetting machines, presses and other equipment, most of it in working order, is at the Printers' Workshop, Ferrymead Historic Park, in Christchurch. The Bedplate Press Printing Museum Society at Silverstream, Hutt Valley, Wellington, is well-organised, and hopes that its museum will in time become the National Printing Museum. There is a significant collection at the Museum of Transport and Technology, at Western Springs in Auckland, in their 'Printshop' display. Local provincial museums, as for example the Manawatu Museum, Palmerston North, have smaller but good collections of old printing equipment, even if not all manage to provide significant documentation. The 'bibliographical presses' at Otago University in Dunedin (the Bibliography Room), Victoria University of Wellington (the Wai-te-ata Press, established by D.F. McKenzie in 1962 and revived in 1995 under the aegis of the Faculty of Arts, through a Research Fellowship), and the Holloway Press, at the Tamaki Campus of the University of Auckland, all own and use historical materials to demonstrate the traditional techniques.

Exhibitions have included 'The Printer's Art: An Exhibition of Printing', which opened in Wellington on 25 March 1937, and travelled to three other centres. It included over 650 items, mainly posters, loaned by the British Federation of Master Printers (Printing Prestige, 7 (September 1937): pp.5-10). In November 1940, 'quintennial celebration of printing' exhibitions, public lectures, etc., in honour of Gutenberg, and his successors, took place in the four main centres (Printing Prestige, 16 (December 1940): pp.13-15). An exhibition mounted in 1956 by the Auckland public libraries is remembered by its printed catalogue, Printed in Auckland: Book Production and Design Past and Present. In January 1990, an 'Art of the Book' exhibition, in the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts Gallery, Wellington, had a valuable catalogue, Art of the Book, compiled by Rowan Gibbs, which was published by the Book Arts Society, typeset by John Denny (Pūriri Press) and printed and bound by Alan Loney. In 1996-97, 'Making an Impression: A History of Government Printing' has been on display at the National Archives, Wellington, accompanied by a video showing workers and machines in action, and a brochure with a potted history of the Government Printing Office.